Before Christmas, a group of women were gathered together in my home. I asked each person to share one thing that they felt they were good at when in comes to mothering and one thing that they would like to see growth in. When the circle ended with me, I glanced down, slighty in shame, and admitted that one of my weakest areas is in praying for my kids.
You would think that a women who loves her kids and loves her Lord and believes that any good that will come their way is a direct gift from God would excel in this area. But sadly, that just isn't the case. “Prayer Warrior” is not a title I hold. Not even close.
In loving grace, a friend offered to lend me a book on praying for my children. I coupled those words with a new sense of passion for prayer, and little seeds started to sprout. I worked hard to remove my barriers to prayer and then to find a sure footing for beginning a new discipline. I am far from where I want to be, but I am also far from where I was.
If I try to raise these little ones in the strength of my own power, wisdom, or energy, I will fail miserably. I can't do it, and that is exactly why I need to pray that God would do it through me and in spite of me. Prayer delights God (Proverbs 15:8). It is an outward confession that we are dependent on God. And if I want to raise these children to love God and serve others, I must depend on the One Who can make that happen!
In the back of my notebook that I keep with my Bible, I started writing down things that I wanted to pray for my children. These weren't specific to the moment requests, like getting well or helping them learn a new skill, but rather, the over-arching desires I have for their life. As I would read something in my morning Bible time, I would jot it down in my notebook. As time has gone on, I have added to and refined the list. The list is always readily available and it directs my prayers.
In another part of my notebook, I also record daily prayers for my kids. These are little things that come to mind like helping with an area they struggle with in school, giving them wisdom in a decision they need to make, or in praying for good friends for them. Although it obviously doesn't have to be done this way, I find that writing my prayers down helps me focus my thoughts and to remember what it is that I want to pray about! After five kids, my memory isn't what it used to be!
Here is what my (still evolving!) list looks like:
- I pray that my children would truly know the Lord, in a personal and dynamic relationship, not just merely knowing about Him.
- I pray that my children would grow to love the Word of God, to love the promises and commands and that they would be transformed by them (Romans 12:2). I pray that they would come to understand how true it is that man cannot live on bread alone (Matthew 4:4).
- I pray that my children would have an increasing desire to love and serve others. I pray that they would come to see that self is not the most important but that right after loving God comes loving our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31).
- I pray that I would have the insight and discernment to see the gifts that God has given my children and the wisdom to know how to encourage them in growing and refining these talents. I pray that my children would feel capable and free to use the gifts and passions that God has given them in serving others (1 Peter 4:10-11).
- I pray that my children will always feel loved and delighted in so that they are strong enough to pour their lives into serving others.
- I pray that my children will be kept from the love of money and things and instead would be passionate about pursuing God, His wisdom, and eternal treasures (1 Timothy 6:6-12, 1 John 2:17, Matthew 6:20).
- I pray that my children would have undivided hearts (Ezekiel 11:19, 1 Chronicles 28:9)
- I pray that my children would grasp the bigness and beauty of ALL of God's creation and to see the value, worth, and rights of all people (Psalm 8, Revelation 5:9, Romans 10:12).
- I pray that my children would be fully equipped to reach their personal fullest potential. I pray that we would have the wisdom to know what kinds of experiences (physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual) will work to this end (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1:1-23, 2 Timothy 1:6-7.)
- I pray that my children's lights would shine before men in such a way that people would see their good works ans glorify GOD who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)
- I pray that wisdom will be theirs in increasing measure, as wisdom will affect each and every decision they make—from friends, to career, to time management, and to value of temporal vs. eternal things (Proverbs 2 – 4)
- I pray that they would learn that true joy comes from being in the presence of God and in true gratefulness (Psalm 16:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
- I pray that these same prayers would be heard on behalf of the spouses that will be a part of my children's futures (Proverbs 18:22).