Like every loving parent, I want the very best for my child. From schooling to clothing to life experiences—nothing but the best! But as life’s personal ups and downs have a way of teaching us, I have realized that my plans don’t always match God’s plans. This truth applies to our children’s lives in equal measure.
Despite how much we love our children and daydream of the bright future ahead of them, God’s plan for their lives exceeds our vision. That’s why it is crucial to pray that we can help them grow into the people the Lord has made them to be and that they can easily see and follow His will for their lives.
Jesus prayed regularly and modeled the significance of prayer to us in the Bible. As Christians, we know that God’s word calls us to pray. He has commanded us to do so, and if we are obedient to him, then we must pray actively. And yet all too often we turn to prayer as a reaction, in time of need or unrest, instead of beginning with prayer first.
Prayer is important for several reasons. It builds our personal relationship with Jesus Christ and everything else flows from that union and intimacy. Having quiet time with Him and praying earnestly helps build a genuine connection. Our relationship to the Lord not only helps us but also assists those for whom we are praying. As such, regular prayer is one of the single most important things we can do for our children.
I have set aside a daily time to talk to God about my daughter, Scarlett, and specific concerns that I have about raising her. I begin by praying Colossians 1:9-14. My hope is that she might walk in a manner that is worthy of Christ’s name in her conversation, character and conduct through life’s trials. I also pray that she will clearly see God’s direction for her life. I acknowledge that God has bigger plans for her, and I should not be a roadblock for what He intends. In other words, I return to the truth that my daughter is put here for God’s purpose, not mine.
Praying for my daughter also helps keep me focused on my child-rearing goals. It has shaped me as a parent and challenged me in unexpected ways. For example, if I pray that she will be more patient, the Holy Spirit is really convicting when I am not patient with her. How can I pray that she practices patience when I am not modeling it for her?
When I pray for Scarlett, it also keeps my eyes on the big picture and not just the day-to-day. I see that my role in her life goes beyond getting her to Karate practice on time. I see her as the precious gift that she is. I thank God for her healthy body and praise Him for her sweet personality. It fills me with gratitude. When we are thankful, we are better people and better parents. So in short, praying for our children makes us into more gracious parents: gracious with the choices we make for them and more gracious to God for them.