How do you pray for your child?
There are thousands of books, websites, and blogs out there showing us how to pray for our children. They teach us what to pray and even when to pray for our kids. We are not short on information and resources. Where I see a hole is in the area of motivation to pray and the faith that prayer changes things.
Motivation to pray comes from several connected thoughts: 1) God loves me and wants what is best for my life; 2) I have a need; 3) according to God’s Word, I take that need to Him in prayer; 3) prayer changes things; and 4) when I petition God He will respond and act on my behalf. So when I am not motivated to pray, it is usually because one of these truths is missing in my life. Perhaps I don’t believe God loves me. Or maybe I am coming up with ways to solve the problem myself. Sometimes I am not sure I want God to respond because his answer may be something I don’t want to hear.
The second problem is a lack of faith when I do pray. It is almost as if I am praying with one eye open – looking for possible solutions just in case “the guy upstairs” doesn’t pull through for me. I’m praying for God to change things, but making a contingency plan “just in case.”
I have always “known” that God answers prayer because, as the song goes, “the Bible tells me so.” However, it is not until you are put in a place of utter helplessness that you can really grasp this truth. I have learned this by spending time with orphans in Uganda. These precious children have literally nothing and no means by which to acquire anything. They must truly rely on prayer for all their needs, because they have no plan B.
This summer I am gaining a new understanding of this in terms of praying for my children. I am learning more and more that God does hear us when we pray according to His will and He will answer our prayers – especially in relation to our kids.
Our college-aged son, Austin, is away for the summer working as a counselor at Sky Ranch youth camp. It has been a wonderful and challenging summer for him so far. He has learned that every ounce of energy – physical, emotional, and spiritual – comes only through his dependence on the Holy Spirit. There have been some discouraging times as well as mountaintop experiences with the Lord. I am blessed that he still shares his experiences with his mama.
The difference for me this summer is that I am unable to come to his “rescue” in the low times. Jim and I have never been ones to rescue our kids out of uncomfortable situations, but we do personally walk them through their struggles and try to help point them to Jesus. Struggles are a good thing if we grow from them. However, this summer that just isn’t possible. The distance makes visits impossible and phone reception is spotty and limited. But God…
The good news is that we have a heart connection with our son and with the Lord who also happens to be connected to our son. Not only that, the Lord loves our son even more than we do! There is nothing I can do except pray for my son. Wait, let me rephrase that…there is nothing BETTER I can do for my son than pray for him. So I have. I have prayed like I have never prayed before. I haven’t prayed more than I have ever prayed, I have prayed differently than I ever have.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
I have more motivation and confidence than ever to pray for my kids. I have a greater faith and expectation that God hears my prayers and will respond for the benefit of my children.
I share all this to encourage you to continue to pray for your children, knowing that as you pray God’s will for your child, He will answer your prayers. He – the maker of the universe! If you are at the end of your rope with your child, just remember, the Lord loves your baby more than you.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-8).
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:18, MSG).
God is working and moving on your behalf, my friends. Keep on praying in faith.