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     For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:14-19

Dear heavenly Father, I gladly make Paul’s liberating prayer my own this morning. I humble myself before you—not floundering in my fears, but marinating in your mercies; not groveling in my guilt, but growing in your grace. For you are the quintessential Father—the Father from whom all fatherhood derives its name and meaning.

In the gospel, you adopted us to be your beloved sons and daughters; and by your grace, you are growing us to become like your most beloved Son, Jesus. What wondrous love is this, indeed!

Father, I ask you to re-parent me in two ways. As you liberate my heart to cry Abba, Father, louder than ever, also free me from the illusion that my earthly parents could have ever been enough. I still occasionally play the victim card and think, “If only I’d been given a different dad. If only my mom had been more present in my life.” Bring the healing and liberating power of the gospel to bear upon the wounds and holes my childhood. Replace my whining with worship, and my excuses with hope.

Father, I also need you to re-parent me as a parent. Let me continue to grow as an engaged, loving parent to my kids, no matter their age. You’ve already forgiven me for the years I spent parenting by fear and control, guilt and pride. Now I pray for the healing of those years, through the love of Jesus.

So, even as Paul prayed, so I pray: Grant me power to grasp just how wide, long, high, and deep Jesus’ love is for me, and for my children. There’s no greater transforming power in all of history than the love of Jesus. Indeed, Father, teach me what it means to parent by grace—in every season of our relationship. Write fresh stories of restoration and renewal, healing and rich connection.

Give my kids freedom to share their stories, hearts and hurts with me; and grant me grace to listen from my heart. What failures do I need to own? What grace do I need to extend? There’s no condemnation, but there’s plenty of room for conviction. Father, be pleased to do well beyond all I can ask or imagine. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ loving and powerful name.



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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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