6:00 a.m., October 27, 2010. That was the moment I breathed the very first prayer for my child. I prayed for my future child many times before, but not really for her, the very four-week-old who then occupied space in my womb.
I sat in a business meeting with my mind on anything but business. I stared down at my tummy, wishing I could see inside to the tiny heart that had begun to beat just days earlier. My heart went boldly before the throne of grace: “Oh, Jesus, with your grace empowering me, my life’s aim, from now until my last breath, will be to point this child to you. May my failures demonstrate the need for a Savior, my victories display the triumphant Overcomer, my tears present the love of a Comforter, and my laughter parade the joy of the Lord.”
E.M. Bounds says, “God shapes the world by prayer,” and nearly two and a half years later, my heart still breathes the same prayer…and many more! Bringing a soul into the world will cause prompt and complete obedience to Paul’s admonition to pray without ceasing, because prayer is present where a parent isn’t.
I read a story of a mother whose young daughter was experiencing extraordinary hardship that would test even the strongest adult. She prayed earnestly for the Lord to help her little girl survive the day. As she sat pleading with God, she heard the still, small voice: “Is that really all you want from me?” Recognizing that God wanted to do mighty things through her prayers, she cried out, “No, that’s not all I want!” She then unleashed her innermost desires, petitioning for her daughter to prevail, not just survive, so that everyone who knew her would know God’s hand was on her. She went on, praying big, bold, aggressive prayers, knowing she was asking the only One who could accomplish all that she asked.
As busy parents with children who grow faster than the laundry pile, we don’t have time to waste on aimless prayers mumbled without purpose or passion. We must cover the fruit of our wombs in what Will Davis Jr. describes as Big, Hairy, Audacious Prayers in his book Pray Big for Your Child. “When a Christian talks to God,” he writes, “all the power of heaven is at play, and cultures, nations, and history lay in the balance…great prayers don’t originate in the heart of the parent; they originate in the heart of God.”
Pray for your children to come to an early love of Jesus, His Word, and His ways. Pray for them to have a tender heart toward His correction, and that they would quickly repent of and turn from sin. Pray that they tune their ears to know the voice of the Shepherd. Pray that they will obey you and God with cheerfulness, and experience the joy of the Lord as their strength. Pray for them to be wise and harmless, truthful and loving, bold and humble, and strong and gentle. Pray for them to cleave to the Spirit, and rely on His empowering grace that is sufficient for all things. Pray that they will fear nothing but sin, desire nothing but God, shake the gates of hell, and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. Pray that their future marriages will be extraordinary, fun, pure, passionate, and Christ honoring. And pray – hard – for their parents.
As parents, we are a compass, a tool that will empower our little ones to navigate their lives, and we must always be pointing toward the bright and Morning Star. We only have their young years to direct them, and then we let them go. Will Davis Jr. says it this way: “Parenting is the only God-designed relationship where the goal is separation…Our greatest parenting moment comes when our kids walk out into the world, fully equipped to function as God-honoring, independent young adults.”
When we seek God for the ability to train up our children in the way they should go, we are promised that we will be continually guided in our quest (Isaiah 58:11). And when we begin to petition boldly and courageously for our children, the One who lives to intercede for us leads us to even bolder and more courageous requests (Heb 7:25). Ephesians 3:20 assures us that He is able to do more than we ask or imagine, so let’s start raising our kids one prayer at a time!
Unwrapping the Gifts 2/21/13
846. The privilege of loving my child through prayer
827. Cherry chip cookies
830. The tap-tap-tap of keyboards as I create a symphony of words in unison with my new work partner
847. Taking part in shaping the future generation of God Chasers
816. Lying cradled safe in my husband’s arms
844. Lunch with a friend
820. Feeling the load lighten
848. The fervent prayer of the righteous avails much
Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?