Friday, May 18, 2012

Praying For Your Children

I have great news! Ryan and I have found a house and plan to move in this weekend! I wanted to share pretty pictures but they are on my phone and I didn't have time to mess with fancy editing stuff to blur out my house number... so I'm not sharing them. Boo! Sorry!

Anyway, we are doing okay during this PCS but I'm still quite busy and have another guest post for you. This time it is from Tegan over at Tegan's Musings. This is my dear friend and I was so sad to leave her behind in New Mexico. What I'm posting is actually something she shared with the local PWOC down there and I thought it was good to pass along.

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Praying for Our Children

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Why should we pray for our children?
It seems like an obvious question, doesn’t it? I’d like to outline several reasons for why we should pray for our children and then I’d like to give some ways that we can pray for our children.

Our children are gifts from the Lord - Scripture tells us that our children are a gift from the Lord, that “sons are a heritage from the Lord”. Our children are knit together in are womb and the Lord knows them before they are even born.

Some of us prayed that we would even have children, why stop now? - Like Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, some of us spent many an hour in fervent prayer to receive a child. The Lord has answered that prayer in the affirmative and here you, a mother, running around changing diapers all day, preparing meals, chaperoning/refereeing (if you have more than one child), carpooling, cuddling and caring for this human that the Lord has bestowed upon you. Life can get so busy, and it is easy to forget to pray for what is right in front of us all the time. We need (need, need, need) to pray for our children.

We are commanded to pray - The Lord commands through His Word that we need to be diligent in our prayer life and I think that goes without saying that we need to be praying for the children that He has given to us to train up and raise. First Thessalonians tells us to pray without ceasing – all the time. Philippians tells us in everything to pray, with thanksgiving. Thank the Lord for your children, even when they are being disobedient and defiant and you want to send them off to Grandma’s for a week, thank the Lord for your children.

When Samuel the prophet was talking to the people of Israel, he said to them “Far be it from that I should sin against the Lord in failing to pray for you.” We need to follow Samuel’s example. We need to not fail in praying for our children.

Jesus modeled prayer for children for us - In Matthew 19, Matthew tells us that the people brought their children to Jesus so that He could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked the people for bringing the children. Jesus then rebuked the disciples, telling them to let the little children come to Him, for the kingdom of God belongs to them.

Jesus laid his hands on the children when He prayed for them. I want to tell you a personal story about Sophie, my firstborn. When Sophie was about 13 months old, she was in this stage of just being not a very nice child. You know that toddler defiance stage . . . so one night, I went and knelt down outside her bedroom door (I would have gone in and actually laid hands on her, but I was afraid that I would wake her up), and prayed Scripture over her. Scripture like Galatians 5:22-23 – the fruit of the Spirit. I just inserted Sophie’s name right into the Scripture. And you know what, her attitude changed. I encourage you to go through the Scripture and when you read it, pray those verses and put your child’s name right into the verses. The psalms are great for this, as are epistles, but don’t limit yourself.

How should we pray for our children?

For their Salvation - The Lord gave us our children to train up in righteousness, but that doesn’t mean that they come automatically born again just because we are born again. Our children should be the first people that we are discipling and a large part of that comes through prayer. We need to pray for the salvation of our children. 2 Tim 2:10 tells us “that we endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Jesus Christ.” Isaiah tells us that the Lord is our Salvation. We can easily put our children’s names into Isaiah 54:8 “ . . .let salvation spring up [in your child], let the righteous flourish with it..."

For their protection from the enemy - The Bible tells us that the enemy is real and is prowling the earth like a lion, looking to devour who he will. We need to pray for the protection of our children from the enemy, and not just their physical protection, but their spiritual protection. When Ephesians talks about putting on the armor of God, you might have noticed that everything is for defense, except for the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Bible. Your Bible is your weapon to use against the enemy and it is important to pray Scripture over your children. When you pray Scripture over your children, you are taking the offense against the enemy for your child. You are praying the Word of life over them. In Isaiah 54:17, you can pray that no weapon formed against your child shall prosper. In Psalm 91, you can pray that the Lord will command the angels concerning your children to guard them in all of their ways. You can pray a hedge of protection over your children. There are so many places in the psalms where the Lord gives us word pictures of protection – hiding us in the cleft of the rock, for example, or under His wings. Pray these words of protection for your children.

For their relationships – future spouse, friends, schoolmates - Our children are always going to be in contact with other people, and they will form relationships. Even Sophie and Edward, who are 3 and 2 years old, have friends that they know by name and enjoy being around and ask for. They have relationships. It is important that we pray for the relationships that our children have and will have in the future. This can mean friends, classmates, future spouses and so on. We can pray for them to live in harmony with one another and to not be proud, as it says in Romans 12:16; we can pray that they would be devoted to one another in love (Rom 12:10); we can pray for them to make every effort to promote peace and do what leads to mutual edification (Romans 14:19). For their future spouses, we can pray that their future spouse will love God with all their heart, soul and mind (Deut 6 and 2 Cor 6:14). We can pray that they will honor the Lord with their bodies and remain pure until their wedding day, abstaining from any sexual immorality (1 Thes 4:3, Heb 13:4, 1 Cor 6:19) and the Lord will be the center of their marriage relationship (Ecc 4:12). By the way ladies, we should be praying that for our marriages as well.

For their character (i.e. fruit of the spirit) - We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will develop in them and help us to teach in them Godly character, such as mercy, justice, patience, peace, joy, love, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, perseverance, and so on. Gal 5:22-23. That our children would have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way (Heb 13:8)

For their future ministry - We all have a ministry. In case you didn’t know, you lead your very own ministry – maybe you just started or you’ve been in Christ for years – either way, if you are in Christ, then you are called to minister to, mentor and disciple others, whether it is a wife, parent, friend, Bible study facilitator, on the [PWOC] Board and so on. As parents, we are called to minister to our children. Our children, Lord willing, will come to know the Lord as their God and Savior, and then they too will have a ministry. We need to be praying for their future ministry, whatever that may look like: spouse, friend, lay person in the church, pastor, teacher, elder. We can pray that they will be a good witness and bear testimony to what Christ will do in their life (Acts 1:8). We can pray that even as children, they will set a good example to other children and adult Believers (1 Tim 4:12). We can pray that their partnership in the faith will be effective (Philemon 1:6).

In the books of Acts, when Paul was leaving Tyre to travel on to Ptolemais, the believers went down to the shore with him to pray. Paul makes a note to say that everyone, including the children, came to kneel down and pray with them before they left. We can model prayer like that for our children and God willing they can be children who pray like that as well. Jesus prayed for the future believers in John 17, and we can likewise pray for the people that will come to know Jesus Christ because of our children. We can pray that our children will declare the Lord’s glory among the nations and His marvelous deeds among the peoples, as it says in Psalm 96:3.

Praying prayers that are already in the Scriptures and incorporating our children’s names.

Lastly, and in a bit in summary, we can pray prayers that are already in the Scriptures and simply insert our children’s name into those prayers that were first prayed by people like Moses, Hannah, David, Solomon, Mary, Paul and many others.

One example is Ephesians 3:14-21 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen (your child’s name) with power through his Spirit in (your child’s name)’s inner being, so that Christ may dwell in (your child’s name)’s heart through faith. And I pray that (your child’s name), being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that (your child’s name) may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Another example would be Numbers 6:24-26 – the priestly blessing, which is repeated in Psalm 67. I will leave you with this last example:

"The LORD bless (your child’s name),
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on (your child’s name)
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward (your child’s name)
and give you peace.”’

All for His Glory,

Tegan

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Thank you so much Tegan! This is some great advice, and I'm glad I now have it here to refer back to when I feel I'm lacking in any of these areas.




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