In honor of this special week, I thought it would be helpful to share a beautiful birthday prayer from my Lutheran Book of Prayer that you might want to use the next time you have the chance to.
A Prayer On One's Birthday
My Lord and my God, in You alone I live and move and have my being. Today I again mark the day of my birth and the beginning of my temporal life. In deep gratitude I also recall my spiritual birth in the waters of Holy Baptism as You reconciled me to Yourself and cleansed me of my sin. For all this I thank and praise You. This day reminds me, to Your praise, O God, my Creator, that I was not only born into this world, but also that You have bought me with a price and brought me to a place where Your name is truly known, Your Word is taught in purity, and where, by Your means of grace, true faith is kindled. I thank You for the benefits that You have showered upon me, both for my life here and for my life yet to come, from the day of my birth to this very hour. You have nourished and kept me. By Your holy angels, You have protected my life in ways I can hardly imagine, and You have provided my bodily needs of food, clothing, and shelter in rich measure. To this grace upon grace You have added Your Word, through which You deliver forgiveness, comfort, and peace for each day of my life. How wonderful are the works of Your hands, O Lord, and Your mercy rich beyond measure!
Let me ever be mindful of my sinful beginning and my well-deserved punishment. But You have sought me out, the lost sheep; You have redeemed me, sanctified me, comforted me, governed me, and preserved me in my calling. Daily grant me forgiveness of sins as well as steadfastness in saving faith all the days You have prepared in advance for me, that I may serve You in true faith. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Isn't that just great?
Plus, for emphasis, a new acquaintance of mine on Facebook, Nick Hunn, shared this exceptional comment on his Facebook page yesterday that does a great job of capturing my sentiments from this past week in regards to my own kids.
"Tomorrow is Cora's 8th birthday, which means I've been a dad for about 8 years and 8.5 months, counting gestation. Along with a faithful, loving wife, there is no greater blessing in this life than children. Don't take them for granted, Dads. Give them your best, fail, ask for forgiveness, try again, ad infinitum. You're not doing anything more important than this."
Amen! I couldn't agree more!
In a Lutheran layman's terms, it's true that "behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward" (Psalm 127:3).
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm experiencing and/or studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!