Many years ago, when I was just a young girl, I became aware of the fact that I had some grandparents praying for me. I also learned that my parents were praying faithfully for me. I know that their prayers affected the course of my life and the life of my brother (and cousins). I can see now how God worked despite some less than perfect circumstances.
And so when our children were born I realized the importance of prayer because of this godly heritage with which I had been so incredibly blessed.
When we met our oldest daughter for the very first time, we felt so overwhelmed and even a little scared. We knew the instant we held that first baby in our arms that we had been blessed with an awesome responsibility.
The heaviness of this settled in through the next few weeks, as we took our newborn home and got settled in. This wasn’t just a baby. This was a new life with the potential to do great good or great evil in this world. It was a life with the potential to bless others or to cause great pain. And this new little life was born a sinner (Romans 3:23) and in great need of a Savior (John 3:16).
Along with recognizing the seriousness of this responsibility, came the awareness that who she married also had the great potential to make or break her life.
I wondered how in the world we would be able to bear these great responsibilities, especially the ones that were outside our control– such as who she would marry.
And so, early on, I started praying for her and for her future husband. I had no idea who he was, but I was praying for him. As the other kids came along, I did the same. So I can confidently tell the young men and woman that my children are marrying that I have prayed for them for most of their lives!
Through the years, as I would pray for my children, I would find it easy to get distracted by the problems and trials that loomed in front of me at that moment and I would find myself praying directly about these situations. And there wasn’t anything wrong with that.
But somewhere along the line, I learned that I needed to be praying for their spiritual health most of all. If they weren’t right with God, then their career and who they marry wouldn’t be chosen well. This means that how they would raise the future generation would be in jeopardy.
And so I latched on to Mark 12:30 and have been praying that for my kids for a very long time.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
I’ve asked the Lord to help my kids to do this.
I’ve prayed through this verse for them when I would fall into bed exhausted after watching four young children.
I’ve prayed through this verse for them when they were teenagers and their spiritual future looked very, very bleak.
And I continue to pray this verse as I watch them start their own lives and make choices completely independent of their parents.
A few years ago, I was talking to my brother (Pastor Dean) about this subject of praying for our children and he mentioned that he also regularly prays that his daughter will love righteousness and hate evil. As he spoke, I realized the wisdom in such a prayer. The Psalms talks about this subject over and over again. If you are reading the Bible Challenge with me, you will have just read through many of these with me. And so I started praying this for my kids, as well.
Another prayer that I try to pray on a regular basis is that my kids would love God’s Word. The keys to a healthy spiritual life are held within its pages. There is no possible way to be a godly man or woman without reading and studying the Word.
And, finally, I pray very regularly for my future grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I pray that they would be bolder and stronger Christians than me. That our family would grow deeper spiritual roots, instead of being one of those families that gradually falls away from God.
My kids are not perfect and we’ve had our struggles and continue to do so. In fact, we will sometimes talk about how we wouldn’t want to be judged for our parenting skills on how our kids behaved as teenagers. How they were in school was not always the best example and they did not always make the best choices. Adolescence can be a very difficult time. But I just kept on praying through it, sometimes with many tears.
The spiritual battles continue and I continue to pray. Satan wants the hearts of our kids. If he can distract us by the temporal and keep us focused only on the present trials in our praying, he will have won half the battle.
God is faithful. He has answered so many of my prayers for my kids. There were times that I doubted and feared that we had lost a couple of them. But God heard our prayers and saved them. I get choked up thinking about his great mercy and kindness to us through those difficult times even now.
Our prayers will never make our kids perfect and they will still struggle and make bad choices and still have so far to go. But then I guess so do you and I.
This reminds me of something I once heard John MacArthur say: It is about direction, not perfection.
If our kids are headed in the right direction, we have much for which to be thankful.
So let’s keep praying for our kids. God is faithful. He knows them better than we do. And He loves them even more than we do!