“O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.” Judges 13:8 (NKJV)
I can see it like it was yesterday. I was sitting on our bed in our first apartment in Waverly, Iowa. We had just put our baby daughter Kallie in her crib in the next room. And God told me we are to pray for Kallie every night. Why was I not surprised? We had prayed for Kallie before she was born. So, I told my husband Kent and we got up and tiptoed back in to see our baby. Kallie, of course, being the night owl that she still is today, was wide awake and thought we came to play. But instead we laid our hands upon her head and said a prayer. That began a bedtime routine that continues with all our children today (as long as they come home before I go to sleep!).
Little did we know how much our sweet baby would need those prayers. At her four-month doctor visit, Dr. Eggers took a long time in listening to her heart. Finally he said he heard a heart murmur and referred us to a specialist in Cedar Falls, Iowa. At the specialist, our precious baby was hooked up to all kinds of monitors for tests. It was determined that yes, Kallie had a heart murmur and surgery was required. So at the age of eight months, we took our little girl to the University of Iowa Hospital where she had heart surgery. I know I couldn’t have survived a moment of watching our daughter have surgery without the prayers of so many people and our own prayers to Jesus.
Within days of her heart surgery, Kallie was standing in her crib. At nine months she was walking while holding onto furniture. At ten months she was walking on her own. And she hasn’t stopped! Today Kallie is a beautiful college junior who spends her summers cooking for campers in our camping ministry. Praise God for His call to prayers when Kallie was just a wee baby.
Three years after Kallie was born we were blessed with our son Jacob. Jacob also enjoys the bedtime prayer routine. It’s a time to talk about the day and what is planned for the next day. He shares with me about upcoming events in his life and then we pray about all those things…like snowboarding and visiting friends and a mission trip to the Philippines. I know I will miss my bedtime prayers with Jacob when he is all grown up (which isn’t too far away since he is 17!).
Seven years of praying and waiting after Jacob was born, God gave us Kevin. We had prayed so much to have Kevin, I just knew from day one that I had to pray for him each day. But what do you pray for a brand new baby? We know God has special plans for him, but what are they? And so for many years, I laid my hand on Kevin’s head and prayed the same prayer over Kevin each night:
Dear Jesus, Thank you for Kevin. We love him so much. Please keep him healthy and give him a good night sleep. Please guard over Kevin always with Your angels, fill him with Your Spirit, and help him always follow You. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
And today I continue that prayer with our 10-year old Kevin, adding things that are happening in his life like friends and Awana and Lego club and camp and his cat Butterscotch. As he gets older I’m sure we will pray for even more.
Our crib prayers and now bedtimes prayers with our children are certainly a way of life. Whenever our children woke in the night with an upset stomach or bad dream, I always put them back to bed with a prayer. That gave them the peace and comfort of routine, as well as the presence of Jesus as they drifted back to sleep.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8 (NKJV)
I thank God that He called us to pray for our first child when she was so young, and that we still have the gift of prayer for all our children today. Our daughter Kallie is traveling to Guam this fall as a college exchange student. I can’t imagine letting her go so far away without surrounding her in prayers. Oh, Jesus, keep Kallie as the apple of Your eye, hide her in the shadow of Your wings…
All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
And great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13 (NKJV)