How the Head of the Household Teaches His Children to Pray and Confess
This is the Work of God
It is important to stress from the outset that God is our Father, and that He has made Christ Jesus the Head of His Household and Family, the Church. He is the One who teaches His children to pray and confess, and He is the One who preserves them steadfast in this Word and Faith, even until death, according to His good and gracious will.
On the one hand, He breaks and hinders every evil will and purpose of the devil, the world, and our own fallen flesh, which do not want His Name to be hallowed or His Kingdom to come. And on the other hand, He uses the ways and means of His good creation to accomplish His purposes.
Significantly, He uses pastors and parents to care for His children, to teach them His Word, and to preserve them in the Christian faith and life. But He is not dependent on us. Rather, we depend on Him. He will in fact accomplish His purposes, with or without any of us, where and when it pleases Him. We thus approach the task at hand with faith and confidence in His Word and work, neither lazy nor negligent, but encouraged that our labors in the Lord are not in vain.
Like Father, Like Son
We know and love the Father in Christ Jesus by His grace. And by faith we become like our God and Father, also in Christ Jesus, in love and mercy for our neighbors, including our own children.
As Adam begat sons in his image and likeness — with respect to his sin and death, to be sure, but also with respect to his faith in the promise, at least in the case of Abel and Seth and his line — so does the Christ beget sons of God, in His Image and Likeness, by His Word and Holy Spirit. Much as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was conceived and born of St. Mary by the Word and Spirit of His Father, and in His own human flesh and blood He is the very Image and Likeness of God.
We who are born of Adam, inheritors of sin and death, are born again of water, Word, and Spirit as the children of God, forgiven all our sins and raised from death to life in the righteousness of Christ. It is likewise by the Word and Spirit of Christ that we are instructed to live by faith in Him, and to live in love like His for the Father and for others. This legacy that we have received from our Lord Jesus Christ is far and away the most important thing that we pass on to our children.
The Testing and Trying of Faith
The Lord clarifies, strengthens, and trains our faith by testing us, and by allowing us to be tempted and tried, thereby purifying us in body and soul, as gold and silver are purified by fire. He does not tempt anyone to sin, but He does put us to the test in various ways, in order that we learn to fear, love, and trust in Him, to obey His Commandments, and to pray to Him at all times.
We have only to think of examples such as Adam & Eve, tested by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, and tempted by the devil to doubt and disobey God’s Word concerning the Tree. And Job, whose faith and righteousness were tried and tempted by Satan, in order to be clarified and proven by God in the hope and promise of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ — who was in turn also tempted, tried, and tested as our merciful and great High Priest in all things pertaining to God.
Abraham was tested by God when he was commanded to sacrifice his son, his only son, Isaac, whom he loved, as a confession of his faith in the Lord who had promised to bless him and all the nations through that same son. And the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel were also tested in the wilderness, for the sake of repentance and the strengthening of their faith in the Word of God.
To cite one other example from the New Testament Scriptures, consider the Canaanite woman, who was tested and tried when she sought the healing of her demon possessed daughter. The Lord Jesus was silent, apparently dismissive, and seemingly insulting to that woman, before fulfilling her request, in order that her strong faith be confessed and her persistence set forth as an example.
Establishing the Rhythm and Way of Life
The story arc of the Exodus from Egypt offers a paradigm and pattern of the way the Lord begets and bears His children, preserves them in His faith and life, and brings them home to Himself.
He calls His people (His Son) out of Egypt. He rescues and saves them, and makes them His own, by sending Moses with His Word, by bringing them through the water with His Spirit, and by leading them through the wilderness with His ways and means of grace.
He gives them the Passover, the first of several primary types of the Lord’s Supper. He tells them to “Do This,” to celebrate this meal annually in commemoration of the Exodus (and in anticipation of the coming Lamb of God), and to teach their children what it means, all by and with His Word.
Indeed, preaching, teaching, and the sacramental life are to shape and characterize God’s people, His children. As with Moses the Prophet and Aaron the Priest for all the people, assisted by the Elders of Israel and the Levites, in particular, so also with the father in each household and family.
As Moses does, and as the kings were later to do, fathers are given to teach and rehearse the Law of the Lord with their children. To pray and confess it with them on a daily basis, as they get up and go about their day, and as they go to bed each night. Ritually, ceremonially, and practically.
The Manna in the wilderness is the second primary type of the Lord’s Supper, and of the Lord Jesus Himself. It is the Lord’s provision, and at the same time a teaching and testing of faith, that the people be trained to trust Him, to obey His Word, and to live by His grace. Not unlike the way that Luther explains the Our Father, especially the first four Petitions. There is more than simple politeness involved in teaching our children to say please and thank you, and to be faithful in their stewardship of what the Lord provides. We teach them to live by faith, to pray, and to be grateful.
The Covenant at Mt. Sinai is the third primary type of the Lord’s Supper. It provides the basis and the context for the giving of the Book of the Law and the Ten Commandments, which are not given as a means of gaining life or becoming God’s children, but as direction for and description of that life, which He has given them by grace and seals unto them by His gifts, by His Word and Spirit.
His rules and prohibitions, His promises of reward and every blessing, and His threats of punish-ment and death, serve as a training in the way of righteousness — which is to say, in faith and love — so that He is honored and sanctified by His people, and the nations see His Glory in them. This is not a case of legalism or works righteousness, but of God’s guiding and guarding His people in a way of life that preserves and protects their faith in Him and their love for Him and each other.
Where the Second Table of the Law protects the people from harming each other, the First Table protects them from their own native idolatry and unbelief by calling them constantly back to God and His Word. To His honor and glory, yes, but also to their own great benefit and well-being.
The keeping of the Law does not create faith or give life to the one who keeps it — though it may do so for the neighbor who is thereby served in love! But to depart from the Law is destructive of faith and life, whereas to live according to the Ten Commandments is conducive to protecting, serving, and supporting the faith and life that God has established and bestowed by His Gospel.
Both as a gracious gift of heaven on earth, a proclamation and promise of the incarnate Christ, and in view of the people’s sinfulness and hardness of heart, the Lord gives the Tabernacle (later the Temple), the Priesthood, the Sacrifices, and His Old Testament Liturgy, to preserve His people in His presence. These are the ways and means by which He abides among them in peace, in spite of their sin, and by which He keeps them in His faith and love on their journey through this life.
It is His daily and yearly and ongoing forgiveness of sins that really defines His Church and saves His people from false worship, unbelief, and eternal death. And the Law of the Lord serves that Gospel of forgiveness by requiring His people to give attention to it and to avail themselves of it.
By means of sacrifice, offerings, and almsgiving, the people are taught to fear, love, and trust in God, to live by faith and love, and to fix their eyes, their hearts, and their hope on Christ Jesus, the Lord’s anointed great High Priest, who would sacrifice Himself and shed His Blood to atone for their sins, to sanctify them, and to bring them to God. And again, like Father, like Son, the people learn to sacrifice themselves — in faith and love — to the glory of God and for the good of their neighbors. Such a life both confesses and confirms their faith and love in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We also take note of the Priesthood itself, the sons of Aaron and the Levites, who are types of the New Testament ministers of the Gospel, entrusted with the keeping and conduct of the Liturgy.
As already in the case of the Passover, the Lord establishes a Church Year, a calendar of annual festivals, to root the people in the sacred history of His Word and work. Not simply as a memory, but as a continuation of His work among them. To sanctify times and places with His Word and promises and gifts, as the means by which He remembers His people in grace, mercy, and peace.
The New Testament Church Year, which we have inherited across the generations, although not divinely commanded per se, is constituted by Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament calendar. And aside from the basic piety of the Church Year, there could hardly be a more powerful means of teaching and preserving the Word of God and the story of Christ among His people.
There is also the very basic rhythm of weekly work and Sabbath Rest. In fact, the Sabbath is not only rooted in Creation, but it permeates the Law as a fundamental principle of God’s dealing with His people (and of the way that they, in turn, are to deal with others). They have their work to do, but He gives them rest — finally, fully, and forever in Christ Jesus. Justification by grace alone, through faith alone, apart from the works of the Law, is found already in the Sabbath Day, even though it would ironically and tragically become a most burdensome thing in the legalism of the people’s hearts and lives, and a frequent target of accusations against the Lord Jesus. God gives life, preserves faith, and provides people with peace and rest by His Word and His work, not theirs.
In these various ways, the Lord uses the Law as a Tutor leading the people to Christ, to faith in Christ, and to the life and love of God in Christ. His Commandments, His warnings, and His promises identify our needs and point us to His gracious provision, so that we learn to fear, love, and trust in Him. Let me offer and describe four key components of this Pedagogy of the Law.
Prayer is fundamental to life as a child of God. It is the voice of faith, which confesses and calls upon the Name of the Lord. And by such faith we call upon Him as our “Abba! Father!” in Christ.
We can rightly distinguish prayer from the means of grace, but we should be careful in doing so that we not deny or downplay the essential role and purpose of prayer in the Christian faith and life. God commands it and promises to hear and answer, for which reason Luther praises prayer highly. It is of twofold benefit in preserving our faith in the Word of God: First of all, that we pray for such preservation, as in the Our Father. And second, that prayer is an exercise of faith and a confession of the Word of God. So it is that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
As already mentioned and discussed, the Law also points us to the Peace and Sabbath Rest, the Safety and Security that are given and received within the Household and Family of God, in His Word and work of forgiveness. Not unlike parents requiring their children to drink their milk, to eat their vegetables, and to go to bed at night, the Lord God requires His children to rest from their labors and to avail themselves of His good gifts. The Law does not aim at instilling the right attitude in the hearts of the people, but at directing them to the times and places where the Spirit of God lays the Lord Jesus upon their hearts by the preaching and administration of the Gospel.
So is it also the case, as previously noted, that the Law disciplines and trains the children of God in the way of righteousness. Not to justify themselves by their own works of the Law, but to live righteously by faith and in love. Learning that way of life involves correction and guidance, rewards and punishments, trials and errors, but also progress and maturing. The pattern is found in Christ Himself, though of course He was without sin from the start and made no mistakes. He did learn and grow in wisdom and knowledge. And though He was a Son, He learned obedience by the things that He suffered on our behalf. The Cross itself was a discipline, which He bore and experienced in faith and love, in order to bear our sins and to bear the fruits of righteousness for us. So does the Cross discipline us unto repentance, and bring forth in us the fruits of repentance.
Thus, to be a disciple of Jesus, to be disciplined in love by His God and Father, is to take up the Cross and follow Him, to learn from Him how to live and how to die in holy faith and holy love.
This brings us to the fourth basic component of the Law’s pedagogical direction: As it is fulfilled for us by Christ in His perfect faith and divine love, so does it teach us the heart of the Father, His good and gracious will, and the mind and Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. It describes the divine life that we are called to live by faith in Him, so that we should be sons of our Father in heaven.
The Law is training us in this direction even before we are capable of perceiving or embracing such a divine and holy life in our hearts and minds and souls. But as we are brought to repentance and faith in Christ, we no longer approach the Law as a means of self-righteousness, but as an instrument of love and mercy for our neighbor. Not the Law but our perspective and attitude are changed. In faith toward God, as sons and daughters of the Father, the Law teaches us how to live with mercy and love, patience and forgiveness for others, even as the Lord our God deals with us in His mercy and His love, with His long-suffering patience and His free forgiveness of our sins.
Nowhere is that more true or more significant than it is for us who are called to be fathers on earth — whether of our own households and families, or of the Household and Family of God.
By Whom All Fatherhood on Earth Is Named
A. The Church of God as the pattern for the Home and Family
Just as the Marriage of Christ and His Bride, the Church, is the true Model upon which all human marriage ought to be based, and just as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the Father by whom all fatherhood on earth is named, so is the Household and Family of God the true Paradigm for our human homes and families, and for the way that we are to care for them in love.
Within their own homes, fathers are to serve their families as pastors, priests, and presidents — or, we might say, as princes under the true King. That is to say, they are to preach and teach the Word of God, hear and answer their children’s petitions, and govern them with justice and truth. The family home does not substitute for the Church, but it does emulate the life of the Church, and in this way it also participates in the coming of the Kingdom of God (on earth as it is in heaven).
A father is to love and honor his children’s mother, as the Lord cares for His Church. And he is to teach his children how to be sons and daughters of God, to grow up into responsible men and women of faith, to fear the Lord, to love and trust His Word, and to speak and act with wisdom. The Table of Duties in the Epistles and in the Small Catechism provides a summary of this work.
Obviously, fathers are responsible for teaching their children — or having them taught — many things pertaining to their life in the world, to their relationships and responsibilities. All of these matters are pertinent to their faith and life as Christians and should not be neglected, especially as they help to shape and form the love they are called to exercise for their neighbors. But here our primary focus is on their piety and religious life, that is, on their prayer and confession of Christ.
B. The Teaching and Example of Fathers
Fathers teach the Word of God explicitly by reading it and speaking it to their children. They teach them to confess by confessing it themselves, much as they teach their children to pray by praying with them and for them. Luther’s guidance is still quite sound and foundational to this process: Establish the basic primary texts and have the children repeat and rehearse them verbatim, in order to fix the Word of God in their hearts and minds. Then see to it that they are in Church to hear the preaching of the Word, to be catechized by their pastors. And the home should be permeated with the Word of God and prayer, as well, beyond the basic chief parts of the Small Catechism. The Scriptures should be read, the stories of the Bible told and discussed, and the Psalms, hymns, and Spiritual songs of the Church chanted and sung. Fathers should also lead their families in praying and interceding for the Church and her ministers, for the world and its leaders, near and far, and for local neighbors and their pressing needs. Nothing teaches love like prayer in Jesus’ Name.
It should be self-evident that fathers should practice what they preach and teach their children. They also need to be in Church, to hear and learn the Scriptures, to confess their sins and receive absolution, to pray daily for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. We find excellent examples in Elkanah, the father of Samuel, and in St. Joseph of Nazareth, who had the remarkable privilege and responsibility of teaching and training the Lord Jesus in God’s Word and prayer!
Fathers likewise teach their children by the discipline of their own lives in the world — by the language they use, the love they show, and the way they spend their time, invest their energies, and use their talents & treasures. Fathers should both teach and demonstrate the priority of the Church and the Ministry of the Gospel by supporting them with their offerings and personal efforts, and by valuing the Liturgy and means of grace over and above the perishing pastimes of this world.
Children will certainly be aware of their father’s shortcomings, weaknesses, sins, and failures, at least to some extent. So should they also be aware of their father’s confidence in and reliance upon the forgiveness of Christ, that he lives by repentance and faith, and that the Gospel is in fact the heart and center of his life, and not of his life only, but of life itself. Really, nothing is more crucial to the passing on of God’s Word and faith than for fathers to be living by faith in the Word, not only in theory but in actual practice, both at home and in the Life and Liturgy of the Church.
C. Training in Piety and Righteousness
Training children in piety and righteousness, repentance and faith, is accomplished by catechesis as a comprehensive way of life. It is an apprenticeship of sorts, a kind of boot camp, a daily and ongoing discipline that is practiced by fathers and mothers along with their entire households and families. They establish and live within an environment that is shaped and filled and characterized by the Word of God and prayer. Not in isolation from the liturgical life of the Church, but in the closest connection and continuity with it. Not just the pastor’s family, but every Christian family, to the extent that opportunity permits. To live in this way is not extreme but normal and right.
As the Passover, the Manna, and the Covenant at Sinai were central to the Lord’s catechesis and preservation of His children, the sons of Israel, in the Exodus from Egypt, so is the Lord’s Supper central to the catechesis and preservation of Christians in His Word and faith, in the life and love of God. Not only is ongoing catechesis necessary to an ongoing worthy and fruitful communion in repentant faith, but participation in the Holy Communion is itself a fundamental and formative catechesis in the Way of the Lord. It is the New Testament in the Body and Blood of Christ, the Living Bread from heaven on the journey, and the true Passover in the Household and Family of God. It is the primary locus and means by which God cares for His children with forgiveness, life, and salvation. And by this I refer not simply to the Sacrament, as though in any kind of isolation, but to the full Liturgy of the Gospel, comprising both the preaching of the Word of Christ and the faithful celebration of the Lord’s Supper according to His Word.
Pastors, as spiritual fathers of the Lord’s Church on earth, are responsible for “Doing This” for His remembrance of and among His people. Earthly fathers are responsible for bringing their children to their pastors and to the Lord’s Table within His Church.
A father should certainly be in Church with his children for the Divine Service every Lord’s Day, barring severe illness or incapacity — and he should send them with their mother, adult siblings, or other Christians, if ever he cannot accompany them himself. And not only on the Lord’s Day, but at other times, as well, where possible, whether for the festivals of the Church Year or for the Church’s prayer offices. This is the normal and normative pattern of the Christian faith and life.
Where it is not possible to be gathered with the pastor and congregation for daily prayer through the week — which work and/or school may prevent — then a father should establish and maintain a rhythm of daily prayer at home with his family. The Treasury of Daily Prayer is a great resource for doing so, but there are other ways and means available, as well, not least of all the sort of materials that the Concordia Catechetical Academy has produced and provided over the years.
The Christian home and family ought to echo and reflect the seasons and contours of the Church Year, so that it is Advent or Lent, Christmas, Epiphany, or Easter, at home as at Church. There should not be a compartmentalization of piety, but a confession of the Church’s Life that permeates the entirety of the family’s daily and weekly routines. It need not be extravagant, but it should be deliberate and significant, enough to be noticeable, to provide the reference points for all of life.
Similarly, there ought to be a seriousness about the father’s discipline of his children. Not in anger or rage, nor with harshness of words and punishments, but in love, in a firm but gentle way that again demonstrates by example the self-discipline and reverence of a Christian. The goal of all such discipline is to teach right and wrong, and to train children in the righteousness of life and love in this world. It prepares them to care for their own families in due time, and to love and serve their neighbors according to their own proper stations in life. It teaches them to live under the authority of God, within the good order of His creation, and to exercise whatever authority and responsibility He entrusts to them over the course of their lives with the self-discipline of love.
Such discipline does not aim at any self-justification, but rather at a life that is shaped by the Love of God and lived in the fear of the Lord, to the Glory of His Name, and for the benefit of His people, for the Church on earth, and for all our neighbors in the world.
D. Law and Gospel, Two Kingdoms, and the Keys
Fathers (and mothers) face an especially challenging task, because they are called to teach and administer both the Law and the Gospel within both of God’s “Kingdoms,” so to speak, that is, both as members of His Church and as citizens of the human community within His good creation. Fathers are, again, pastors and priests, presidents and princes, within their own homes and families. Such roles and responsibilities require real wisdom, discernment, and deliberate care.
Of particular importance is a clear recognition of the difference between life in the world and in relation to other people, and life before God in heart, mind, and conscience. Fathers teach their children the Word of God and faith without presuming any control of their hearts and minds, where the Spirit of God works by His Word, where and when it pleases Him, according to His grace.
Fathers are called to live by faith in the Gospel, and to convey, demonstrate, and exercise the Gospel in dealing with their children in love. They forgive, as they are forgiven. But mercy and forgiveness do not equate to a lack of discipline, for discipline aims not at justification before God but at justice and peace among men. Appropriate discipline does not lead to legalism any more than genuine forgiveness promotes licentiousness. It is far more likely that permissiveness will lead to promiscuity and unbelief, and that a lack of forgiveness will result in a hardness of heart.
Following the example of God Himself, and heeding His direction, fathers train their children in the ways of life and love on earth by the use of promises and warnings, rewards and punishments, to identify and confirm what is good and bad, right and wrong. Standards are determined and maintained, not arbitrarily, but in harmony with God’s Word and in keeping with the basic law of love for the neighbor. To these ends, it is necessary that expectations be clearly and consistently established and expressed, and that corresponding consequences be applied with similar clarity and consistency when those expectations are either met or violated.
All of these things will change and develop over time as children grow and mature, while basic premises and principles remain constant. Fathers must require and insist upon fairness and love in their children’s behavior, and they must demonstrate fairness and love in their own exercise of discipline. But love should not be confused with permissiveness, which teaches not love for others but self-indulgence and the reckless pursuit of sinful passions at the expense of the neighbor.
At the same time, in their exercise of faith in the Gospel, fathers do also demonstrate and in a sense embody for their children the forgiveness of sins. That’s not to speak of any compromise in discipline or fudging of the consequences for bad behavior, but of persistent love, provision, and care. That is to say, even in the midst of punishment, fathers continue to love their children and provide for their needs. Their identity and place in the home and family are not contingent upon their good behavior, but are a fact established by grace. So they are clothed and fed, even if and when they don’t get dessert. And they have a roof over their heads and beds to sleep in, even if and when they are sent to those beds early. They still have their father’s and mother’s affection.
This is what the Prodigal Son remembered when he hit rock bottom and began to come back to himself. He recalled his Father’s kindness and providential care for his household. And it is this character of the Father that first of all begins to draw his wayward child home, and then actually moves him to go out to him and welcome him back. This is a portrait of God the Father’s heart, which we know in Christ Jesus, His Son. And it provides an example of the way that earthly fathers are to live as men after God’s own heart in relation to their children. It also provides an encouragement to all of us men who have surely fallen short in our exercise of love and mercy, not unlike the older brother in the Parable, and yet our Father continues to pursue us with His Love.
As we teach our sons and daughters to examine their hearts and lives, to confess their sins, to apologize and seek absolution, and to bear the fruits of repentance in their lives and relationships, so do we also examine ourselves against the standard of God’s Word, confess our sins, live by faith in the forgiveness of the Gospel, and bear the fruits of love for our children and other neighbors. None of this is child’s play. It is the way that every Christian, both young and old, is called to live in Christ Jesus, in relation to their families, friends, enemies, and others.
Among other things, this standard of Christian faith and life means that fathers will acknowledge their own faults and apologize to their children where they have done wrong, dealt with them harshly or unfairly, or otherwise sinned against them. Such humility and honesty, under God the Father in heaven, does not weaken or undo their authority as fathers, but rather strengthens their integrity, their position, and their teaching and confession of the Truth. The alternative would be a denial of the very Word of God and the Christian faith which they are supposed to be teaching. Children will hardly take it seriously for themselves, nor persist in it as they grow up and become adults, if they perceive that their fathers (and mothers) do not take it seriously in their own lives.
E. Communication and Care, Clarity and Consistency, Charity and Compassion
As daunting and challenging as all of this parenting is, fathers and mothers should not despair, give up hope, or become cynical. They should rather be confident and courageous in their callings and in caring for their children. For God Himself has given them this task, entrusted their children to their stewardship, authority, and care, and is with them in this good work. So there is this bold confidence in Him, which is coupled with genuine humility under His divine authority. Not by any merit or worthiness, wisdom, reason, or strength of our own, but by His grace, mercy, and peace do we care for our children and bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, steadfast in His Word and faith until they die. Indeed, it is His good and gracious will to bring this about.
In repentance and faith, we speak to our children, care for them, and deal with them with clear and consistent words and actions. It is much like the clarity and consistency of Luther’s Catechism. Not shifting and uncertain, but steady and solid and straightforward. We speak the Truth in love, and we do as we say, even as we listen to the Lord and rely upon His Word and promises to us.
As we are called to have charity and compassion for all others, since we have received and depend upon the charity and compassion of our God and Father in Christ Jesus, all the more so do we exercise charity and compassion for our children. Especially because their weaknesses, short-comings, and frailties derive from us in the first place, both by nature and by nurture. Which also adds further impetus to the most basic rule, that we do unto others as we would have done to us. Surely we can empathize with our children, and we rejoice to share in the Gospel along with them.
When God declared to Moses that He would not go up with the sons of Israel into Canaan, because they were so sinful and stubborn, and He would only destroy them in His righteous wrath, Moses interceded for Israel and pleaded with God that He must abide with them and go up with them, else they would perish — because they were so sinful and stubborn!
Thus, the Lord, the Lord, patient and long-suffering, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, provided the means by which He would dwell with His children and lead them forward all the way. He established ways and means of grace and forgiveness in the Tabernacle, Priesthood, and Sacrifices, so that the people could be cleansed and preserved in His Word and faith and survive in His presence and His peace. All of which He has fulfilled for us in the only-begotten Son, the Word who became Flesh and tabernacles with us, our merciful and great High Priest, who has sacrificed Himself once-and-for-all to atone for our sins and redeem us. In Him do we and our children live by grace, through faith, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever.
This is how the Head of the Household sustains us through the wilderness and keeps us steadfast in His Word and faith, even until death. Thus, we look to Him, both for us and for our children, and for our children’s children yet to come. The first and foremost thing is that we not make gods out of our children, nor presume to be our children’s gods, but that we live with them by faith in the true and only God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who speaks to us and cares for us in the Word and Flesh of Christ Jesus. So do we live and love in Him, the beloved and well-pleasing Son of God, as the dear children of our dear God and Father in heaven. We daily receive and rest ourselves in His daily divine providence for body and soul, the forgiveness of all our sins, and the Daily Bread that we need for this life and forever. And in this faith and confidence, we confess and call upon His Holy Name, knowing that His Answer is a resounding “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus, and that we shall be saved by His grace unto the Resurrection and Life everlasting.