Monday of the Baptism of our Lord – Prayer of the Week

Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of baptizing a child. She was beautiful, about 4 months old. She winced a little when the water hit her skin. It might not have been warm enough. She did not cry. She rested quite contentedly in my arms as we prayed for her at the altar and as I introduced her to the congregation. There is something awesome about being at that moment. It is one of the things that keeps this preacher going.

At the same time, I am also cognizant of this prayer’s other half. We pray that God would “make” all who are baptized faithful children. I know that too many of the children I have baptized over the years are no longer attending worship or part of a faithful community. This is a distressing statistic for all Christians. There are a great number of baptized, even confirmed individuals who will not darken the door of a church once this year. Ask them, and they will check the “none” box on the religious survey form. I wish it were different. I also cannot make this fact change. God can make that change. I suppose I could insist that everyone whom I baptize be enrolled in various classes and compulsory activities. I am sure it would not go well. Being faithful to a calling does not work that way. God sent Jesus, anointed Him with the Spirit and called him the beloved Son. It will be God who makes us faithful, even me and who has, by that same water of baptism, made me an heir of eternal life. I praise God that he has forgotten none of the children I have baptized. They are all engraved upon His hand, written down in His book, and ever on His mind. If anyone will make them faithful and heirs with Christ, it will have to be God alone.

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