I was in a prayer meeting one morning last week with a few other Mums from the girls’ school. We pray for a lot of different things in that meeting, from strength for the teachers to protection from illness to air conditioners lasting for one more season. But at this point we’d been talking about how hard the middle school years can be and were praying together especially for the christian kids in year 7, 8 and 9.
A prayer was forming in my head along the lines of the kids surviving those years with their faith intact when next to me my friend Shannon started praying for something altogether bigger and more beautiful. She prayed that each of those kids would grow to have their sense of identity, of self, so grounded in their identity in Christ that they would be immune to the pressure to be anyone or anything else. Wow! Even as I write it again I can feel my faith stretching. How great would that be?
As I sat there in the prayer meeting and felt my faith grow and expand to fit the bigger vision of Shannon’s prayer I thought to myself, ‘we just went up a size’.
It felt as if Shannon had prayed a big brother prayer to the one in my head. Not one that was more important, but one that stretched my faith to the next size up.
And just in that moment, this postcard popped into my head, with the words:
‘Now go for the Daddy Bear Prayer’.
For once, I understood exactly what God was saying to me – Baby Bear has a little bowl, a little chair and a little bed; Mummy Bear’s things are middle-sized; but Daddy Bear’s bowl is huge, his chair is huge and his bed is huge – so, a Daddy Bear prayer must be huge.
Sometimes we need to get hold of our faith and pull at it until it fits something bigger. Fortunately, faith is stretchy and it grows when it’s under tension like skin for a skin-graft. So I asked myself, ‘what would be a huge, faith-stretching prayer to pray for our year 7-9s look like?
So, I let my faith spread out a bit and I prayed that they would be not only protected, with their identity rooted in Christ, but that they would become equipped and empassioned for mission, transforming the culture they live in, seeing their friends and teachers come to faith, changing their world. Not individual beaten-up survivors but a strong united victorious army.
Now that, for our little beleaguered bunch of Christian kids, is a faith-expanding prayer… I’m so going to keep on praying it.
The point of this postcard wasn’t to get you to pray for middle-schoolers (although please do, they need all they can get, bless them), but to ask you, ‘What are the three bears prayers for your situation?’
What’s the little prayer that is easiest to pray?
What’s the medium sized prayer that stretches out your faith?
And what’s the massive Daddy-Bear-Prayer that your faith only covers a corner of, but which puts it under the tension it needs to spread out and grow?
Write them down now, then get out your faith, give it a stretch and pray some big prayers into your situation, and into others’ situations.
Let’s release a volley of Daddy-Bear-prayers and see what our faithful God might do.