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Praying for Children in Danger (2 Samuel 12:22–23)

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He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he’s dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
-2 Samuel 12:22–23

These are really heavy verses and there were a lot of other verses I thought about leading us to pray through based on 2 Samuel 12. But the reason I wanted to pray according to these two verses is because they address a sober reality in this fallen world of children dying far too soon. And I know there are likely some listening to this podcast right now who have lost a child in this way, and really a number of different ways, either before birth through miscarriage or soon after they were born.

God, we pray for children who right now are in danger of losing their lives in all kinds of different circumstances.

I think about sitting with families in hospital rooms as a child is hanging on for his or her life just days into his or her life. And then after that, and very young ages due to all sorts of different circumstances. And I can think of few things heavier than walking with a family through a situation like this. I don’t presume in any way to know the depth of emotion with that journey, but this is one of the things I love about the Bible. It doesn’t shy away from the depth of emotions that we are familiar with in this world. And there’s a lot we could say based on 2 Samuel 12:22-23, including, I should mention, the hope that the Bible expresses here and teaches in other places that children and others with special needs who die without the capacity to know and understand and believe the gospel are safe with God in heaven when they die.

Even as David says, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” I just want to lead us to pray specifically for those who have experienced this hurt in this world. Oh God, we praise You for Your presence with us, Your word to us in the middle of this fallen world. God, we shudder to think where we would be without Your comfort that comes from Your word and Your revelation of Yourself and truth to hold on to a rock, to stand on when the storms of this world are raging in so many ways, and God specifically in circumstances like this. And God, I think about some children and families who might be in the situation that David was in right before this, praying, fasting, pleading for You to save a child’s life. God, we join together in praying for that right now. God, we pray for children who right now are in danger of losing their lives in all kinds of different circumstances.

God, we pray for Your provision. We pray for Your intervention. We pray for Your help. We pray for Your power to be shown on behalf of that child’s life. God, we pray for that. We pray with faith, trusting You and Your power, and trusting Your wisdom even as we see that on display in this chapter, even when You don’t answer a prayer like we long to see You answer. God, we pray for Your help in that moment. God, we pray for Your grace. 2 Corinthians 12, like sufficient grace in that moment. God we pray that children like this are safe in Your presence forever. God, we praise You that this world is not the end. God, we praise You for the promise of another world to come where there is no more sin and no more sorrow and no more suffering and no more death.

Jesus, we praise You for conquering sin and death. For the promise that one day we will see Your face and You will wipe away every tear from our eyes. So God, we pray specifically right now, based on 2 Samuel 12, over men, women, siblings, all kinds of people who have been any… God over any person who has experienced this kind of grief that we see in 2 Samuel 12. We pray in light of Your word in 2 Corinthians 1, that Your comfort would overflow to them in this moment and every moment, every single day that You would help them to hold fast and faith to You until the day when they will, to use the language of 2 Samuel 12:23, “When we shall go to them with You. God help us to hold fast until that day in this fallen world. We love You God, we praise You for the hope we have in You and the hope we find in Your word. In Jesus’ name we pray, the name of the one who conquered sin and death that we might have life forever with You. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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