One of my earliest memories is my mother singing this song to me as she rocked me to sleep. My older sister told me that she would sing it to their children but used each of their names instead of Bonnie. My wife and I have done so with our children too. A few nights ago as I was putting one of my children to bed I asked her if she knew why I sing this song to her.
Years ago as I was singing this song something came to my mind. An image of my child over the ocean and over the sea. I recognized that I only have so much influence over my child. That their agency, their will, is so paramount that even God would not breech it. Our moral choice is really the only thing we have that is truly our own. It is the only thing we can give to God. It is granted to us by God and He will never, ever force it from us. It is the root of love. That we are willing to give our heart, might, mind and strength to what we will.
So as I think of my children, over the ocean and over the sea. What I ask the Lord through this song is that He bring them back to me. Or that through His grace, the gospel of peace might be brought unto but not into the hearts of my children. And that through one and many cases the most sacred of moments, that my children will open their hearts and give space for the word of God in their lives. That they will recognize the value of the word and nurture it in their lives. That they will begin to see the word growing in them. Changing their nature from a fallen one to a spiritual one. That it opens a world of gratitude, and love and service throughout a lifetime.
That through their lives they might become the sons and daughters of God. Born again as children of Christ. He being the Father of their new lives. That they give their whole soul as an offering to God and be sealed to him and to each other for ever and ever.
My prayer continues that I might keep myself in remembrance of the covenants that I have made. Of the change of heart I have experienced. That I might preserve this change of heart. This tree of life in my soul that brings me hope and life and light. That I might continue to bind myself to God and to those who love Him. That I might continue in service and love as my wife and children and parents and on and on from generations long ago to generations to come. Joined in a link that connects all the sons of Adam and Eve. Joining all who will Come unto Him. That our hearts will forever be turned towards God and each other.
This is my prayer. This is what my heart yearns for as I sing this song to my children. As I heard it from my mother.