In last week’s lesson on parenting, we learned that the first, most-vital step you must take in order to influence the children in your life for the Lord is for you, yourself, to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But once that is taken care of, then what do you do?
I would like to propose that the next most important thing is to commit yourself to praying for them!
The Bible repeatedly teaches that prayer is our avenue to receiving what we need from God. We are told over and over again to ASK for what we need: “ASK and it will be given to you” (Matt 7:7 NIV). More specifically, we are also told to pray CONSTANTLY for one another: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:19); and: “With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:18).
The point is, God is the only one who can change things in the lives of our kids, and the way to tap into His power is by asking Him in prayer!
I was just coming to know the Lord when my youngest son turned 3, and he was what might be best described in polite terms as a “problem” child. There had been lots of changes in our lives that year and we were all feeling the stress of it. When it came time for his birthday however, I worked hard to plan a special day. My husband and I had spent a lot of thought and money on gifts; I had made a beautiful cake; my niece had decorated the house; and we had invited all of the “special” people. Imagine my horror when the birthday party began with a temper tantrum, and things only went downhill from there!
I shouldn’t have been surprised, as this was very typical behavior for my 3 year-old. But I just couldn’t take it. To this day I swear that if God hadn’t intervened, my son might have never made it to the age of 4!
But God did intervene, and He didn’t wait. He told me that very night exactly what I needed to do for my wilful child. He said I needed to pray. Fervently! And not to just to pray for him, but to pray OVER him. And so I began doing just that. I put my hands on his head and I prayed for God’s Spirit to flow through him. And I didn’t stop with once. In fact, 10 years later, this is still a vital part of our morning routine.
Did it make a difference?
Friends, there was a noticeable “one day to the next” change in my son, and his behavior has continued to improve throughout the years. This same child will soon be 13 years old, and you will never meet a sweeter young man.
Of course, those were “little kid” problems. Now I have “teenage” problems on my hands. But the solution doesn’t change. I continue to pray! Fervently!
Over the years I have seen faith develop, I have seen good friends appear and bad ones disappear. I have seen difficulties with ADD dealt with. I have seen handwriting and study skills improve. I have seen attitude and responsibility improve. I have seen lying and laziness disappear. I have seen a desire to be physically active appear. I have seen intemperate behavior go away. I’ve seen respect develop. And the list could go on, but what I’m trying to say here is that in each of these situations, my miracles began to happen when I turned the problems over to God in prayer!
And how has God responded to my prayers?
Sometimes He works little miracles and the problems have just “disappeared”. Sometimes He sends my boys messages through friends, sermons, devotionals, or His Word, and this makes them want to change their behavior. And sometimes He literally tells me what I need to (or not to!) do to help remedy the situation. The point is that prayer has always been the pivoting point! When I begin to pray for my boys, good things happen!
Friends, remember that you may be the only one praying over that child, and the miracle that he or she needs may depend totally upon your prayers! So whatever you do, pray for those kids! Pray for their current problems. Pray for their weaknesses. Pray for their friends. Pray for their futures. Pray for their safety. Pray for their dreams, and that they will be able to sleep at night. Pray for their spiritual growth and well-being. Whatever the problem, just pray!
(To access the entire “Bringing up Kids God’s Way” devotional series, please click here.)