From Domestical Duties. Headings are not the author’s.
Our love to our children is best exercised in prayer
The first and best stream which issues out of the fountain of love of our children is faithful and fervent prayer. This extends itself to all things, at all times, throughout the whole course of the child’s life. It is the first and last duty which parents ought to perform to their children. They must do this without intermission, praying without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17).
Though prayer be a general duty which all Christians owe one to another, yet it appertains especially to parents; and of all others, they are most bound to pray. The promise God makes to a parent is extended to his seed [children], as the following (and such like) Scriptures promise:
- I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed (Gen 17:7)
- that it may be well with them and with their children (Deut 5:29)
- The promise is unto you, and unto your children (Acts 2:39)
Parents, therefore, with most assurance of faith, may call upon God for their children. For God’s promise is the ground of faith. So far as God’s promise is extended, so far our faith may and ought to extend itself. From this ground has arisen the commendable custom of children asking their parents for a blessing, which intimates a desire that parents would pray for God’s blessing on them.
Exhortations from Scripture
This duty of prayer must be performed before parents have children, [asking God] that they may have some, as Isaac (Gen 25:21), Hannah (1 Sam 1:10) and others did. [They should also pray] as soon as children are conceived, especially if they observe them to be quick in the womb as Rebekah did (Gen 25:22), and again [pray] when they are born, as Zachariah (Luke 1:64) did, and throughout the whole course of their life, as Job (Job 1:5) did, and when they are going out of this world, and leaving their children, as Isaac (Gen 27:4) did.
The best gift to our children
There is no better thing wherein and whereby parents may do good for their children than true prayer. God has sanctified prayer as a means to receive all needful blessing from Himself [who is] the fountain of all blessing. If God’s blessing be of use to children, then prayer must also be blessed as the source from which it is obtained.
Warnings about neglecting to pray for our children
The very neglect of this duty is a sin contrary to the duty itself. There are many parents that stand guilty of this sin.
- Some think it needless to pray for a child before it is born, not considering that it is conceived in sin.
- When it is born, they pass on this duty to the midwife, whereas it properly appertains to the Father.
- After it is grown to maturity, they put it off [the duty of prayer and leave it] to the child to pray for itself.
- When they are on their deathbed, they think it enough if they can pray for their own souls [but not their children’s].
Such parents show little true love to their children and little or no faith in God.
What may we say or think of such impious parents who do not fear to make such “imprecations” against their own children [through their absence of prayer]? God often, in wrath and vengeance, takes note of such imprecations to the woe of parent and child, whereby He shows His great indignation against them for the same.