There is something quite endearing about watching a child sleep peacefully (and quietly) especially after a loud, perhaps chaotic, day. Often as I watch them breathe in and breathe out, I am drawn to consider their future, and what following Jesus might look like in their lives. These are some of the moments that move me most to pray.
While we might feel that our “doing” or teaching is most impacting, I am deeply convinced that one of the most powerful things we can do for our children is to pray for them. To pray big things. To pray specific things. To pray for their actions. To pray for their character. Most of all I pray that even at this young age they would experience the very real presence of God in their lives… not someday in the future, but today. That they would have a special awareness of who Jesus is.
Jesus left us an important example of this on the night he was arrested. What was it that he did immediately before he was arrested? He went to the garden and prayed (while his disciples slept… much like our sleeping children). Of all the things Christ could have done – taking in a few final moments of earthly pleasure, eating choice food, teaching his disciples one more thing – he spent time praying… and not just for himself and the pain he was about to endure, but John 17 shows us that he interceded for the disciples and for those of us who would follow him in the generations to come. If Christ, who is God, found it vital to pray at this crucial moment in his life for himself and his followers, then how much more important is it for us to pray now? And Jesus prayed knowing his prayers would have impact. May we pray for our children with the same certainty!
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Our Father delights to answer our prayers for our children and grandchildren! And he loves to answer our cries for grace and strength as we imperfectly parent them.
What are the moments in your life that move you to pray for your children? What do you pray most for them? Think of the areas of struggle in their lives. How might you faithfully and specifically pray for your children and that area of struggle?
Father, you are the perfect parent and we can be so far from it. Grant us your grace and mercy as we imperfectly parent these children you have placed in our care. Remind us of the great power we have to impact their lives as we bring them to you in prayer. Remind our hearts to pray for them often and open our eyes to see the work you are doing in them. Thank you that we are not in this alone, but we can run to you for help and strength, wisdom and courage, joy and hope as we encourage them in their daily living. Draw all of our children near you now, Father. Amen.
For more, check out the Family Life’s blog post – “How to Pray Big for Your Child.” It’s worth the read!