Pastoral Perspectives

Leaving A Lasting Legacy

               In financial planning, there are premium products crafted for those who wish to leave a legacy for their families. “Make today count for their tomorrow” and “Build your legacy to continue supporting those who are most precious to you” are common slogans in legacy planning advertisements.

               While the Bible is clear that we ought to work hard and provide for our families, Jesus also tells us to build wisely and store up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Mat 6:19-24). In his recent sermon on Why Worry, Eld Chee Seng also reminded us that our future is secured in Jesus, and that in Him, we have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:3-4). So if we want to make today count for the tomorrow of our children in True Way, what are some things we can do collectively as a church to leave a faith legacy that will last? Using the acronym GPS, I would like to suggest that we Grow in Christlikeness, Pray for our children, and Savour biblical resources on parenthood.

G – Grow in Christlikeness

               Children look up to significant people in their lives. In the church, they see Jesus in us, the people who make up the church – parents, guardians, Sunday school teachers and teacher assistants, worship leaders, pastors, elders, deacons and all the other adults and youths whom they meet in church. Do our children hear conversations that are full of grace and gratitude? Do they see us obeying God? Do they feel welcomed in our worship services? Do they see the fruit of the Spirit in us?

P – Pray for Our Children

               God tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17) and to pray instead of fretting (Phil 4:6). To understand the needs of our children, we can ask them “How can I pray for you?” in our interactions with them. We can also use Scriptures to pray for them to have a loving and practical relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In the book Prayers for Your Children – 90 Days of Heartfelt Prayers for Children of Any Age published by Discovery House, author James Banks crafted 90 prayers according to 13 themes or biblical concepts which are helpful for living the Christian faith. The 13 themes are Knowing, Growing, Walking, Loving, Protected, Faithful, Fruitful, Thankful, Humble, Pure, Hopeful, Overcoming, and Blessed. While the 90 prayers were crafted for Christian parents to pray for their children, I believe spiritual parents can also pray these prayers for their spiritual children. Here is an excerpt of a prayer on the theme Hopeful from the book (I have removed the quotation marks for easy reading):

Sometimes when we would play games as children we would say, “Ready or not, here I come!” Please get him ready, Lord Jesus. Ready for what really matters. Ready for the day of your return (Joel 2:1). You talked about it often, telling us to be ready because you will come when we do not expect you (Mat 24:44)……….Because we do not know when you will come, I pray that you will help both me and my child to keep watch (Mat 24:42)……….Thank you that we don’t have to be surprised when the day comes (1 Thes 5:4); we can even look forward to it! When you appear a second time, you will save those who are eagerly waiting for you (Heb 9:28)! Father, I praise you because you chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out your anger on us (1 Thes 5:9). He died for us so that we may live together with him (1 Thes 5:10). I pray that you will help my child always to be aware of your presence, Lord, and to stay alert and be clearheaded (1 Thes 5:6). Help him to be careful so that his heart will not be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life (Luke 21:34). Let his heart be lifted up with the hope of being with you! May the cry of his heart be, “I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me” (Micah 7:7). I pray that my child will long for you (Psalm 130:6), Lord Jesus! You said that no one can come to you unless the Father who sent you draws them to you (John 6:44). Please draw him near, Father! Then, even while he lives on this earth he will be among the citizens of heaven, and will be eagerly waiting for your Son to return as our Savior (Phil 3:20).

S – Savour Biblical Resources on Parenthood

               The Bible is clear that the home is the centre of faith formation for the next generation (Deut 6:5-9). Both fathers and mothers have a shared mission to nurture the faith and character of their children (Psalm 78, Prov 1:8, Eph 6:4, 2 Tim 1:5). To help parents build positive relationships with their children, Focus on the Family Singapore has designed a “Race to Praise 30 Day Challenge” for parents to receive tips that are filled with practical ideas and fun activities, as well as tips for quality conversations. You can accept the challenge at https://campaigns.family.org.sg/race-to-praise-2017-main-30-day-challenge/. In the introductory video, we learn that every child needs 5 As to grow into healthy successful adults – attention, appreciation, affection, acceptance and accountability. These 5 As form the foundation of our children’s self-esteem. How we treat our children will determine how they feel about themselves. They need to feel that they belong, that they are accepted and are deeply loved. When these needs are met, they will grow into healthy and confident adults in the future. As a church, it would be helpful for spiritual parents to know the 5 As and come alongside parents to encourage the children in our midst.

               True Way resource library also has some excellent books on biblical parenthood such as Parenting – 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, and Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman. Both parents and spiritual parents can gain deeper insights on faith formation work when they savour these helpful biblical resources.

               As we celebrate 25 years of God’s goodness and faithfulness, let us continue to work on our GPS so that all who come behind us may find us faithful. Shall we sing the chorus of the song “Find Us Faithful” heartily as we close this reflection on leaving a lasting legacy?

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful May the fire of our devotion light their way May the footprints that we leave Lead them to believe And the lives we live inspire them to obey Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful


Ms Chan Suet Fong

October 22, 2017