I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying to read amidst my children having breakfast and building with Lego, and I read this verse: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people, Your sons and daughters will prophesy. . .” (Joel 2:28).
I had been trying to find something from the text for my mind to mull over and ponder but instead, this verse tugged at my heart. I closed my eyes and pictured my daughters being filled with the Spirit and prophesying before me.
Now, remember that prophecy doesn’t necessarily mean telling the future, for prophets are often not speaking of the future but of the present. More often than not prophets speak into the present with divine influence or focus. Prophets are God’s mouth to God’s people.
I sat and imagined my daughters speaking God’s words, prophesying a word of truth to me, and it made me both hopeful and anxious. I wondered: are they experiencing God in our home in a way that will help them develop their own relationship with God? Will my attempt at a life of faith and the upbringing I’ve bestowed upon them give them the foundation to make what I hold dear in my life hold equal or greater value in their own lives? Am I successfully educating them in the way of Jesus so that they will know what it means to follow him? Will the day come when, as the scriptures say, my daughters will prophesy? Lord, may it be so.
In ways it already is. I get glimmers of it when their compassion is unprompted, when they can articulate something that reveals they’ve been absorbing things about my faith. They certainly speak truths to me in ways that I interpret as divine, but I wonder about their future. I worry that they don’t see my spiritual practices because I usually do them alone. I wonder if my life is bearing visible fruit. I worry that I’m not teaching them well and passing on the faith.
God, I pray that my daughters will continue to blossom in their faith, that I will continue to grow in mine. Equip and empower me to pass on my faith to my girls in ways that they can see its beauty and depth and struggle and wisdom and complexity and simplicity and value. I pray that they don’t just see my faith as something to take or leave, but something to learn from, so that they can develop their own relationship with you. May my love for them and for you create a desire in them to pursue you. I long for the days when their passion and fervour and devotion and compassion and wisdom surpass mine, and I can learn from them and grow with them. I pray that my faith might strengthen them, and that their faith might soon encourage and challenge me. I pray you take my meagre offerings and multiply them into their lives that they might grow despite my faith failings and flaws. I offer my children to you that you might take them where I cannot. Bless them, teach them, carry them, love them, pour out your Spirit on them, I pray.
Joshua Penfold (firstname.lastname@example.org) has two daughters that he hopes will one day prophesy with the same fervor they currently use when complaining and squabbling.