As a group from our church traveled to Israel last year, we had the opportunity to explore Ein Harod, also called Gideon’s Spring. It is a beautiful setting, now a park with walkways, trees and, of course, the spring. As we quietly stood by the stream, we could see the source, bubbling up from within a small grotto.
Our Bible time there was the familiar story from Judges 7 of Gideon gathering his men at the spring, knowing that facing their enemy, the Midianites, was imminent. We listened as the pastor reminded us of the unusual paring down of the men whom God chose to be a part of Gideon’s army. The number started at 32,000 and when God had finished, 300 remained.
The battle was fought with a unique strategy straight from the Lord. The main takeaway from the story, of course, is that God is always the source of our victories even though many times we might want to take the credit. Sadly, this incredible victory did not lead to the Israelites being fully committed to the Lord and worshipping only him. Judges 8:33-34 says, “As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baal and made Baal-berith their god. And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side.”
Once again, God came to the rescue of Israel in a miraculous way. However, once again, Israel failed to pass on their faith to the next generation. How sad to read that “the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God.” It reminds us that we have a great responsibility to transfer our faith—both to our children and to our grandchildren. We want to be a people who are strong in our faith and who are intentional in passing on a legacy to the next generations. Certainly, there are many ways to do this in our day-to-day life, but I want to share with you what our pastor shared that day as we stood by Gideon’s Spring. He gave us two specific prayers we can pray over our children that we can be certain God will hear because they are straight from his Word.
The first is Ephesians 1:15-19: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.”
The second is Ephesians 3:14-19: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
As parents and grandparents, we strongly desire to be prayer warriors for our children and grandchildren. However, although meaning well, we sometimes pray prayers that may not align with what God wants for our children. For example, we may pray daily for our child’s spouse who one day will come along and be a part of the family, but what if God’s plan for your child does not include marriage? What if he is calling your son or daughter to be single in order to serve him in a particular way? Sometimes, we may be praying our desires instead of God’s desires.
As we study these two scriptures, we find how deeply God loves us and how strong the power of Christ is in our lives. As we pray, we can pray like Paul did, that our children and grandchildren will also know the deep love of Jesus and the power of Christ in their lives. If these two principles of Scripture begin to flourish in our children’s hearts, then when trials come and threaten to knock them off their feet, they will be able to withstand the trial because they are rooted in the power and love of Christ. Also, as we pray these prayers from Scripture, we know that we are praying for our children and grandchildren to be shaped like Jesus and used in this life to make an impact for the kingdom.
As I walked away from Gideon’s Spring that day, I walked away (unlike the Israelites) praying for the next generation to know the power and love of Christ. As we continue to run the race, let’s be sure to hand the baton off well.