My kids are now twenty-one, twenty, and (two-weeks from) seventeen. All three are strong-willed in different ways, and we all experienced some tough years as we worked to mold them into God-fearing, high-functioning adults.
As we’ve been in and around churches their entire lives, my husband and I regularly heard the mantra to pray for our kids. Sounds good, even easy. But my mind is always full of questions. Always. And my heart wants to get things right.
So how exactly do you pray for your kids and get the results you want?
Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.
I remember the morning after our daughter, our first child, was born. My husband had gone home to get some rest and change clothes, and I lay in the hospital bed with her in my arms. As I cuddled her close and looked into her eyes, the Holy Spirit whispered, Entrust her to me.
Immediately, worst-case scenarios filled my mind. I didn’t know at the time I would one day write fiction stories, but clearly, the seeds for drama and tragedy were there.
“But God, you might ask her to do things I’m afraid for her to do. To go places where I might lose her. “
“You might take her home to be with You before me. You might allow great pain that I don’t want to watch her bear.”
Oh, the times I have prayed and not received the answers I wanted from God! With tears streaming down my face, I uttered the words God wanted to hear but I was hesitant to offer. “She’s yours. Even if You take her from me this very day, she is Yours.”
Since I’d released my girl, and later my boys, to my heavenly Father to do with them what He willed, I determined to pray for them. But I didn’t want the simple prayers of protection and success.
No, I imagined them thirty and fifty years into the future. I wanted brave warriors for God’s Kingdom and children whose hearts yearned for more of their Creator. I wanted them united together, the arms of them and their families locked in love even if God separated them geographically on this planet. This meant I couldn’t just pray for my children. I needed to pray for their entire world.
How I Prayed
My prayers started simple. From a young age, give my children a heart for You.
But the future world I pictured would include a spouse and children. Father, work in the life of their spouses now. Surround them with Your love and give them a heart for You.
Gradually, my prayers became bolder, asking God to mold their characters into what He wanted them to be. Daddy, don’t let them be apathetic toward You and what You have called them to. Help my girl and two boys, the son you will bring to my girl and the daughters you will bring to my boys, stand strong against their friends when it is for their best.
Occasionally, my prayers would be a bit more selfish, like when I saw my girl’s heart wishing her brothers were more considerate. Father, may her husband have a compassionate streak that helps him to see her needs and desires even if she doesn’t always express them.
Or when I got tired standing up to the iron wills in my boys. Mold a strong backbone into my boys’ wives so that the girls will not be crushed by the adamant nature of my sons. Give the girls what they need to soften my boys so that they are all moldable in Your hand to the ways that are Your best.
And when I saw other families struggling? Yep, more prayer. Daddy, unite us as one big family. As my children bring home spouses, may we all love and accept them as our own and may their families love and accept my children as their own. May we not be two families fighting for time with those we love, but join us together as one massive family focused on loving each other well.
Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Over the last twenty-one years, I’ve prayed many prayers for my three children, the three spouses they would eventually find, and the unknown number of grandchildren that will follow.
This kind of praying isn’t an exact formula. It’s paying attention and dreaming big. It’s looking forward and wanting more than you dare hope for. It’s work. It’s believing God is working even when you can’t see the results, and it’s persisting when it feels useless.
But today I delight in who my children are becoming, and the son and daughter my girl and oldest son are currently dating.
That doesn’t mean my season of prayer for them is coming to an end. Oh, no. Instead, my prayers will intensify as they step out on their own and make their own decisions forward.
Want to know more of the parenting strategies I used to raise my children? Kathy Barnett and I included an entire chapter to this in The Warrior’s Bride: Biblical Strategies to Help the Military Spouse Thrive. HINT: It’s not just for military spouses!
The call came down from Command, and your warrior husband is out the door, leaving you behind to handle whatever he has left undone.
Whether it’s the day-to-day monotony, the inevitable appliance that breaks, or the months without his presence beside you, being a military spouse brings challenges few appreciate.
Yet God sees you and longs for you to boldly step into His plan.
He purposely chose you for this moment—for your man. He wants to give you abundantly more than what you have right now and desires you to thrive as your warrior’s bride.
Join authors and military brides Kathy Barnett and Carrie Daws in The Warrior’s Bride as they use their combined thirty-five years of military experience to boldly discuss some of the most common issues in military families, including:
- The Calling of the Warrior
- The Healthcare System
- Extended Family
- The Fear of Divorce
- The Fear of Death
- Living with a Wounded Soul