Parents are (mostly) right to think like this: it’s our instinct to want to provide for our children everything good. So, when/if we pray for them–that is, when we seek God’s power applied to their lives–the prayers we pray mirror our desires: we ask for safety, success and good choices.
A few years ago, it hit me that God might have better things for me to pray for my sons. Over time, he’s pointed me to the following requests. I use them one or two each day, rotating them depending on what’s going on. What do you think of them? Wanna join me in changing your kids’ lives?
1. Good Soil – I ask God to give them the soil that receives the seed and produces 30-60-100 fold. (Mark 4:8, 20). That God’s Word in their days wouldn’t fall on deaf ears, worried hearts, or shallow wills. “Lord, give them hearts, wills, ears like the good soil.”
2. That John 13 would be a way of life – in this chapter, Jesus shows us the full extent of his love by serving. He washed his disciples’ feet – it was the worst job. It was the night before he died – the worst time. The disciples included Judas his betrayer – the worst people. (I forget who first alerted me to those three “worsts”). I pray that my boys would always be willing to serve.
3. Zech 10:12 – “I will make them strong in the Lord, and they will walk in his Name.” I ask God to do this work in their lives. Strength in him, and conduct reflecting his character.
4. Deuteronomy 30:19 – After declaring God’s Word, Moses challenges the people, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose Life…” I ask God to help them, guide them, make them choose FOR obeying his Word and living into it.
5. That they would bear fruit – Both the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), and the fruit of righteousness (Phil 1:11). Also, John 15. Basically that their lives would matter for the Kingdom, and that they would leave a legacy that draws others to Christ. Good Fruit borne by a good tree.
6. That they would get caught in sin – There is nothing worse than when we get away with things! I pray that they would be caught in the act, or found out very quickly (while fresh), so that we can get them off of Sin’s stupid downward spiral, and back out into the open. One friend said, “what’s conceived in the dark, and kept in the dark has a hold on your until it is brought to light.” So true.
7. That they would be quick to repent – Back to the “good soil”… hearts willing to own their trash, confess it and reject it. Being caught is not enough, there has to be brokenness over sin. Godly sorrow leads to repentance. I ask the Lord continually to give them strong characters, but soft and tender hearts.
8. Proverbs 4:20-27 – “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words… Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life…” and many other simple, proverbial instructions that will make or break a daily life.
Nothing magic about these 8 things. You can find 8 different ones in Scripture. But, what I’ve found in praying these is that I pray with great confidence because I know God is going to act according to his Word. Nothing hinders effectiveness in our prayers more than uncertainty in praying them: “should I really ask for this?” But, to abandon yourself to God on behalf of your children because you KNOW God will hold to his Word means that you will see answers.
One last thing. I don’t only pray these things for my sons. I pray them also for Susan and myself. And, yes, God graciously answers!