A Selfish Prayer?


On my way to work this morning I asked myself a perplexing question.  It was a question anyone else would think stupid, not perplexing. The only thing you would find perplexing is that I found it perplexing. The answer is so abundantly obvious, why would anyone bother asking it. It was along the lines of, “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?”  Duh!  But I asked it anyway.

Because my car radio was dead, I had some additional time during my commute to think…and pray. The last few days I had been convicted of my lack of prayer for my children and, therefore, I was busy catching up on prayer along Pleasant Hill Road. Then came the question: Is it selfish to pray for MY kids?  Wait! Let me explain the question.

Is it selfish to pray for MY kids?

There are billions of children around the world. Therefore, should I care more about MY four kids than any of these other children?  Just because they are MY kids, should I have a concern for them that surpasses my concern for the others? Isn’t that selfish? If I truly have the love of God in me wouldn’t I care just as much for my nephews, my neighbor’s children and all the children in Hayden, Idaho? Is focusing on my own children a reflection of my selfishness?

Two examples came to my mind that assured me that my prayers for MY children were not selfish.  The first comes from the Bible passage children often memorize first in church: John 3:16. Think about it. What is it that demonstrates the depth of God’s love? It’s not that God sent “someone” to be sacrificed upon a cross for out sin, but who he sent. He sent “His only begotten son.” God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus, into a world to be crucified. This act is compelling because nature tells us that parental love is the deepest love among humanity. God, Himself, affirms this by emphasizing His relationship with Jesus. God the Son was special—above all others—to God the Father.

I then thought about the culminating moment of the Father’s gift to the world. Jesus is hanging on the cross and the Apostle John records what happens:

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He *said to the disciple,“Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (Gospel of John 19:15-27- NASB)

There were numerous women near the foot of that cross, but only one was singled out by Jesus—his mother. At that indescribably excruciating moment Jesus was focused on making sure HIS mother would be cared for. There was a special relationship that mattered—a relationship that propelled him to express a distinguished love for her.

Is it selfish to care for our own? Is it selfish to exhibit a superior love for OUR children? No, of course not! …But you already knew that.

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