When praying for my kids, I have always used the words, “my boys” or “my sons.” There is, of course, nothing wrong with praying this way. God entrusted four boys to my husband and me to raise to His glory. But on one particular and unforgettable night, while crying out to God about a painful hardship one of my boys was facing and feeling completely incompetent to help him navigate it, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that these boys are first and foremost sons of God. That as much as I love them and long for them, they were “perfectly and wonderfully” made by God (Psalm 139), they belong to God, and God’s love and desire for them is infinitely more profound and pure than even mine.
In light of this truth, I began to pray “Your sons,” rather than “my sons” to be reminded that God is their all-knowing, all-powerful Father, and because God is sovereign and full of grace, He can be trusted with the children He has entrusted to me.
This is the truth we have to remember when our children are bullied or rejected by their peers, when they are battling sin and temptation, when their feelings get hurt or their hearts get broken, when they struggle with substance abuse or eating disorders, when they make wrong choices, or when they simply don’t feel lovable or valuable. When our hearts break for our kids and we long to right every wrong in their lives, we have to remember they have a sovereign and good heavenly Father. Then we are free to pray, “Lord, they are yours. They belong to you.”
There has been something incredibly freeing about praying for my children this way. It has opened my clenched fists that are trying to control outcomes and allowed me to surrender them back to God with open hands and a trusting heart.
To say that God is sovereign is not to say that our children don’t have free will. Indeed, God has given all of us free will. We are all responsible for the choices we make, and our choices matter. However, God is not limited by our choices. He is continually working everything together “for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
Remembering our good Father’s sovereignty relieves so much of the pressure we experience in motherhood. It’s not all up to you, and it’s not all up to me – and praise Him for that!
If we want more peace and less worry in our parenting, we are wise to heed the wisdom we read in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
The most powerful thing we can do for our kids is pray. Our prayers have a profound impact on our kids’ lives. In fact, I think it’s fair to say we do our best parenting through prayer!
Now maybe you already know that. Maybe you already know how powerful prayer is, and yet, like me, your prayer life doesn’t always reflect that truth. So nobody needs to be reminded of this more than I do, because too often my life suggests that we do our best parenting – not through prayer – but through worry.
All the while, the peace our hearts crave in the midst of all the pressure we experience as parents – the peace that “exceeds anything we can understand” – can be found in only one place. And it isn’t in problem-solving. It’s in prayer.
Prayer is not only the antidote to finding peace amidst all of the pressure, but it is our most powerful weapon against the enemy who, like it or not, is working against us. He “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). I don’t say this to scare us. I say this to encourage us to get on our knees and fight for our kids in prayer.
Our prayers for our children (and with our children!) are unimaginably significant. Through prayer, we get to partner with God in the work He is doing in the lives of our kids, all the while remembering that “It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ – eternal and glorious plans they are! – will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, He does!” (1 Peter 5:11 MSG).
In other words, as we pray for our kids, we can trust that God – who is abundantly generous – has great plans for our kids in Christ. And not just temporal plans, but eternal plans. And He gets the last word – yes, He does! We are free to rest in His sovereignty and surrender to His will.