What do parents have in common?
Besides the obvious answer of children.
Don't most parents love their children with a love that is so fierce their lifetime desire is that their children are safe, healthy, happy and prosperous?
Parenthood (from the moment of inception) brings with it an endless tidal wave of worry and dreams.
It is such an extraordinarily difficult job that I believe most parents would agree, at one time or another, we wished for an instruction manual and for someone to tell us we were doing the right thing and our children would turn out OK.
Looking back on my daughter’s childhood, I can easily see all the mistakes that I made- starting with allowing my daughter to have Coke in her sippy-cup and cookies at any time of the day! I'm ashamed to say; sugar highs were normal in our household. However, now that she is a beautiful, successful woman with children of her own, I can also see all the things that my husband and I did right- the values we modeled and instilled, the hard lessons that were learned and the tough love and discipline that was suffered.
Now it is my daughter's turn to ride the parenting tidal wave, and as her parent I want her to make fewer mistakes and have more successes in her journey. I also want her to embrace that parenting isn't about being perfect- it's just about doing your best and learning from your mistakes.
I believe her best shot is to use one very powerful and exceptional parenting tool; a tool that can cover any situation, challenge, mistake, behavioral issue, and future need.
Sadly, this tool often gets left in the bottom of many parents' toolboxes- completely untouched, ignored and neglected. Many are even encased in glass with a warning label that reads- “break only in case of an emergency.”
The tool- you ask?
As a parent, prayer should be our FIRST line of defense- the very first tool we grab to do our job! It should be a daily practice that takes priority over all else- not a desperate plea as a last resort, when all other options have failed! It should be the first thing we consult when questions loom, concerns arise, or when things go wrong.
We should be praying for our children while they are in the womb and every single day of their life (or ours); praying for their futures, their path and purpose and praying for God's blessings over every area of their life!
“Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.” ~Lamentations 2:19
A very clear call to pray with fervent passion for our children!
Here are a few ways you can best utilize this formidable tool:
Pray God’s Word
Personalize scripture on behalf of your child. I love these examples from Prayer Closet Ministries:
Create in _______________ a pure heart, O God, and cause that purity to be shown in their words and actions (Psalm 51:10).
I plead that honesty and integrity would characterize ___________________'s life (Psalm 15, 25:21).
Lord, please empower _______________ to show proper respect to everyone as Your Word commands (1 Peter 2:17).
Father, I pray that _______________ will develop healthy self-esteem that is rooted in the righteousness of Jesus and the realization that he/she is God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10).
Make A List
Write out your concerns for each of your children. Start a prayer journal and specifically write down all your worries, hopes, dreams, etc. for your children. Nothing is too small or insignificant to write down and you may just be amazed to look back and see how God answered.
Make time to pray for your children, DAILY. Be deliberate and don't overlook praying God's word in your child's room when warranted. Author, Stormie Omartian in her book, The Power of a Praying Parent warned:
“Satan’s plan is to destroy (your children),and he will try to use any means possible to do so: drugs, sex, alcohol, rebellion, accidents, disease. But he won’t be able to successfully use any of those things if his power has been dissipated by prayer. The Bible says, “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man?” (Matthew 12:29). In other words, we can’t have any effect in the devil’s territory unless we first bind him and forbid him any authority there. Thus, we can also forbid him access to our children’s lives.”
Hence, when my daughter went through a turbulent time in her teenage years, I not only prayed for her, but I also played Scripture on loop in her bedroom- infusing God’s word over her and her possessions. God's very words brandish power.
Never underestimate the power of community prayer and never be afraid or ashamed to ask others to pray for your children! Asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak or a bad parent! The Bible tells us, “one can put a thousand to flight, and two can put ten thousand to flight” (Deuteronomy 32:30). Therefore, it doesn’t take a genius to see how powerful a group of parents can be when they join together to intercede on behalf of their children.
Friends, I’ve done all of the above in praying for my child and my grandchildren and have seen firsthand the power of prayer.
We don't have to struggle as parents. All we need to do is grab this mighty tool and realize that there is nothing in all of creation that is more powerful or effective than prayers cried out to an Almighty God - aren't your children worth a prayer today?
Father, you are the ultimate parent and can be trusted with our children. They are a gift from you and belong to you first and foremost. Help us to release our fears and worries and learn to place our trust in your everlasting power.
When we pray without ceasing and call upon the name of Jesus you hear us and are faithful to answer.
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you." ~John 15:16