In this season of life I find that we are in a constant battle with our four-year old for obedience and goodwill. We find her willing to give a very short supply of both and this has left us weary parents. In the midst of these long days, when everything is a struggle for control, when every request is met with defiance, when nothing seems to be working, I find myself penning this prayer in my heart:
God of Israel, Father of those who wandered from home, of outlaws and the landless,
Look with mercy on your daughter, T.
Use her strong spirit to do good work in your vineyard. Take her questions, her defiance, her distrust of authority and shape this into a character that refuses to stand idly by as others suffer.
Give her the Spirit of Abraham, so willing to wander far from home at the call of your voice. Giver her the the Spirit of Rahab who obeyed God while defying her nation. Give her the Spirit of Mary who took on public shame and mockery in order to bring our broken world the fullness of Yourself in Jesus Christ.
Help her to become a woman who asks good and difficult questions about her world, and then channel these questions into the actions of justice, mercy, and hope.
Lord, like Abraham, Rahab, and Mary before her, help T also to discern when those who stand in authority over her act in wisdom and care. Help her to accept the guidance and counsel of wise elders, thoughtful friends, trusted teachers, and loving parents.
Guide us, too, Father, in parenting T. Give us the discernment to know how to show her the path that leads to righteousness, all the time resisting the temptation to dominate and control.
God, who holds the nations and governments in your hands, who controls the stars, moon, and sun, even in your majesty you have looked down with grace upon our little one. It is in the confidence of this great love, already poured out to us in the gift of her life, that we pray.