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I prayed for this child

by davesandel on December 30th, 2018

I prayed for this child

Sunday, December 30, 2018

I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord. And Hannah left Samuel there. – From 1 Samuel 1

In Margaret’s and my parenting world there’s always been a delicate balance between giving our children freedom and giving them direction. Of course in the Garden of Eden, those go hand in hand. But it’s been hard for us. We disagreed with each other, we contradicted ourselves, and we often regretted our actions after the fact.

And it doesn’t get better when you hand a child off, at least not to a private boarding school or military school. That’s been the way of wealthy families around the world for many generations; I’m not convinced of the positive results.

So here is Hannah, leaving her son Samuel with Eli the priest. Samuel is famous for anointing David, but Eli is mostly famous for his poor parenting skills with his own sons. Still, Hannah has prayed for this child. Hannah believes God has given her direction. She speaks strongly for her son: “As long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.”

Imagining her in the temple, I think of two verses. Paul said, “Fathers and mothers, do not exasperate your children” (Ephesians 6:4). And long before Paul was even a sparkle in his parents’ eyes, Solomon said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

I think Hannah visited Samuel now and then. And I think her strength and confidence lifted Samuel’s spirits when he felt alone. I also think Samuel the child may have wondered if he might make a few choices on his own. Since Hannah had prayed for him and heard the Lord’s direction, he might have to wait awhile. How will Eli and Hannah give Samuel freedom and direction at the same time, at the right times?

In Austin we watch Andi and Aki tread those same tightropes. Miles is two years and nearly two months old. He usually knows exactly what he wants and can use words to let us know. He loves to help his parents fix food, serve food, eat food. He loves food! He helped wrap Christmas presents. He helped unwrap them. He loves presents!

After his nap Miles and I walked across the fairly busy highway to sit in the grass and watch trucks. It was late on Friday afternoon. A bunch of guys in orange and yellow coats were laying concrete blocks to build three forty-foot 10 x 10 pillars. One of them was cleaning the mortar mixers. One of them was using a very cool truck to move blue scaffolding. A couple guys in giant white Silverados with Texas plates roared out of the worksite. We waved. They waved back. Their work was nearly done for 2018.

Before his nap Miles asked me to read Goodnight, Construction Site. All the different trucks got cleaned up, settled down, and went to sleep. “The bulldozer puffs some smoke out of his stack, turns off his engine, stops his track.”

Those big, big trucks, so rough and loud,

They work so hard, so rough, and proud.

Tomorrow is another day,

Another chance to work and play.


Turn off your engines, stop your tracks,

Relax your wheels, your stacks, and backs.

No more huffing and puffing, team:

It’s time to rest your heads and dream.


Construction site and child … one day follows another and we just can’t wait to see what happens next. One thing for sure, though, every day we get to rest, and leave off the work, and just be.

Construction site, all tucked in tight,

The day is done, turn off the light.

Great work today! Now … shh … goodnight.

   *     *    *

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Goodnight sun, goodnight moon, shhhh. Goodnight, Lord.


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