Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thoughts On Praying For Children

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:13-14

When the kids were in public school, these verses above from Matthew were often tucked within my prayers. I would pray almost daily that God would keep them safe and happy, and that they would be a light to those around them. When I was praying for safety, part of me was praying for physical safety, but I think more than that, I was praying for spiritual and mental safety. I prayed often about the influence of others on my kids minds- especially Abigail who frequently found herself in the company of older kids. I very clearly remember how kids like to show off all the naughty things they know, and I would pray that Abigail wouldn't listen to these types of things, that she would stay the sweet little girl who loves Jesus with all her heart.

I'm afraid that as they've been at home with me know, I think I've been praying these things a little less than I should. I do pray for my children daily, but I was thinking about this the other day and was reminded that every day there are new opportunities for them to learn things they shouldn't be learning. I am thankful that I was reminded that these prayers are still so important, that their little minds and hearts be guarded and kept full of the light of Jesus.

There are other things though, that I have been praying for regarding my children.

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Luke 2:52

I've been praying that my kids would find good friends lately. Especially Abigail. The one thing that I know she misses about public school is the friendships. Not specific friendships, I don't think, it seemed like every month she had a new best friend, but just the friends around her- she's such a social little girl. Mostly though, her best friends as of late have been her little brother and her younger cousin- who is Zander's age. These are friendships that will last a lifetime for her- but I have been praying for some real girl friends for her. She is getting to the age where those friendships will form and they will stick, and they will be fast friends for years, and I've been praying for that for her. I think I'm beginning to see the fruit of those prayers. There is a little girl who's been coming to church more and more that is her age, and they've been having a good time getting to know each other more and more. And at dance classes, Abigail seems to be coming more out of her shyness and spending time with the girls chatting before and after class, and of course, hanging out at recitals and such. I am so excited to see where God takes these new friendships for her. And I am also reminded of his blessed abundance, because I've been praying for one friend- for a girlfriend, and all the sudden there are several. God is so good!

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18

And as I've been praying for my children, and just being more aware of time going by, I've also made a startling realization. That somewhere out there, there is a mom raising up a little boy who is going to be my son-in-law some day. And somewhere out there, there is a mom raising up a little girl who is going to be my daughter-in-law someday. Even now, my children are being shaped to become a part of those families, just as those little ones are being shaped to be a part of my family. Someday these people are going to come into our lives, and my job is going to be to love them. So I've been praying for them. I have no idea who they might be, or where they might be, but God certainly knows, and I know He hears my prayers for these precious children who my heart already loves, but may not meet for dozens of years yet. I pray that God will protect them and their hearts as they grow, and that He will be very real to them- that they will have the hearts to match my children's hearts for God. I imagine these prayers will get even more fervent and more serious as I watch my children grow, and they enter into the ages where temptations away from God will be even more present in their lives.

Something that I've been keeping in mind as I pray for my kids is that God doesn't mind when I get specific. My prayers go far beyond a simple "God bless" and really in-depth sometimes. Many of my conversations with God go really far as far as sharing my hopes and dreams and fears for my children. And I think the more I talk to God about it, the more He eases those fears and reminds me that they have been entrusted into my care for a time, and that when they are under my care or older and grown out my care, the one constant they will have is the truth and knowledge that God loves them, and that He cares for them so much more than even I ever could. That is the most important thing to me. I watch with such delight when their prayers are answered, and as we discuss the wonderful world that God created in school, they just know that God is so much bigger than any obstacle they can ever face. I pray daily that they will know this always, that they will always turn to Him when they are in doubt.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

I can't wait to see the supernatural people that God is shaping them to be. It's going to be one exciting ride, and I trust God completely that they will take the paths that He has laid before them. While I may ask them sometimes what they'd like to be when they grow up, I'm very, very careful to never tell them that they are going to be something specific. What they are to do with their lives will be between them and God. I will help them pray about their decisions that lie ahead, and if God gives me answers for them, I will share them, but my will and God's will may not be the same thing. I give that all to Him, and as their journey of life continues, I know that He will set a course before each of them, and that course will be the right one- the one that has been designed just for them, before they were even born.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

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