“What are arrows for but to shoot?” by Jim Elliot

“I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not.

And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly.

Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows?

And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.

‘Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Give of they wealth to speed them on their way, Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious, And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.'”

–Jim Elliot, in Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1958/2008), 182-183. Elliot wrote these words to his parents after telling them he was going to the mission field. He was martyred in Ecuador on January 8, 1956.

“Parenting by prayer” by Paul E. Miller

“When our kids were two, five, eight, twelve, fourteen, and sixteen, I wrote this in my prayer journal:

March 19, 1991. Amazing how when I don’t pray in the morning evil just floods into our home. I absolutely must pray! Oh, God, give me the grace to pray.

It took me seventeen years to realize I couldn’t parent on my own. It was not a great spiritual insight, just a realistic observation. If I didn’t pray deliberately and reflectively for members of my family by name every morning, they’d kill one another. I was incapable of getting inside their hearts. I was desperate. But even more, I couldn’t change my self-confident heart. My prayer journal reflects both my inability to change my kids and my inability to change my self-confidence. That’s why I need grace even to pray…

It didn’t take me long to realize that I did my best parenting by prayer, I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. It was actually quite relaxing.”

–Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2009), 59-60.

[HT: Miscellanies]

“An eternal treasure” by Martin Luther

“False natural love blinds parents so that they have more regard for the bodies of their children than they have for their souls… It is of the greatest importance for every married man to pay closer, more thorough, and continuous attention to the health of his child’s soul than to the body which he has begotten, and to regard his child as nothing else but an eternal treasure God has commanded him to protect, and so prevent the world, the flesh, and the devil from stealing the child away and bringing him to destruction. For at his death and on the Day of Judgment he will be asked about his child and will have to give a most solemn account.”

–Martin Luther, “A Sermon on the Estate of Marriage,” Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, ed. Timothy Lull. (Minneappolis: Fortress Press, 1989), p. 636.