I’m having a Westminster moment.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a birthday party for the child of some friends of ours. During the course of the party, the father took a moment to pray, thanking God for the four years he has given the family with the child and for the hope of more years to come. Then he prayed something that caught my attention: “Lord, we ask you that he will one day get saved.”

The child in question is two months older than my own son. Both children come from Christian homes, both can articulate a basic — let me emphasize basic here — understanding of the faith, and both have actually expressed in some way a love for Christ.

But I’ve been thinking about that prayer for the last couple of weeks, and tonight it hit me — I don’t pray that way.

Every night, when I put Micah into bed, I pray with him in part to teach him how to pray and in part because I believe in praying for and with my children; my prayer, however, is not that one day that he will have a crisis moment and be saved, but rather that he will continue to grow in wisdom and faith (yes, I actually pray for my child to receive wisdom), and that he will always know of his dependence on God for salvation and rest in Christ. If he has some kind of Damascus road experience, great, but as a covenant child my hope is that he will serve the Lord from childhood. Even if my four-year-old still acts like a sinner when he wakes up tomorrow, that doesn’t change my ultimate perspective — I believe him to be elect because of God’s promise that my household will be saved.

My prayers and the prayers of my friend are not all that different. We have the same goal. We will both continue to pray for our children and their salvation even as they can better and better articulate the faith. But I think we’re looking through different windows at that goal.

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