Researcher, George Barna, conducted interviews with 10,000 men and women in their early twenties whose lives were transformed by faith. These young adults not only attended church, but they were maturing spiritually outside of the church as well, serving others, taking steps faith. Barna then interviewed their parents to complete the picture of how these young men and women were raised during their formative years. In his resulting book, Revolutionary Parenting, he reveals that the majority of these parents prayed daily for each one of their children.
Prayer is a key component of raising healthy, godly children.
I believe that there are several reasons for this.
1. Prayer is effective.
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
Have you ever gone through a season of intense training of your children and thought, this just isn’t working? We can employ all of the human training we would like, but the only one who can impart lasting change is the Holy Spirit of God, and we must plead for him to work on behalf of our kids. Our children’s continued salvation is where there will be ongoing transformation (not just a one time act, but a continuing process), and we must put forth our energies in praying for this. Our training won’t be as effective for life change unless we couple it with prayer, because the Holy Spirit is the only one that can get to the heart. Prayer can do things that we cannot, because it calls upon an all powerful God. It can go places that you cannot reach. Even (and especially) as our children get older, we will have less and less control over the circumstances of their life, but when we pray we are in communion with the One who does have control. Isn’t it comforting to know that there is one that is much more wise and capable at work on behalf of our children? If we are praying, we don’t have to worry about not doing enough because the Lord is partnering with us, and can cover our parenting with grace.
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me.” John 15:5
2. Prayer brings peace.
A stressed out parent is not an effective parent. Anything done out of heightened emotion is on shaky ground, and clear decisions cannot be made. Worry, anxiety, and confusion are never more intense than during some of our parenting moments, and this is not from the Lord. Instead, we want to be parents that are clothed with strength and dignity as we lead our children.
“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” Philippians 4:6-8.
Starting out our day in prayer sets a tone of peace and calmness for the rest of the hours. Praying continually keeps that peace pervading everything we do.
3. Prayer gives wisdom.
So often as parents, we don’t know what to do, we feel confused, overwhelmed. We want to make good decisions on behalf of our children, but we aren’t quite sure what those are. Our first go-to should be the Lord. Go to the throne before you go to the phone, or email, or friend’s house. Ask him for wisdom, and then seek out the answer in his word.
“If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking.” James 1:5
And, when you ask, can I encourage you to be quiet and listen for his instructions? He can reveal much about what is going on in the heart and mind of our children if we simply quiet ourselves before him.
“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5
4. Prayer gives perspective.
Each time we go to the Lord in prayer for our children, we are reminded of the fact that our children are only on loan to us from God. It is his will that we desire for their lives, not our own. It is the eternal things, not the temporal things that matter. This coming to him in prayer realigns priorities and expresses dependency upon God. Seeking him first settles the big things of the day, and all the others will fall into their rightful place.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
5. We are commanded to pray.
God is very clear about the fact that he wants us to pray for one another, and our children should be at the top of the list.
“Devote yourselves to prayer.” Colossians 4:2
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.” 1 Samuel 12:23
I don’t know what stage you are at in parenting, or what things you are facing today. But, I do know that we can approach a sovereign and all-powerful God to work on behalf of our families if we choose to submit to him in prayer. May your prayer life grow in depth, in breadth, in fervency, and in love as you serve your children in this powerful and unseen way.
A mama on her knees,
Here is a helpful prayer calendar to get you started: 31 Days of Prayer for Your Child
Here is the link to a recent talk I shared with a group of moms on this same subject (I begin speaking halfway through, but the whole thing is helpful): Grace Moments, The Power of Words