Praying for your children
At every stage of their lives, our children need and benefit from our prayers. When we pray for our children, we are asking God to make His presence a part of their lives and to work powerfully on their behalf. Even when we don’t see anything happening in the natural realm, we can be sure and certain that God is on the move. He acts on behalf of His people when we pray.
Prayer is our highest privilege. Mark Batterson says this, “There is nothing you can do that will have a higher return on investment. Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destiny of their children, grandchildren and every generation that follows.” You are a prophet in your home.
There is a thirteen-word sentence in Scripture that summarizes the three needs of every person. At Jesus' baptism, as he was coming up out of the water, heaven opened, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and alighted on Jesus. And a voice from heaven spoke thirteen words, "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well-pleased" Matthew 3:17. These are the most compelling 13 words that any son or daughter could hear. They are power packed with meaning, significance and belonging. How can we pray for our children from these 13 words?
1. Pray that your child(ren) would know they are sons and daughters. "This is my son...." These four words speak to belonging. Build this into your child's heart and pray it over their hearts and lives, no matter their age. When Jesus walked on earth, He introduced the nation of Israel to God as a Father. The Jewish understanding of God was that He was distant, filled with power and the only response was to tremble before Him. Jesus’ teaching was radical and counter-cultural at the time and it still is. Many today view God as distant and uninterested in their lives. But the Word of God speaks truth that God is a Father who has sons and daughters that He wants near to Him.
Pray these words over your children. That as a son or daughter, here is what’s true: You are chosen! You belong! You are cherished! In God’s mind, before creation existed, He dreamed of you and said, “You are amazing” because you are His creation. Everything He does is very good! You don’t need to prove yourself or go in search of acceptance or belonging. You are the treasure God desires. You are lovely to God right here and right now, even in your weakness and immaturity. God doesn’t wait for you to grow up or be mature to call you His sons and daughters.
2. Pray that your child(ren) would know they are loved by God. “…whom I love…” God is love. This is His nature. He doesn’t love your children because He has to but because He cannot not love them! This is who He is. His love has no strings attached. His love is unconditional. He is always loving.
Your children can’t convince God to stop loving them. He made up His mind before the foundations of the earth to love. His love is constant and steadfast. His love remains when your children are unresponsive and rebellious to His love. His love is not dependent on your children. His love is who He is. Even as an enemy of God, His love for them was true. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us”.
God as the heavenly Father loves because that is His nature. God’s loves for your children is out of the realm of any other relationship they have on earth. Even if you were the best parents, God’s love for them is greater still.
Paul speaks of God’s love in Ephesians 3:18 and he prays for the Ephesian church that they would have revelation of His love. You can pray these words over your child(ren)’s heart: “That you would grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” How deeply intimate and far-reaching is God’s love. His love is enduring and inclusive. There is no part of your children that can escape His love. It is endless beyond measure and transcends understanding.
3. Pray that your child(ren) would know they are pleasing to God right now. “…with him I am well-pleased…” Depending upon your own experience with God in your past, this may be a hard concept to understand. Often we get so focused on sin, rebellion, mistakes, failures, etc. that we lose sight of what God sees. You may think that God just puts up with your children because of Jesus’ sacrifice on their behalf. You may think that God has to forgive your children and love them because of what He has promised. You may think there are certain rules or laws your children have to keep in order for all this to be true. But I want you to know that God really likes your children! He not only loves them, but He likes them. He enjoys your children and they are fully pleasing to Him.
Your children are like diamonds. When does a diamond become a diamond? When the miners search for diamonds, are they looking for the gemstone you and I see at a jewelry store? No, a diamond is a diamond from deep underground when it looks like a piece of glass. It is then mined, sorted, cleaned, polished, cut and inspected. You and I see the finished product at the store~ perfect, sparkling, and ready to wear. But a diamond is a diamond through the entire process.
God is not waiting for your children, watching for them to be perfect, then they will please Him. No. They are fully pleasing to Him through the process and the experiences of their life. The Father is pleased before your children are mature! He sees through the lens of eternity. He doesn’t get stuck in the past or the present or with failures or mistakes or “should’ve been” or “wish I didn’t”, etc.
As you pray for your child(ren), ask God to show you what He says about your child(ren). Call out the gold in your kids in prayer. Use your eyes of faith on challenging days to pray for them, speaking to your child(ren)’s spirits. You can pray for your children to take a stop toward the greatness within them. Thank the Father that your children are His sons and daughters whom He loves and with them He is well- pleased.