Praying for Our Children and Grandchildren (guest post)

Connie Wohlford is one of those people with whom I connected the moment we met. She has the heart of a grandmother, and I mean that as a great compliment. I’ve watched her encourage her social media followers to pray for over a year now, so I’m happy she agreed to be my guest on Intentional Parenting! Learn more about Connie and connect with her at the end of this post.

Every day my parents prayed for me. Do you have any idea how comforting that is? If you have or had parents like that, then you know.

I didn’t realize this until I was grown, but when I did I was flooded with gratitude. That awareness triggered feelings of love to well up in my heart—love for them and receiving of love from them. Only God knows the bad things I escaped because of their prayer covering.

Have you prayed for your children (and grandchildren) today?

Six reasons to pray daily for the children in our lives

  1. It’s our responsibility.

Most likely no one else on the planet will be praying for our child daily. If you’re a grandparent or concerned adult, although you don’t have the responsibilities of parenting, you can still pray for the children you love.

  1. Jesus set the example for us.

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.Matthew 19:13

We have no greater example in all matters.

  1. We are setting an example for our children.

Our children need to know that prayer is important to us and that we pray for them daily. Our own example is our chief teaching tool as we instruct children in spiritual matters.

  1. We want our children to understand their need for salvation and that Jesus is the only way.

Even young children can comprehend this at a level that makes sense to them. The Holy Spirit knows how to work in each young spirit.

Growing up in an evangelical church, I knew at a young age I needed salvation found only in Jesus. At age nine, I’d been pondering this for months. I remember mentally listing my sins. Then one Sunday I decided it was time. I walked forward and gave my hand to Pastor Rushing and my heart to Jesus.

  1. There’s a war going on, and the lives and souls of our children are the spoils.

In the spiritual realm, warfare is taking place between God’s angels and Satan’s demons. Rest assured, Satan is real and wants our children. We can pray with confidence, knowing our Heavenly Father wants our children too.

  1. Pray for wisdom in parenting.

The role as parent is our most important job. Doing it well pays great dividends. We’d be hard-pressed to be great parents without divine wisdom and intervention. Consistency is key and that takes effort. Help from above is necessary.

Regarding His statutes, God spoke through Moses:

You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.Deut. 11:19-21 NKJV

Parenting is a daily responsibility that requires daily invoking the help and power from our Creator. God loves our kids and wants the best for our them. Only with God’s help can we do our very best to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6 NKJV).

Now we know why to pray. Here’s the what to pray.

Seven important things to pray for our children

  1. Pray that, at a young age, they will realize their need to have a relationship with Jesus and will believe in and receive Him as Savior and Lord. If your children are already older, it’s not too late. Still pray they will accept this Great Salvation (Hebrews 2:3-4).
  2. Pray they will develop a keen sense of right and wrong, based on biblical principles and a Christian worldview.
  3. Pray they will love God’s Word and yearn for its daily encouragement and instruction.
  4. Pray they will hunger and thirst for righteousness which will be reflected in their behavior and thought lives.
  5. Pray they will develop a strong prayer life that leads them into intimate fellowship with their Creator.
  6. Pray they will be tuned in to the Holy Spirit’s voice leading them day by day. This will help them avoid such things as being unequally yoked in relationships, especially marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14).
  7. Pray God’s Word over your children. As you read your Bible, when you come across a passage you desire for your kids, pray those words over them. Even speak it out loud. When I do this, I sometimes write the name of a certain child or grandchild next to the verse.

So. We need to pray! We need to pray big time—every day—for our children and for ourselves as parents, grandparents, and mentors.

IP-Connie Wohlford imageI’ve seen the results of allowing children to figure out spiritual matters for themselves, and it’s often not a pretty sight. It’s true that sometimes they find their way to God without parental involvement. Nonetheless, from what I’ve observed, the results of much sewing to the wind has reaped the whirlwind indeed (Hosea 8:7a). What does the whirlwind look like? Addiction, sexual promiscuity and confusion, prison, mental and emotional insecurities, animosity toward God and parents, spiritual confusion, and all manner of chaos.

So, let’s pray. Let’s pray every day for our children and grandchildren. Their eternal destiny may depend on it.

What is your greatest prayer for the children in your life? Tell God, right now. Release it to Him and take heart in knowing He hears. Thank Him and worship Him because He loves, He knows, He cares, and He can work in ways that astound us.

6 reasons to pray for our children and 7 things to pray for them. #IntentionalParenting means we #prayforkids, via @Carole_Sparks and @Wohlford_Connie. (click to tweet)

What is your greatest prayer for your children? Please share it in the comments below because someone else (namely me!) may not have thought to pray about that. Any other thoughts you’d like to share about prayer? That’s what the comment section is for. Connie and I both look forward to hearing from you!

IP-Connie Wohlford head shotConnie Wohlford, has been a Bible teacher and ministry leader in her church for many years. Having a BS degree in education, she formerly taught in public school. She has taken numerous biblical studies classes and has written several Bible studies.

Connie has published five children’s books, a devotional, and is a contributing author for the Bible study, Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character. Also, she has had several articles published, edits for ministry publications and enjoys speaking for civic and church groups.

Passionate for God and His Word, she desires to see individuals come to know Jesus and deepen their intimacy with God. As well, she adores her family, (which includes eight teen grandchildren), and enjoys travel, cooking, and reading.

Connect with Connie: FacebookTwitterConnie’s BlogInstagram.

Connie posts a scripture-based prayer for children on her Facebook page every day. Each one is a good springboard for an appeal to God on behalf of the children in our lives. You can see the prayers at this link.

Want more on praying for our children? 

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I Am Not Enough (guest post)

Friends, you will be blessed by this honest, Spirit-filled post from my
virtual friend, Heather Bock. Receive these words from her heart, then
connect with her through the links at the end. And as always, we'd love to
hear what you think in the comments!

As a mother, I am broken. I am not enough.

Since the moment I knew life was growing inside me, I wanted so much to be enough. In fact, I wanted very much to be as close to a perfect mother as possible. I ate all the right foods, took the right vitamins, and slept the recommended way. When my baby was born, I read all the books, swaddled him carefully, and started him on solids, thinking carefully about which food to introduce first and watching for allergies each time. Continue reading “I Am Not Enough (guest post)”

Praying Peace Over Our Children

Well, we made it through Halloween, and now “the holiday season” begins in earnest. This is the time of year I simultaneously anticipate and dread, both personally and as a parent. Intentional Parenting through the holidays brings a special set of challenges that include travel, overindulgence (of food and gifts), missed bedtimes, and, as always, The Santa Question. For our family, the concerns have moved past Grandma’s uncovered electrical outlets and into issues of greed (“She got more presents than me!”) and getting along with extended family members (“My cousin hit me!”).

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Praying Peace Over Our Children (c) Carole Sparks

Speaking of cousins, excitement and anxiety are clearly first cousins, and easily confused by those who don’t know them well. This year, I want to keep the excitement in check and the anxiety at bay by using Scripture to pray peace over my children. Even more current, our national elections are a week away (!), and there’s tension throughout the country. If your children are feeling it, use these prayers right away to remind them of Who is in control.

We can be confident that our prayers align with God’s Will when we repeat His Word back to Him…and there’s something about saying Scripture out loud that increases its impact for everyone who hears it. So pray for your children in front of them. Lay hands on them if you’re comfortable with that. Substitute your child’s name for “my child,” if you want. Join me in blessing and encouraging our children through these verses!

Read Philippians 4:4-7, then pray verse 7.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Dear God, I pray that your peace, which we will never completely understand, will guard the heart and mind of my child through the presence of Jesus, our Lord.

I love the active, protective image of peace here—that it shields our emotions and thoughts. Anxiety eats away at our emotional condition, but God’s peace keeps us whole…and wholly His.

Read John 14:26-27, then pray verse 27.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Lord Jesus, we understand that your peace remains with my child, that you have given it to him. Thank you that this gift of peace isn’t given in the way the world gives. Help him guard his heart against trouble and his mind against fear.

What’s notable here is the intentionality of Jesus’ gift. He knew we would feel anxious and afraid, and He doesn’t want that for us! Remember, too, that the world’s idea of peace is a cessation of hostilities, really the negative of fighting or war. Shalom (Hebrew for “peace”), on the other hand, is a sense of safety or well-being, a confidence in God’s sovereignty, and a contentment with our circumstances. So when you pray this over your children, you’re not simply asking God to help them quit fighting or that He’ll calm their anxiety; You’re asking that they will be content and confident in life. (This verse is so rich with meaning! Check out The Power of Peace.)

Read Psalm 4:6-8 (or the whole Psalm), then pray verse 8.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Heavenly Father, help my child to lie down and sleep now in your peace. You are the One Who keeps us safe, and we have confidence in you.

As king, David had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, not to mention enemies everywhere he turned. Through these next two months, there’s sure to be a lot on your mind and the minds of your children. With David’s words, we turn our focus from our concerns to God’s control, which leads to a better night’s sleep for everyone!

Read and then pray Romans 15:13.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I ask you, God, to fill my child with joy and peace as he increasingly learns to trust You. May the power of the Holy Spirit cause hope to overflow in him.

Look at the progression here. God fills us with joy and peace (two of the most common words of the Christmas season). The Holy Spirit then combines these two, resulting in hope. How’s that work? I don’t know, but isn’t it great?!? We can safely say, however, that there’s no real hope—no active, confidence-building hope—without joy and peace, which come from God.

This verse is also a great one to pray if you’re watching for your children’s readiness to accept Jesus as Savior and “boss of their lives” (a phrase we used instead of “Lord” when ours were little). Thanksgiving and Christmas create a spiritual openness in almost everyone. As your children hear about Jesus’ arrival on earth, be sure to emphasize the purpose of His coming. Talk about His love and faithfulness, leaving space for them to take steps of faith on their own. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in their heart so they accept God’s calling to follow Him.

In the next two months, many things will arise to distract us from the “peace on Earth” that Jesus brought. I hope you can use these simple verses to amplify peace in your children and within your home.

Now, on to the holiday list-making!

4 verses to pray, promoting peace in our children through the holidays. (click to tweet)

Are you like me and you find it difficult to maintain low stress levels during the holidays? What verses help you regain your peace or promote it in your family? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Getting Beyond “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep”

We all crowded onto the bed and bowed our heads. Some of us didn’t close our eyes. (Okay, that was me. I rarely close my eyes to pray. There are reasons, but I won’t get into them here.) Starting with the youngest, we began our bedtime prayers. The words were exactly the same as the night before, and the night before that, and the night before that. And it wasn’t only the youngest. Even I, so very aware of how rote this time had become, found myself praying essentially the same thing as every other night.

Maybe you’ve been there, too. By the time they were three years old, we had moved beyond the memorized prayers such as, “God is great, God is good…”. Or we thought we had. In reality, we simply made our own recitations. At the table, it’s “Thank you, God, for food, friends, and family. Amen.” While I appreciate the brevity of such a blessing (because I don’t like my dinner to get cold), I reject the flippancy of it…the way we hardly get our eyes closed before we pick up our forks. At bedtime, I’ve actually heard the children pray each other’s prayers or repeat their Dad’s habitual words.

What I’m looking for is sincerity, a sense that they (and I) experience authentic gratitude for the blessings of this particular day and confidence in God’s sovereignty over tomorrow. With sincerity in mind, I’m going to try these four questions before we crowd onto the bed tonight. (For my English grammar friends, please forgive the dangling prepositions. I was trying to write like people talk.)

What did you do/think/say today that you know God is proud of?

We often (rightly) focus on confession in prayer, but our kids can encourage themselves by recounting spiritual successes from the day. It’s easy to overlook God’s support in the small things, and remembering a few will help our children see that God is not only interested but intimately involved in their lives. It might be not saying something ugly to a classmate. It might be remembering a Bible verse on the bus. It might be choosing obedience rather than complaining.

What are you proud of?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with our children acknowledging their skills. If it’s beating a classmate in a foot race or making 100 on a spelling test, these small celebrations deserve our attention. By framing them in the context of prayer, we correctly attribute these seemingly “worldly” successes to God, who gave us the abilities/talents/skills to do these things.

What do you need to ask forgiveness for?

When we take a minute to reflect on the times when we disappointed God or hurt another person, we learn from those situations. We can acknowledge them, assure forgiveness, and move on in right relationship with God and our family members. The mere act of confession prompts spiritual growth.

What do you need help/guidance/strength to do tomorrow?

Not “Help me be a better Christian,” but real situations that need God’s clear hand. Push your kids to be specific here. By recognizing their need for God’s help, our children will quickly grow to depend on Him. Plus, they are planting the seeds for tomorrow’s prayer of gratitude. PARENTING BONUS: we hear where they need support through the day tomorrow, and we can bless them by following through in prayer and gentle accountability.

By taking a few minutes to reflect on our days before we bow our heads, we can convert our memorized prayers into authentic conversations that bless the Giver of All Good Things and bring us more fully into His presence.

Authentic conversations with God will replace rote prayers by reflecting on your day first. (click to tweet)

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? How did you move out of habitual prayers with your children? I’d love to hear your comments below.

 

Praying Scripture for Your Children: 4 Areas

We all want to pray for our children more. For me, the topic has come up repeatedly in  discussions, blog posts, and other places recently. (Maybe God is trying to tell me something!)  One of the most effective ways to pray is to quote Scripture back to God or use Scripture as the framework for our prayers. That principle stands when we pray for our children as well. So here, I offer you 4 areas in which you can pray Scripture for your children, all based on Luke 2:52.

We have so little documentation of Jesus’ childhood, and all we know of Mary’s prayers are that she spent time thinking about her memories (Luke 2:19, 51). I’m not even sure that’s a prayer. At any rate, it’s not much guidance for us in the 21st century. Ah, but there is something… Recently, someone drew my attention to Luke 2:52, noting that this verse covers every major aspect of Jesus’ life.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Wisdom is intellectual: knowledge, understanding, and application of learning.

Stature is physical: height and strength.

Favor with God is spiritual.

Favor with man is social/emotional.

We can take these areas of growth and apply verses from other parts of the Bible as we pray for our own children under these same headings! I’ll just give you a couple of examples on each. I’m also including a suggested prayer with each verse. If you’re not accustomed to praying Scripture, let this be your introduction.

Wisdom

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom…then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  Proverbs 2:1-5 (1-11 is better!)

Heavenly Father, please give my child a tender heart to receive correction and direction from me (and show me how to frame my words to be more effectively received). Show her heart what real wisdom looks like so she can recognize it…and the many counterfeits out there. Reveal yourself to her in both Your awesomeness and your gentleness.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.  2 Peter 3:18

Lord, help my child retain what he learns about you: the facts of your time on earth, yes, but more importantly, help him understand your grace as we know it from the Bible and from experience. I pray that, as his knowledge increases in all areas, he will draw closer to you and celebrate you rather than rejecting you, as some do.

Stature

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

O God, please show my child that her body is borrowed, that it belongs to you. Help her treat it like something precious and save it for Your glory: sexually, yes, but also regarding exercise, food, substances, sleep, behavior, and everything else.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…  Isaiah 40:30-31

Father, please strengthen my child’s confidence in you. Don’t let him depend on his youth or his physical strength but rather let him place his hope in You because You alone can sustain him through the physical trials he will face.

Favor with God

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20

Heavenly Father, please help my child learn how to be obedient—not for my convenience but for Your glory. Let her experience Your pleasure as she obeys the many authority figures in her life.

Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8b-10

Lord, I pray that my child is always interested in pleasing You. I ask that he will live in Your light, loving everything good, righteous, and true.

Favor with people

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Father, I pray that my child always acts and reacts with gentleness and respect, especially when she’s sharing about Jesus. I pray that her words and behavior will be so excellent that her enemies cannot find anything to criticize.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

Lord Jesus, you know that I want a well-behaved child. We all do. I pray, however, that I will not expect or seek good behavior for my own glory. I pray that my child’s behavior reflects well on You. I further pray that he and I both learn to be quick to give You credit.

 

If the Lord leads you to a great verse in any of these four areas, please let everyone else know by leaving a comment! I’m going to keep an on-going list to use as a resource.