Yesterday, I had the privilege of baptizing another covenant child, and as I have done on many occasion, gave the child’s father an opportunity to pray for his son after the waters of baptism and the Triune name were applied. The prayer that I post below is the prayer that father prayed (with names removed). Even now his prayer for his son moves me to tears.
Father, I thank you for the opportunity to witness, firsthand, your kingdom moving forward. For we believe, in faith, that you have marked [our son] as one of your people, a part of your Church. I know we have yet to see the faith in his life, but we are trusting in you to take his heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh. I pray that his faith would not be one born out of crisis, but that his trust in you for salvation would be like the air that he breathes… that long before he can express it, your saving grace would work in his life. We look forward to the day he can put into words the great work you have done in him.
Father, I thank you that children are truly one of life’s greatest blessings, not life-accessories for selfish adults, not burdens to be endured by exhausted parents, but blessings in the purest sense. For they are blessings that can, in turn, be a blessing to a dark and dying world. So, to that end, I pray for [our son’s] physical health, that you would keep sickness and injury from him so that he may care for the sick and the dying. I pray for his strength, that you would make his body continue to grow strong so that he may be a defender of the weak and the abused. I pray that you would continue to fill his life with those who love and care for him, so that he may be an advocate for the unloved and the forgotten.
Lord, your word tells us that to whom much is given, much is required, and, as parents, we have been so richly blessed. So, I ask that you enable us to be the mother and father that your word calls us to be – that we would not neglect to teach our children your word, to discipline them according to your law, and to love them as you have loved us. Also, as I have just asked you to bless [our son] with great blessings, so I trust that you will use him in mighty way to advance your kingdom – that everywhere he goes the darkness would run and hide for fear of your bright light that shines through him.
We are trusting in you to do all these things. I pray them all in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This would be a good summer read for any high school graduate getting ready to head off to college in the fall or for anyone else who wishes to read a very accessible defense of Christian truth. It is a good presuppositional approach to apologetics aimed at the level of late-high school/early college-aged folks. This little book (133 pages) is actually a good antidote to the weakest part of Tim Keller’s “Reason for God” because it gives a serious challenge to Darwinian evolution where Keller simply tries to show how evolution and Christianity aren’t incompatible. Dewitt’s two main challenges to evolution go something like this:
1- It is posited by secular scientists et al that religion was an evolutionary necessity that helped humanity make sense of the world and therefore more equipped to survive. However, religion is now like a vestigial organ, no longer of any use to humanity and on its way to elimination from the human scene. But Dewitt responds by pointing out that, if this is the case, then evolution is the author of practical survival skills but also the author of deceit. Though our genes drove us to religion and equipped us to survive, they deceived us and failed to lead us to what is true about reality.
2- It is also theorized by evolutionary psychology that we are an unrealistically optimistic species and that we are this way because evolution has hardwired our brains this way. Dewitt quotes Tali Sharot from her TIME magazine article “The Optimism Bias”, “We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures… But both neuroscience and social science suggest that we are more optimistic than realistic.” In simple terms, hope is irrational. Again, Dewitt points out that if this is true, namely that evolution is the author of this practical survival mechanism in our brains, then it is also true that evolution has deceived and is deceiving us.
Dewitt rightly points out negatively that if evolution cannot be trusted to point us to an accurate view of reality about religion and even our own thoughts, then why should it be trusted to give us an accurate view in so many other areas? Or as he puts it, “…how can we break free from the illusion?” (pg. 114) But Dewitt also uses the data of the human impulse toward both religion and optimism to drive us to ask a positive, observational question: could we be hard-wired with this religious impulse and optimism because we are all yearning to return to Eden? We have this ache because we know this world is broken, that we are all participants in its brokenness, and that we are incapable of putting the pieces back together by ourselves. Yet somehow we feel that there is a place where all that is broken will be made whole and all that is sad will become untrue. And if there is such a place, and if we can’t get there on our own, then maybe there is Someone to do what we can’t, Someone to get us where we can’t go.