There’s a small patio underneath our deck where I frequently sit and watch my children play from a distance. I endeavor not to hover (though I must admit the struggle is real). I know that aside from protecting them from legit danger, I should allow them free play where they are able to learn how to navigate and roam without me helicoptering over them at all times. This particular day I was watching my twins climb the ladder to our trampoline and tempered my urge to dodge over and assist….PTSD from Ele’s arm break looming in the forefront of my mind.
That’s when the thought hit me hard.
I realized in that moment that soon, very soon, my children are going to be away from me the majority of each day, making their own choices and decisions. No opportunity for me to hover, even if I wanted to.
As I gripped the handles of my chair forcing myself to keep my seat, and watched as the girls successfully conquered the ladder without my assistance, comfort dampened the reality that I cannot always be there to make right and good choices for my children. Just as I can’t make faith come alive inside them. I am COMPLETELY dependent on the heart-changing, love-infusing power of God’s spirit: for their protection and for their eventual salvation.
This moment and these thoughts ignited a spark in my heart that should have been obvious:
I am raising these children in a world with values contrary to my own – a world that seeks to attack and destroy them. I can’t defend them against these attacks. However, I CAN always pray. Once we give up the naive notion that we as parents can dictate the choices our children will make and the spiritual gate they will walk through—narrow or wide—then we are ready to slip on the knee pads and get serious about prayer.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Phil 4:6
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it. John 14: 13,14
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he hearteth us. 1 John 5:14
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. Romans 12:12
How sad it is that we seem to have forgotten the simple and uncomplicated blessing of praying as parents?? As we pursue effective parenting techinques, we must remember the basic call to pray…to pray without ceasing.
We don’t have to do everything right as parents…but there is one thing we can’t afford to get wrong. That one thing is prayer. We will never be perfect parents, but we can be praying ones. Prayer is our highest privilege as parents. There is absolutely NOTHING we could do that yields a higher return on investment. In fact, the dividends are eternal.
There will come a time when our children most likely may not express their love to us in the same way as they do as babies and toddlers (oh how the thought kills me). It might seem like they are pulling away. And we will have to make certain that we pursue God on our children’s behalf all the more. If they wander into the things of this world, let’s not let it be because their Mom and Dad failed to plead with God on their behalf.
Our children need to see and hear us praying. It doesn’t matter where or when. You can turn your commute into prayer time. When you make beds or fold laundry, pray. Cooking dinner or giving baths, pray. Go into their bedrooms at night when they are sleeping, kneel over them and pray. We don’t become a praying parent by default, we do it intentionally by design, desire, and discipline. Go back and read those promises in the scripture above on prayer. Those few passages merely scratch the surface on the power that regular, consistent, and meaningful prayer can mean in our lives.
The amazing thing about prayers is that they never die. They will live on long after we are gone. I’m part of a family with some extremely God-fearing and praying people. My parents and grandparents without a doubt sought the Lord in prayer regularly on my behalf. Continual evidence of His provisions, protection and blessings in my life are living testimonies to the culmination of all their prayers.
There are few things in this world more powerful than hearing someone intercede on your behalf. I often heard my parents and grandparents praying for me and my sisters, and those audible prayers left an imprint on my soul. What a blessing to have this prayer history. Maybe you didn’t inherit a prayer legacy like mine, but you can begin and leave a new legacy for your own children and their children, and their children’s children.
I think it’s important we not miss the opportunity to not only pray FOR them, but pray WITH them as well. Children are never too young to start praying out loud. In fact we can learn a lot from the innocence and faith in their prayers. Their faith has yet to be infected by logic. I’ll never forget the night we were whispering night time prayers with my oldest two and my son simply and innocently said, “Lord I pray that I can trust you one day like Mama does.” It was so pure and full of faith. That night I felt the holy spirit tugging at my heart to live with more integrity and more worthiness of my little boy’s prayer.
All of the things I’ve seen God do in and for me and in and for others–I have NO DOUBT whatsoever that there isn’t anything for Him that is too hard.
The truth is, God honors bold prayers, because bold prayers honor God.
One prayer can change anything. It can change everything. I know this because I’ve seen it. Experienced it time and time again in my own life.
Have you read my very first blog post? If you haven’t, the condensed version in its relevance to prayer is, God knew what was ahead for me in delivering my girls. He placed me on multiple people’s hearts to pray over me. These people prayed, and they prayed hard. You could never convince me otherwise. During surgery and in my time of need, the one thing I plainly recall is my precious midwife at my feet with her head bowed praying for me. My family recounts my husband’s cousin dropping directly to her knees in prayer when they were updated. Even the nurse that ran for my blood was praying. My point is, we never completely know who is praying for us.
This is the glorious mystery, magnificence, and power of fervent prayer. We never know how or when God may store up and pour out answers to our prayers. But we can be certain of this: OUR PRAYERS MATTER. They make a difference.
Are you willing to get on your knees and intercede for your family? God can and will answer your prayers long after you are gone. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t ever stop praying.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16