“Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.” I Samuel 2:19 NKJV
Reading about Hannah, I am amazed at her commitment to the Lord. She prayed, wept before the Lord, completely transparent and genuine, her heart ripped open and bleeding before the altar in the temple. And she asked, begged for a son. A son to serve the Lord. She vowed, then and there, before she knew for certainty His answer, to give her son over to God. To deny herself the joy of raising him, nurturing him.
Why? How? How could she completely throw aside her maternal instincts?
Because her devotion, her trust in the Great God of the universe was greater. That’s why she could pour her soul out. Because He’s real. She knew this, to her very core! Who would pour their soul out to an empty room? Who would bargain with the dust on the floor? Hannah went to the temple to meet with her Lord. The only Being who could change anything about her current circumstance.
And He responded. God, in His great and unknowable wisdom, does not always grant us our requests, but He honored this request from Hannah, His faithful and devoted daughter.
Hannah conceived and bore a son. Samuel. And several painfully short years later, she gave him over to God. And Samuel went on to serve God faithfully his whole life.
Such a legacy!
My prayer for my children is that they will trust Jesus as their Savior at an early age. That they will not have to experience years of guilt and regret, because the changing power of Christ in their lives will have taken root.
“...for this child I prayed.”
Hannah was able to keep her commitment, against all earthly wisdom and maternal instinct, because of the deep trust in God that she possessed. She knew that a son raised in the service of God was far greater than anything she could bring.
But, she was still there for him. Praying for her little boy. Oh, how hard that must’ve been. Knowing a right decision doesn’t mean your heart will cooperate. How she must’ve ached to hold her longed for boy, so many times!
So, she prayed. I’m sure. The scripture does not specifically say that she prayed for him, but Hannah was an obviously devoted woman. And she made him his robe, his little ephod, every year. When her hands could not caress her son’s face, tousle his hair, or hold his little hand, she could sew. She could help to prepare him for the coming year in ministry. Outfit him for proper service before the Lord.
She equipped him for service, physically and spiritually.
This is my purpose. To point others to Christ. Starting with my own children! God, what am I to do to equip my own children to serve You?
Well. I sure do not claim to know it all. But my husband and I seek to be very intentional in demonstrating our own commitment and devotion to Christ to our children. And here’s some things that we do.
Church attendance: I think this is most important. We always have time for things most important to us. We make sure that time set aside specifically for congregational worship, service, learning, and prayer (all found in a loving church home with other believers) is scheduled regularly into our family life. Sunday mornings are non-negotiable. And thankfully, my children still love church. My middle boy asks most days, “we go to church?”
We pray. Not just at meal times. We pray at night. We pray before naptime. We pray before dropping them off at school. We pray for Daddy when he’s preaching. We pray when we’re having bad day. We pray when we’re having a great day!
We give thanks. I ask the boys what they are thankful for. I get the sweetest, most surprising answers. Noah once said thank you that “Daddy talked good on the microphone.” For falling leaves. Gideon says thank you for his blankets, his kitten, our van.
We lead them in many things, of course, but I see the word of God sprouting small saplings in my boys. Neither have yet trusted Christ, but I am seeing the fruit of our intentionality. Of our God-guided effort to equip them. To point them to Christ.
I don’t have to send my children away, thankfully. By the grace of a great God, I get to hold them, cherish them, correct them, and kiss them while I pray for them.
God, give me the devotion and discipline of Hannah, who chose the eternal benefit of giving her son to You over the earthly pleasure of keeping him for herself. I need You, God, to guide me, because I am totally lost without you. My flesh is too weak, my body too tired, my patience too short to take on this task myself. Enable me and empower me, when this task seems too heavy. Open my eyes to your grace in the midst of a short temper and too little sleep. Show me the joy, among sibling rivalry, 3-year old defiance, and the third spilled drink of supper. Give me patience. Give me wisdom. Fill me with grace so that I have more and more grace to give. Help me to grow them in the Light of Your love and give them exactly what they need to grow to men and women of God, serving you unwaveringly with their whole lives.
What do you do to intentionally equip your children for service and devotion to Christ? Please share your thoughts and ideas with me and others. =)
“O magnify the Lord with me. Let us exalt His name together!”