I was recently invited to speak at a women’s ministry event over praying for our children. I began my preparation thinking that I would have something to offer the listeners. However, by the end, I felt much more confident that God used my preparation to change me. My hope is that what I shared with them can be an encouragement to someone else as well. Here’s part one of a five part series.
I feel like if we are going to be hanging out over the next little bit that I should just start with a confession.
A few weeks ago, I began working on what I was going to share covering the topic of praying for our children. My husband was out of the house. The kids were all finally in bed. I was sitting at the kitchen counter, laptop open, and thoughts firing. It just so happened it was also one of those evenings when Walker NEEDED me to lay in bed with him “just one more minute.” I stepped away from the start of some fabulous notes to answer his 23rd request for the night. I gave in because I’m weak like that and crawled on the bottom bunk with my four-year-old son. As he was trying to fall asleep, I was going through all these beautiful prayers and ideas in my head. About how well I want to love my children. About all the things I pray over them. And just so you know, in my mind this all looks just lovely, and I’m pretty darn proud of myself. But I’m continuously interrupted by the voice of my son who was supposed to be asleep a good hour ago. Finally, I became so frustrated that I rolled over and said in my best Batman voice, “GO TO SLEEP NOW OR I’M NEVER LAYING BY YOU AGAIN!”
Anyone else been there? I mean I’m literally thinking of all the good I want to share with others about raising our children to love God and how we ought to pray with them and for them. This goes to show that even in my best intentions, I come up short.
Honestly, that thought used to make me sad. But the more I learn of our dependency on God, the more okay I am with all my shortcomings. Besides, I’m my son’s favorite person alive so he’s pretty quick to forgive.
If you don’t know me, just know that I’m a mess, but I try hard to place my dependency on the Lord. And with that being said, I know my own words are just words, so I really want to focus the who, what, when, where, and why we pray on scripture.
Isaiah 55:11 tells us God’s word does not return void. With that being said, let’s get started.
WHO ARE WE PRAYING FOR?
I know it sounds pretty self-explanatory. We are talking about praying for our children, grandchildren, and possibly the future children in our lives. But I think it’s important to remember who we are raising.
Many would agree that we are raising our children with the goal of leading them to Christ. If our goal is to raise children who believe and follow Jesus, then our prayers need to reflect that.
Do you know how the Bible describes Christians?
1 Peter 2 says it like this, “11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles (some versions use the word aliens or strangers) to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
See there. The Bible says we are raising aliens. I realized this the first time I saw my son dipping a cheese stick into grape jelly for a snack. But even more so than our children’s strange habits, the Bible tells us this too.
Philippians 3:20 says, “20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…”
1 John 2:17 says “17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
Why is this important? Why talk about our kids as strangers on this earth? Because we are praying with the end in mind. We are praying towards eternity. We are not praying to raise good children, moral children, children who succeed here. Our goal should not be for our children to get into our favorite college, make good grades, or score winning goals. We aren’t raising children for purposes of achieving an American dream.
We are raising children who we desire to know and love God and live for him. We are raising children who are meant for heaven. We need to keep that in mind as we pray, otherwise we can completely miss it with our prayers altogether. Our children need to identify where their homeland is, and that is not this side of heaven.
So as silly as it sounds, I try to remind myself of the who.
I pray that my children will look like strangers in this world because they desire to live for Jesus, and Jesus alone. When we start with the finish in mind (heaven), we will be so much more intentional with our prayers and in turn, how we raise our children. We have possibly the biggest impact on whether they choose to treasure God, or treasure the world.
Start with finish in mind.
You can read part two here.