This summer, I am spending a lot of time studying the idea of being a parent who prays. My mother and I are teaching a class at church for mothers and grandmothers who desire to learn more about how to pray effectively for the children they love. As usual, we are the ones who are learning the most! My next few posts will be from materials put together as we teach this class…I pray it will be an encouragement to you and that it will inspire you to pray fervently for your children.
The first thing to understand is what God says about prayer. There are many verses in the Bible about prayer, which teach us how to pray, what to pray for, etc. He tells us to pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17), to not give up (Luke 18:1), and that nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). He also tells us that we have a helper to intercede for us (the Holy Spirit) when we are so upset or confused that we don’t even know what to pray. He gives us an example in Samuel, the Old Testament Prophet, who tells the people of Israel that it is actually a sin NOT to pray (I Samuel 12:23-24). My favorite hidden treasure that was uncovered in my studying, however, was the fact that God says He will answer even BEFORE we finish speaking (Isaiah 65:24). What a comfort to know that God is listening, He knows our needs even before we finish telling Him, and that He even helps us to be able to pray in our time of need.
So why is it important to pray for our children? If God knows what they need anyway, why does it matter whether or not we pray for them? I believe it does, indeed, matter. In fact, I would venture to say that it is our most effective parenting tool. I don’t know about you, but I can readily admit that I am not capable of being the perfect parent. I make mistakes, I lose my temper, I make wrong decisions all the time. The good news? There is a perfect parent who is waiting for us to ask for help, and when we ask, He promises He will answer. Instead of turning to the latest parenting “experts” (whose advice seems to change every few years!), we can turn to the real expert…the One who created our precious children and knows them better than we do. When we are struggling to figure out their behavior, or what makes them act the way they do, He already knows. And He is more than willing to guide us in our parenting…all we need to do is ask.
I also believe it is important to pray for our children because our prayers unleash the power of God in our children’s lives. When we are willing to admit our helplessness, we are becoming the vessel through which God’s power can act. It is a stepping out of the way so that God can work. Instead of blocking His power with our stubbornness or pride, we can humble ourselves and let His power and wisdom have their way in our children, and the results will be beautiful. How could we possibly know better than the very God who made every aspect of their character?
Another benefit of praying for our children is the effect our prayers have on Satan. If we are protecting our children in prayer, his power over their lives is lessened. By putting up this shield around them, we are freeing them to be able to make right choices and follow God’s will for their lives. We should remember that when we are praying for our children, we are actually doing battle for their very lives. Satan has determined to see them fail. He wants desperately to devour our children and keep their hearts from God. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that your prayers are insignificant. While God has a good and perfect plan for your child’s life, Satan has an evil and devastating plan for them. Your prayers may be the weapon that keeps Satan from having his way with your child…what could be more motivating than that?
One of the beautiful blessings of being a praying parent is that God will also fill our hearts with peace as we trust His path for our children. We will be freed from the anxiety and unrest that comes with trying to control the lives of our children and keep them from all harm. Whenever I find myself worrying about a specific aspect of my child’s life (such as their health, or who they will marry), I remind myself that God already has it all worked out and that He loves them…even more than I do. What could be more reassuring than that?
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