A few years ago, when my youngest was 3 and the 4th was 5, we were snuggled up for bedtime prayers. My 4th son said his prayers, and I turned to my youngest saying, “Time for your prayers.”
“Don’t wanna pray,” he answered.
“We need to thank Jesus for today,” I countered.
“Don’t like Jesus,” he rebutted. Liking Jesus was not his issue. Bedtime prayers were just not something he wanted to do. Call it fatigue. Call it laziness. Call it being 3.
The 5 year old riled up out of his blankets, “But _____, don’t you want to go to heaven when you die and be with Mom and Dad? If you just say this prayer with me, then when you die, you’ll go to heaven and be with Mom and Dad.”
Well, we were definitely having a bedtime conversation. The conversation going on in my head was just as lively.
“Mom, you know that prayer!” my apparent little evangelist said, looking at me hopefully. “And, if you just say this prayer, you’ll go to heaven.”
“Where did you learn the prayer?” I asked, trying to pin-point where the prayer entered his life.
“At camp,” he answered. He was so eager to evangelize his little brother who just, well, really was not interested at that time. And, while I adore the camp they go to – the Christian-based camp with riflery, archery, swimming, prayer time, Jesus time, hiking, creating life-long friends and amazing home-made food, I did not want my sons dedicating their lives to Jesus due to parental separation anxiety, whether it is a heaven-bound separation or a grocery shopping separation.
I wanted them to make that decision because they crave the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, like my boys crave pizza or water after a grueling soccer practice, or with the determination to have – like when they want an iPod, a new game or a trip to Wal-Mart to spend their birthday money – but more enduring.
And, well, my little guy – he grew, and little by little his relationship with The Father grew, too. In second grade, he would come home worried about one of his best friends who was being bullied. His friend cried in the bathroom. He prayed for him.
Last year, in a whole new school, with all new students, he was bullied. He told me he prayed for the little tyrant while he was in the bathroom. Now, I realize you might see a pattern here – a lot of bathroom praying going on – but he was reaching out to the Father and Jesus because He knew they could hear him anywhere.
This spring, he asked to be “Bap-a-tized.” We kept waiting for his earthly dad to be in town – and, yeah, God answered our prayers with an in-town job, keeping dad at home with us – which is where we like him. Sunday, my baby, who really is not a baby, is going to be Baptized.
Baptism Prayer for My Son:
You might not realize it yet, but you are deciding that the Joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh. 8:10)
That God will bring you contentment, fill you up immeasurably with streams of living water, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”(John 7: 37-38).
And God will open your eyes to the gifts within you (1 Cor. 12).
Today you will take off the sunglasses blocking you from seeing the full Glory of God, crying like Moses to “Show me your Glory” (Exodus 33:18) and, like Moses, you will see the Lord pass before you and proclaim, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression…” (Exodus 34:6-7).
Before you accepted Jesus as his liege Lord, you were unprotected. But today, when you come up out of that water, symbolizing the spiritual baptism within, you will be given the full armor of God:
- Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Soldier Shoes to carry the gospel of peace
- Shield of faith (great for extinguishing the fiery arrows)
- The Helmet of Salvation
- The Sword of the Spirit (i.e. the Word of God)
- A com·mu·ni·qué from God giving permission to come to him at all times, to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, and assurance of His personal response (Ephesians 6: 10-18).
Today, precious son, you publicly receive a mighty inheritance. You become a Son of the King. You were born into a remarkable brotherhood, the youngest of 5 brothers. Today, you publicly join a bigger family, a bigger brotherhood that includes Peter, James and John, an amazing, miraculous brotherhood. I am so proud of you!