In his book, “Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children,” author and pastor Mark Batterson writes, “Make sure the heavenly Father hears about your kids every day.” It was a line in the book that got to me. Surely I brought my kids before the Lord every day, right?
I was given the book by a dear friend of mine as a baby gift after one of my kids, I can’t remember which. It had sat on my shelf for a long time, collecting dust and adding color to my pile of unread books. I had started and stopped it once, but a couple of years ago, I picked it back up again, knowing that I needed something to spur on my praying life for my kids.
As I said in last week’s post, “Coffee and Jesus,” my prayer life for my kids had grown somewhat weak and dull. The desperate and passionate prayers that I had endlessly spoken while my children were growing within me, had taken a turn to shallow utterances about safety and protection. Don’t get me wrong, prayers for safety and protection are important, but I was only skimming the surface of what I needed to be offered on my children’s behalf to our heavenly Father every day. God began to show me that bringing my kids to Him in prayer daily shouldn’t be something that I do to just check it off the list, it should be one of my greatest pleasures and strongest convictions. They were the ones who I loved and held most dearly in my life, so why shouldn’t I offer them every single day to the One who loves them more than I ever could.
This week I will share four different areas that I am praying over my kids broadly. By that I mean these areas are not specific to just one of my kids but are pertinent to each of their lives. There are plenty more than four but I’m just going to highlight four.
Our prayers for our kids are dynamic, always changing and morphing based on their stage of life and what they are going through at the time. There are certain areas though that are true across time and circumstances while your kids are in your home-
1. Prayers for a personal relationship with Christ. While this may seem intuitive, its importance is of such great value that I cannot not talk about it! Jesus says that He is “the way, the truth and the life” and that “no one comes to the Father except through” Him. It is my heart, and hopefully the heart of every believing parent that their child not only accept Jesus as their Savior but also to live a life with Him as their Lord. So daily I pray that they will choose to give their life to Christ, to accept Him as their Savior and the only source of life and I pray with the long term in mind, with eyes toward the future. I don’t want them to just accept Him as a child, but to pursue a life surrendered to Him and engage in a relationship with Him as a child, as a teenager and as an adult. I don’t want their faith in God to only be there because of my faith, but I desire for their faith to be rich and deep and solid because of a daily and ongoing personal walk with Jesus.
While I can control if they go to church, if we say a prayer before a meal and whether or not I am going to talk about Jesus daily with them, I can’t control how they will receive all of that. I can’t control whether or not they will live their life in a way that honors the Lord. I can’t control what circumstances they walk through and whether or not they press into the Lord to get them through. What I can control though is how much I pray for them.
“Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children.” Lamentations 2:19
2. Prayers for Identity. Oh goodness, this is such an important one! Not only do I pray that my children will have a personal relationship with Christ, I pray that they would recognize and stand firm in their identity in Christ. Culture has a loud voice in the minds of our kids (and us!). The world wants them to believe that anything and everything is fine, desires of the flesh should be filled, happiness can be bought, and that a life of serving yourself is the best life. All of that is wrong! The best life possible is when we are in surrender to God and his will for our lives.
A verse I often pray for my kids is Colossians 4:12, “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” If I want to be known by my kids for anything, it is to be a prayer warrior for them. I want to be known for wrestling, or fighting strongly, in prayer for each of them daily. From this verse, I usually pray something like this – Lord, may Phillip and I fight strongly in prayer for our kids so that each will stand firm in your will, path, plan and adventure for them. I pray that each of them daily matures in their relationship with Christ becoming more like him and they spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically be fully assured that they are known by you, loved by you, adopted into your family, fully forgiven, righteous, and have eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
In my blog post, “My Name Is…” there is a mantra that we speak often with our kids so that they will be reminded of who they are in Christ. I encourage you to come up with one for your kids…and for you too!
3. Prayers for People. You know it’s true – your youth leader could say the same thing to you as your mom, but you hear it from your youth leader. At least that was true for me. It’s not that I disregarded what my parents said when I was a teenager, but I received their message a lot easier when I heard it from someone else.
My parents prayed often that people would come into our lives, outside of them, that would pour into us and point us towards Christ. When I think back on who has most influenced me spiritually, yes it has been my parents, but there have also been so many people along the way who came alongside of me, prayed for me, gave me biblical advice, encouraged me and challenged my spiritual walk. Youth leaders, friend’s parents, teachers, and mentors all have played a part in leading me further in my walk with Jesus. I am forever grateful to each of them. I want the same thing for my kids and I pray often that people, outside of Phillip and I, will come into the lives of our children and lead them in the ways of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 3:10 says, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” While this verse might not entirely fit here, I use this verse to pray for my children – Lord, may Phillip and I lay the foundation of Jesus in our home. Bring other godly men and women into their lives to build upon it.
4. Prayers for Future Spouse. The last prayer I pray broadly for my children is for their future spouse and that person’s parents. I don’t want just a wife or husband for my kids, I want them to have a lifelong spiritual partner. I pray that the parents of this future spouse would be raising their child to love Jesus and glorify Him with all that they are. I pray that those parents would be training their child in the ways of the Lord and teaching them the same values that our family holds. I pray that whoever they marry would be a lover of Jesus, that they would be full of integrity, kindness and strength and that they would spur on my child in their relationship with the Lord.
Besides my salvation, my marriage to Phillip is the best and most kind gift God has given me. The biggest reason our marriage has been such a delight is our mutual love of Christ. I pray the same gift would be given to my children by God.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
I hope these four areas of prayer will spur on your prayer life for your kids. Maybe you already are a prayer warrior for your children, keep it up! Maybe you are just starting, it’s never too late to start. Maybe you don’t have kids yet, pray for your future kids! Maybe your kids are grown, they still need your prayers. Just pray!
God, thank you for loving our children and hearing our prayers for them.