A Prayer for My Children by Kimberlee Conway Ireton


Today’s post is by Kimberlee Conway Ireton, mother of four and author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year. This is part of an ongoing series that Kimberlee is contributing on her year of prayer. 

After church on Sunday, I talked to another mother, her children long since flown, and I learned that one of her sons, raised in the faith like his brother, has turned away from Christ. My heart ached, for I can imagine her pain. The deepest desire of my heart is that my children come to know, love, and walk in the way of Christ.

Walk-in-the-Way

As I pondered this other mother’s words and her pain, I wept. But my tears were as much for myself as for her. I found myself praying with tears that night as I got ready for bed, “Grant me the souls of these children!”

Later, I remembered an Orthodox prayer that I’d read awhile back. “Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children,” it’s called. It’s a beautiful prayer, a plea for the souls of our children, an entreaty that they know and follow Christ. It voices my yearning that my children will live a life of faith in Christ lived by the saving power of Christ.

I copied the akathist, so I could have it for my own. Then, being Protestant and all, I changed some of the words. I don’t mind asking Mary to intercede with her Son on behalf of my children, but I do mind asking her to make them devoted to her alone. It’s not devotion to Mary that I desire for my kids but devotion to God. So I fiddled with the words of the akathist, turning it into a prayer to the Triune God, updating the antiquated language of Thee and Thou, and rewording the opening prayers in each section to reflect a more contemporary idiom.

But I left the heart and soul of the akathist mostly alone. It’s theologically rich and linguistically beautiful. Over my next few posts here on Godspace, I’ll be sharing it with you (it’s long!), in the hope that you will find it as rich and meaningful as I do and, especially, that you will use it to help you pray more frequently and more fervently for the children in your life. Here then are the first few songs of the akathist.

A Prayer for My Children

Holy and victorious God, Perfect Leader and Good Nurturer of the Christian race, we your servants, delivered from evil by the saving power of Your Son, sing out our grateful thanks to You.

You have invincible might: deliver my children from all dangers, I pray. With tears I cry to You: Raise my children (names), to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

***

Song 1
Holy Jesus, I pray You to send an angel from heaven to my children. I cry to You:
Raise my children to be earthly angels.
Raise my children to be heavenly people.
Raise my children to be Your servants.
Raise my children to cry out to You.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

***

Prelude 2
Loving and powerful God, You see my maternal (paternal) entreaty for my children, begging help of You alone: take my children under the shadow of your wing. I cry to You: Alleluia.

Song 2
Holy Spirit, send my children understanding, that they may know how to serve You well; fill their hearts with heavenly wisdom and grant that they may love it alone and scorn the things of the world. Do not hinder my lips from crying such things as these:
Raise my children to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.
Raise my children to have knowledge of good but not of sin.
Raise my children to be wise against the snares of the devil.
Raise my children to order their lives wisely, following the examples of the saints.
Raise my children, nourishing them with the milk of the hidden wisdom of God, that they may seek it all of their lives.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

***

Prelude 3
May Your power, O Most High, overshadow my children. May they know Your compassion towards all who run to You with faith, and may they cry to You: Alleluia.

Song 3
Having received my children from You, O Lord, I do not desire to behold them dwelling in eternal torment, but rather to see them written in the Book of Life and made inheritors of eternal life. Incline Your ear to my supplication, O God, as I cry to You:
Raise my children to flee eternal torment.
Raise my children to inherit eternal life.
Raise my children to pass the course of their life in repentance.
Raise my children to labor to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Raise my children to exert effort to attain the Kingdom of Heaven.
Raise my children to be written in the Book of Life.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

***

Prelude 4
Having within a tempest of doubting thoughts and wanting my children to drink of eternal life, I weep. Remembering Your rich mercies, O God, I sing to Your Son with hope and with a contrite heart: Alleluia.

Song 4
I stretch out my hands and my heart towards Your loving-kindness, entreating that You will keep my children among Your servants and fulfill my petitions:
Raise my children in Your most holy inheritance.
Raise my children with all Your saints.
Raise my children to be Your servants, fulfilling all Your commands.
Raise my children to seek help from You alone.
Raise my children to inherit eternal life.
Raise my children (names), O Christ, to be made worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven and make them heirs of eternal blessings.

2 Responses

  1. […] Today’s post is by Kimberlee Conway Ireton, author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year. This post is the second of a three-part prayer for our children, adapted from an Orthodox akathist to Mary the Mother of God. If you missed or would like to reread the first four sections of the prayer, you can do so here. […]

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