Once upon a time, long, long ago, children were brought before a rabbi to be blessed. His followers were aghast, for surely their teacher had more important things to do. He had sermons to proclaim, blind folk to cure, and oppressed souls to deliver. After his followers rebuked the parents for their impertinence, the rabbi drew near, visibly angry over the disruption. Clearly, someone was about to have a bad day. To the surprise of the disciples, the rabbi did not turn his attention to the presumptuous parents and their toddlers. Jesus fixed his gaze on the twelve and tore into them, essentially telling them that children were closer to the kingdom than they were. Then he blessed all the children, one by one. It was a good day in the kingdom of God.
As followers of Jesus, blessing children is part of our calling in this world. We are to teach them, pray over them and love them as God loves them. One of the many ways we can fulfill this calling is by reading to them. If you’re looking for a new book to bless a child with, When I Pray for You (Waterbrook) is one I strongly recommend. Written by Matthew Paul Turner and illustrated by Kimberley Barnes, When I Pray for You is a delightful book, celebrating the hopes we have for our children as they discover their place in the kingdom of Jesus. The writing is lyrical and playful, but surprisingly moving and substantive. Both parent and child are spiritually enhanced by the sentiments expressed in this lovely book.
“I pray you grow strong, have passion and fight.
And stand up for what’s good with all of your might.
I pray heaven protects you, that you’re generous and kind.
That your brave little spirit never ceases to shine.
I pray you love others, whether strangers or friends,
with the same kind of love that God feels for them.”
Prayers such as these express our deepest and most profound hopes, yet they are simple enough for even a child to comprehend. Of such is the kingdom of God.
–Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster