Our children need us to lift up powerful prayers to the Lord on their behalf. Here are five areas you can start with!
“Does the idea of praying for your kids overwhelm you?”
We had five kids in seven years including a set of twins. As their mom, I knew I should pray for them, and I really wanted to, but finding the time and knowing how to do it was overwhelming. They had so many needs which were ever-changing! I felt paralyzed, often a failure as a mom.
Proverbs 27:23 says, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.” I took this as a mandate to study my kids, my “flock.”
What does this have to do with prayer?
My husband John and I decided to take a day away, usually early in the fall, to talk about each child’s needs for the coming season. We discussed each child in five areas of growth: spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and social. We asked questions like:
Physical: Is this child struggling with body image? Does she need healthier eating habits or more exercise?
Emotional: Does this child need to feel more secure in our large family? Does he need one on one time with a parent?
Social: Does this child need 1 or 2 close friends? Is he or she the lonely kid in the class? Does a child need to learn to care for others?
Mental: Does a child need to be more disciplined in studies? Would a home “Study Hall” help?
Spiritual: Is this child growing spiritually? Do we need to pray for a fresh hunger in her heart?
As John and I discussed each child we wrote down the needs we perceived, and this became our prayers for the coming year. Simply doing this together has drawn us closer as husband and wife and enabled us to be on the same page about our kids. (If you are a single parent, you can still do this. Christ has promised to be a husband to all in his church. Ephesians 5:31-32, Revelation 19:7)
One year as we talked about our son Chris, we felt that an emotional need was that he would feel special as a middle child in our large family. We both prayed about this regularly. That year he fell head first on a cement floor and fractured his skull. It was a very scary time for us. We did not know what the outcome would be. We were in the hospital for two weeks uplifted by prayers and surrounded by love of many folks. Love notes and get-well cards were taped to the sterile walls of his room. Together we asked God to use this for good in each of our lives. (Romans 8:28) Chris did recover completely. As we were packing to go home, I asked him, “Chris, can you see any ways in which God has used this for good?”
Looking around at the get-well cards stuck to his walls, the gifts piled up he responded, “Mom, I never knew I was so special.”
Yes, God answers the prayers of parents!
As our children have grown, married, and now have their own kids we have continued to do this. Today we ask our adult children to share with us the needs they see in each of their children (and for themselves) for the coming year so that we can pray specifically for them.
Some of their requests include:
- For a spiritual mentor for a teen
- For an anxious child to sleep without night fears
- For the growth of kindness in a normally self-centered child
- For an assurance that a child is loved for who she is, not what she can do
- For self-control in a child prone to anger
- For a looming college decision
- For a husband’s fresh vision for his career
I put these requests into my prayer notebook and focus on one family each day. It’s faith-building to look back and see how God has answered prayers from the past.
When our daughter Libby became pregnant with quads, I laughingly asked,
“Lord, do you know what you are doing?”
She already had a 1-year-old and of our five kids was the most particular. So, I began to pray, “Lord, give her a laid-back spirit!”
He has and it’s been a marvel to watch this child of mine raise five kids (not quite two years apart) with discipline and flexibility but above all joy!
In Your Life
Plan a time with your husband to discuss each of your children in the above five areas of growth allowing your insights to form your prayers for the coming year. If you have adult children, ask them to give you their lists for their kids and themselves.
However, remember prayer is not all up to you. Right at this moment, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you, for each of your children, and for each of your grandchildren. (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:34.)
In His Word
“Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)
John and Susan’s book Raising Kids with Character That Lasts. In this book we take eight character traits and discuss how to grow together in them as a family. They include integrity, a teachable spirit, self-discipline, compassion, a servant’s heart, courage, and faith. We tell real life, funny stories on ourselves. This book contains a complete leader’s guide for a small group and questions at the end of each chapter. It’s ideal as an outreach for parents whose kids are ages 5-18.
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