By Kathleen Nielson
09.16.2022 | Min Read

Listen to this article:

The following is an excerpt from Prayers of a Parent for Young Children (2021) posted with permission from P&R Publishing

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (Eccl. 12:9-12)

I love the way the writer of Ecclesiastes describes his inspired writing process as crafting and arranging the words with such loving care. They are called “words of truth” and “words of delight.” 

Ecclesiastes also reminds us that much knowledge and many books in themselves are not the point! In these days of the internet, we can easily be fooled. Many words of many websites often lead to weariness rather than the truth or delight we're pursuing.

I recall so wanting our first child to learn to read that, before he was two, I taped up word flash cards all over the house. Fortunately, both God and our children are very forgiving.

May we pray for wisdom as we teach delight in words, beginning with the God-breathed treasures of God’s Word.

That you made us to speak to you in words,
O God who spoke and there was light,
is marvelous indeed.
That we can read your Word,
breathed out by you and written down
with study, care, delight,
is wonderful indeed.

I pray that you would help me teach my child
delight in words—your words, all first and foremost,
but as well the words we humans speak and read and write
because we're made by you.

So, as I read aloud, and lead my child to read,
please let us savor words,
with all their rhythms, sounds, and meanings;
may we taste and learn and grow.
May I never make the work an empty labor,
only a weariness of the flesh,
lacking wonder at the gift of words
and wisdom that can come only from you.