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 is part two of a five part series. You can read part one here.
WHAT DO YOU PRAY?
WE PRAY SCRIPTURE
I love to pray scripture over my kids more than anything else.
Why? Because God’s word says it does not return void. God’s word is powerful. More powerful than ours. I want my kids to hear it and fall in love with it and know that we find value in it. Of all the things we say and do for and with our children, only one thing is promised to not return void, God’s word.
Here are some of my favorites. I like to use verses that we’ve memorized together so that my children will recognize them as scripture when they hear me pray.
Psalm 139 is one of my favorites because it speaks to their worth. It’s a beautiful picture of how God sees us, knows us, created us, and cares for us. “Oh Lord, you have searched us and you know us. You know when we sit and when we rise. You see our thoughts from afar.” It tells us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” That he “knit us together in our mother’s womb.”
I like to pray this when my kids have had a bad day that makes them question their worth. There’s a desire as a mom to want to fix things by building them up with my own words. But I don’t want to miss the opportunity to remind them that their worth doesn’t come from teachers, friends, family, or even me. Their worth comes from God, and He calls them wonderful.
I pray for salvation for them on my own and in front of them. I often pray John 3:16 because they have heard this verse many times.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” I like to put in their names and say something like, “God we know that you love Walker so much that you gave your only son. We pray Walker comes to believe in you because you promise eternal life when we accept you as our Savior.”
I pray they will have a love for God’s word and see the importance of it in their lives, so I will pray 1 Peter 1: 24-25 “The grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Sometimes I wonder if my kids are actually picking up on any of the things I pray over them. This summer, our grass was getting out of control. We try to keep up with it, but when things get busy we let the back yard go a little too long. I always tell Cody it’s time to do something about it when our dog Rosie has decided she’d rather poop on the cement patio than travel out into the grass. Cody was feeling bad for not getting it done sooner and Walker responds, “It’s okay dad. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” It may be the only glimpse I see this year of knowing that what we are saying is actually soaking in, and I’ll take it!
I pray for their future using Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”
And because I’m the mom and a tad selfish at times I pray they will honor their parents. Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” This may or may not be the first verse we memorize in our house.
Sometimes I pray scripture with them and sometimes I pray it silently for them. Sometimes its word for word and sometimes it’s paraphrasing.
But I do know that God wants to answer our desires when it follows his desires.
1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
WE PRAY IN LINE WITH SCRIPTURE
When I pray, I ask myself, “Am I praying for my wishes or God’s plan?”
What better way to know we are praying God’s plan for and over our children than by praying scripture. I don’t have to ask myself if it is in line with God’s character. It always is. But we also experience specific desires, concerns, and promptings to pray other things.
In the wilderness, Jesus is tested by the devil. He uses scripture to battle the enemy.
Luke 4:4 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”
Luke 4:8 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
Luke 4:12, “Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
In the garden he doesn’t pray scripture. He prays honestly, yet completely in line with God’s plan.
Matthew 26:39 “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Following are examples of how I try to pray specifically for my children, but also in line with scripture.
For Judah, I pray his identity will be found in Christ. He is adopted, and I want that to only be a part of his story, but not where he finds his identity. I pray he will have a better understanding of the adoption we all have in Christ. I thank God for his birth family and pray his birth family will come to know Christ. I pray he will be full of compassion and have a tender heart for anyone who may have had a hard beginning to their story. I pray his testimony will be used to lead others to Christ.
For Walker, I pray that he will find boldness for Christ while still maintaining his gentle personality. I pray that God will use his emotions for His good. I pray I would raise him just the way he is made to bring glory to God’s kingdom. Walker is my physical touch child, so I pray over his purity. I pray that though he finds great love and comfort in physical touch, that he would remain pure for his future bride. I think that is hard for all of us, but because of his love of touch, I know it could be harder for him.
Charlotte made a decision early in life to accept Christ. For her, I pray she would continue through a process of sanctification. I pray that her faith would grow deeply. She is my oldest and a rule follower. I pray she would understand much earlier in life than I did that being a Christian is not about following rules, but also long to live a life that is holy. I pray she will be a good friend.
What do I pray?
I like to pray scripture. If not praying scripture, I have to ask if what I’m praying lines up with His character, His desire and His purpose. This is a daily reminder to hand my children over to my Savior. To give up my wants and my desires for their lives and pray for God’s plans and God’s desires. Not only does this change the way I pray, but even more importantly, it realigns my heart to His heart until His plans become my plans.
He’s a much better parent than I am anyway.
You can read part three of the series here.