In the process of teaching Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, which I have done five or six times, I have always challenged the group to write a prayer of their own to someone they love. I asked them to base their efforts on Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi recorded in Philippians 1:9-11 as well as any insights they gained from the rest of the epistle. Paul’s prayer is my favorite prayer by a believer in the Bible.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.
Over the years, this assignment has proven to be a fruitful exercise, both for them and for me. This year, when our men’s group studied Philippians, not one member of the study had ever written a prayer before. In order to help them get started, I wrote an sample prayer using my daughter as the example. I later printed and laminated it and then gave it to her. Sarah now carries that prayer with her in her wallet. I hope that it will always remind her that her father loves and supports her wherever her life’s journey takes her. It is included here for your edification, hoping that it will inspire and encourage you to write your own prayer for a loved one.
Dear Lord, thank you for my daughter Sarah, for trusting me to be her father. May she never doubt my love for her, but may that love always be righteous and nurturing, never permissive and destructive. Give me joy whenever I speak to her, patience whenever I respond to her, and wisdom whenever I make decisions concerning her.
May I never fail her Lord, but if I do, let her forgive me, as you have forgiven me in Christ Jesus my Lord. Guard and protect her heart and mind, O Lord, and may the love of Jesus Christ always surround her, guide her, and sustain her through all the trials and tests of life.
I do not pray that she never suffers pain, O Lord, only that any pain that comes into her life will give her deeper roots in you, teaching her to rely on you and you alone.
May Sarah stand before you on the last day and hear the words we all long to hear, Well done good and faithful servant and again Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. Amen.
Now, primed by my effort and in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, go and write your own prayer and give it to a loved one.
Update 8/4/05: Welcome! This posting is one of my most accessed former efforts. Most people arrive here through search engines.
Let me reiterate my call for you to write and give prayers to your loved ones, especially to your children. As I said, my daughter carries a laminated copy of her prayer in her wallet. I am working on a prayer for my wife. May God bless your efforts to do the same.
Update 10/26/06: You may also want to consider looking at the prayer I wrote for my wife.