Sometimes, when reading the bible, I have thoughts that feel like a big revelation. They’re probably not really all that exciting, but I love those moments all the same. My recent read of Timothy gave me a little something to chew on as a parent. At the beginning of his first letter to Timothy, Paul gives this greeting:

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

When I read that, it struck me as more of a guide for parents than a greeting. Paul calls Timothy his true child in the faith and says he wishes him grace, mercy, and peace. What if, instead of just words of greeting to be glossed over, that’s an indication of how we as parents might pray for our own little ones?

Think about it: what three things would you want most for your child? I think grace, mercy, and peace throughout their lives would be pretty excellent choices. And, though they aren’t things we can necessarily give them ourselves, they are certainly things we can ask for on their behalf.


May my child accept the grace of God without reservations. May she receive the graces she needs to live well as a child of God. May His grace follow her all her days and make her burdens light.


May my child be one to show abundant mercy, and may she receive mercy in return when she needs it. May I be given the grace I need to be merciful toward her when she tries my patience.


May my child know the peace of God in her heart, and may her life also be full of peace. May she be a peacemaker in her circles and her world.

And it doesn’t even have to stop at prayers for our own children—grace, mercy, and peace are things we could seek for everyone in our lives. They’re good indicators of areas to explore as we pray. Where does my spouse/child/friend/family member need grace? Mercy? Peace? What areas of their lives (or my own life) need an infusion of one or all three? What would it take to surround this part of life with mercy? What would peace look like here? They’re like guiding lights, pointing the way to the people and issues that need our prayers and letting us know how we might pray over them.

Thanks for the tip, Paul.

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