What a privilege we have to love and serve our children by praying for them!
Although time spent in teaching our children, training our children, and interacting with our children is absolutely irreplaceable, nothing will have a greater impact on our children and their spiritual success than the time we invest in prayer with, for, and about them.
When I was a young mom, I used to read the scriptures that stated: “Pray without ceasing,” and wonder how in the world that was even possible. The busyness of my days and the needs of my many children seemed to make praying for even a few moments an unattainable goal. However, as unattainable a goal as it seemed, I knew that God’s desire for me was prayer, and specifically, prayer for my children. Knowing that truth reminded me to find a way to make prayer a priority part of my day.
As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve come to a clearer understanding of that scripture. Instead of wondering where I will find the time to pray, I’ve begun to recognize that every part of my life has become an offering of prayer. As I fold clothes, and wash dishes, and chauffer children here and there, I find myself slipping easily and often into conversation with the Lord.
Praying without ceasing has simply come to mean talking continually with my best friend and the lover of my soul!
However, praying habitually for my children does not mean I pray randomly for them. There are three important ways we should pray for our children, (Actually, there are probably 3000+ ways, but we’ll only discuss three!) and one huge prayer we should pray on a daily basis regarding our children.
Our children will be blessed as we pray for them. As their parents, we often see needs in our children’s lives that they aren’t even aware of themselves. We can recognize needed areas of growth. We’re the first to notice when they’re sick, or sad, or just in need of encouragement. As we recognize those needs in our children’s lives and take them faithfully to the Lord in prayer, we will see the hand of God at work in our children’s lives. As we share what we have been praying about with our children, and also the ways we have seen the Lord answer our prayers, our children’s faith will be strengthened and they will feel encouraged and loved.
What a privilege it is to pray not simply for our children, but with them, as well. As we spend time praying together, God will give us glimpses into our children’s hearts. Often, my children shared concerns, joy, and deep thoughts with me during our times of prayer. As they unburdened their hearts to the Lord, I had the opportunity to help them carry their burdens to God. Praying together builds intimacy and will make our relationships with our children deeper and stronger.
Praying about our children and the influences that come into their lives is every Christian parent’s responsibility. We cannot see everything that affects our children. Although when they are very young, we may know all of their friends, as they get older they will begin to meet people and build friendships with young people we don’t know. It’s essential to pray that our children will be wise and discerning in those relationships and in their life choices. Before we say “Yes” to new opportunities and events for our children, we should pray and ask the Lord for His wisdom as we make our decisions. Praying “about” our children means that we will pray for their friends! Whether our children’s friends are believers, or not, they still need our prayers. Get to know your children’s friends and work hard to build friendly and trusting relationships with them. With a firm foundation of trust in place, it will be natural to ask our children’s friends how we can pray for them, and then, to follow up in order to find out how God is working in their lives.
Finally, there’s one vitally important prayer that we should pray each and every day. Wise parents will pray and ask the Lord to show them any “hidden” sins in their home. When our children are involved in sinful actions or attitudes that go unrecognized, those actions and attitudes will soon become deeply rooted sin habits. Once sin has taken root in our children’s hearts, it is much more difficult to confront and remove. Trust me, this is a prayer that God is faithful to answer! His desire is that our children would get “caught” before they are entrapped by sin. If, and really when, God shows us that hidden sin, it is our responsibility to deal with what has been revealed. Again, that’s a time to seek the Lord’s wisdom as we decide on appropriate actions and consequences.
Prayer is a safeguard for our children.
Prayer is a way to strengthen our children.
Prayer will reassure and calm our hearts as we strive to parent our children effectively.
Prayer is a precious gift from God that is an irreplaceable source of help and encouragement for both our children and us!