In just a few short weeks Elizabeth and I will be taking the full jump into parenthood, with the arrival of Titus Shepherd Kroner. The baby showers have taken place and the gifts are mostly unpacked, with thank you cards mostly written. The room is slowly coming together. Really it’s mostly a matter of getting everything put away and in its place now, plus the purchase of those last few needed items (and more diapers!). The excitement is building as we inch closer, having filled out the pre-admission info for the hospital. Every day when Elizabeth comes home and Titus moves around in there I wonder more and more what he’ll be like and what he’ll become.
As a Christian and as a minister, I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that over the months of pregnancy as my wife and I, and others, have prayed for Titus that those prayers have in some ways shaped him without him ever knowing it. I also believe that prayer is not a one-way conversation in which we put our order in to God and He just goes and serves it up. God responds. He replies. And He moves.
Because the purpose of this blog…this site… is to inform and help equip you, the reader, I would like to share with you some of the things that I have been praying for in regards to Titus, and something that I believe the Lord is speaking to me. Fatherhood is new territory but territory that I am excited about venturing into. Whether you are a parent or not, I hope that this will encourage you to not only talk with God about your kids (current or future) but will help you to realize how much God wants to talk with you.
Of course, I have been praying for Titus to grow and develop well, to be healthy, for Elizabeth to have a safe and good pregnancy. I’ve also asked God for wisdom to be a parent, for favor in being a new parent, and for Titus to have incredible basketball skills and go on to be a Superstar in the NBA. (hey, we all dream, right?)
But far beyond the ‘God bless this baby and our family’ I have prayed for some pretty specific things.
- I’ve asked the Lord to give me insight and understanding when Titus might be doing something wrong, so I can help guide him to make wise choices
- I’ve prayed that Titus would come to know Christ early in his life and would grow up loving Jesus
- I’ve given Titus to the Lord and promised that I will do everything I can to train him in the ways of God with a heart to love God and serve people
- I’ve asked God to seal my heart to always love Elizabeth as she needs to be loved, and to model to Titus what love is and how a husband and wife should operate…even through disagreement (cause face it, there will be some).
- I’ve asked God to use Titus as a vessel to reach others-as a child, teenager, and adult. To not just allow him to be influential, but to be influential in a way that points people towards Christ.
- I’ve asked God to help me guard his heart and guide him to be pure, to protect him (but not seclude him) from the wickedness of the world so that he would not fall into addiction or sexual perversion. (SIDE NOTE: I do not believe that we should try to hide evil from our kids, but to help them instead understand right and wrong, godliness and wickedness. That doesn’t mean we given them horror movies or porn to watch, but that we be the ones to talk to them about these things and why we avoid evil)
- I’ve asked God to give Elizabeth and I long lives so that we can be here to train and teach our son and see him become what God wants him to be.
These are just a few of the things I have been praying for. It may seem rather selfish of me to ask so much, but I don’t think so. Every parent, including our Heavenly Father, wants the very best for their children. We want them to succeed. We want them to do great things. One thing I have been guarded against, and will continue to be so, is that outside of praying (wishing, maybe) for amazing athletic ability (if you know Elizabeth and I at all you realize the miracle this would be) I don’t want to try to put Titus into any ‘box’ on what he should become or what he should do. I want him to serve God and be successful, but I don’t care if that is as a pastor, a lawyer, a doctor, a business owner, a teacher, a garbage collector, a soldier, a politician, or anything else. I want him to bloom in what God plants him in, not what I might want him to become…unless he happens to be 6’8″ and be able to dunk, dribble, shoot, and run…then God will just have to go along with my plan for 3-7 years!
I’ve said many times that God doesn’t give us a whole plan, just a next step. Such has been the case, mostly, with Titus. The Lord hasn’t opened and curtains and revealed my child’s' life and future to me in whole. But as I was praying the Lord did speak to me one day and shared some things that I believe are prophetic in nature. While I certainly hope they encourage you in your walk to seek God, I also write them here as a statement…as a declaration, if you will. Years from now I believe I will be able to look back on this and see how God has done exactly what He said.
- Because you have realized that you cannot in your own ability parent Titus to become the man he needs to be, and have dedicated him to me from the womb, I will empower you with supernatural ability. I will give you insight and understanding. I will speak to you in the dark hours of the night and show you things that would otherwise be hidden, and allow you to assist him, correct him, teach him, and train him. This will require vigilance on your part and continued sensitivity to my Spirit, as many things will be revealed to you that might seem like a random thought or you being a worried or anxious parent. But do not hesitate to respond. For there will be many avenues through which the enemy will try to steal this child away, both naturally and spiritually. While he is young you must be the gatekeeper who turns away the lion. But as he grows older and see faith applied in your life he will learn to do it himself. Do not expect him to minister as you would minister, but know that there is an anointing-there is a calling on his life. Pour into him My Word while you are able and it will be cultivated by My Spirit. What you plant in his heart you will see come to fruition in the latter days of your own life. Just as my hand has been upon you so it will be upon him, but not in the same way. The fruit that you see in your ministry will be doubled through your son, if you tend him as a tender vine while you are able.
- However, if you allow yourself to be distracted from your purpose as a parent and get caught up in your own ministry you will still see fruit, but it won’t be the same. Titus will be impressionable to influences from every side. You must guard him and control what those influences are while he is young. I will hold you responsible for what he becomes and how he is molded into a vessel for Me to use. Not because you are the one with the power to shape him, but because you have asked such a great thing for him. I will grant it to the degree you defend his tenderness and sensitivity. Understand that he can know Me but not be profitable to Me. That will not be determined by my influence in his life, but by what else you allow to have influence in his life.
That is just a portion of what I believe God has spoken regarding my son. I don’t write this to brag in any way, though this may seem like it. I write it because I believe that God speaks today. I write it because I believe God wants parents to be His primary instruments in shaping the next generation, and too often we (I put myself in that category now) fail to see the significance of this and allow other things to shape our children’s hearts, to disastrous results. And finally, I believe in God’s incredible plan and purpose for all of us. I would be more amazed by God NOT wanting to do something great through someone than by Him saying that He does want to…because then that would have to mean that they weren’t very valuable. And I know, friends, how valuable we are to our Heavenly Father.
So valuable that He spilled the blood of His own Son to buy us back from slavery, bondage, sickness, and death.
As I stand on the edge of parenthood and I look out, figuratively, into the life of my son, this is what I see.