by Mike McDonough, Pastor of Spiritual Development
As a dad, I want to do everything I can to make sure my children will succeed. I want to make sure they have the love and care they need, the financial support they need, the structure they need, the education they need, and the list goes on and on. We all want the best for our kids!
But recently, God has convicted me concerning how I am praying for my children. Providing a foundation of prayer over my little ones is just as (or maybe even more!) important than making sure they have the right education or clothes that fit. (We all know toddler shoes don’t fit for long.)
Ask yourself: How am I providing for my children spiritually through prayer? If, like me, you feel like you just got sucker-punched in the stomach, catch your breath. You can begin praying for your children right now.
Here are four things to pray for your children:
1.) Salvation and Spiritual Growth
The most important thing you can pray for your child is that he or she would come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. We all want our children to have hope and peace in this crazy world; hope and peace do not come outside of Jesus Christ.
If your child does know Christ, pray that his or her relationship with Him would grow. Pray for the growth of a specific discipline (Scripture reading, prayer, worship, journaling, Scripture memorization, etc.), character quality, or passion for serving Christ.
We all want independence for our children. Well, we should be praying they would be dependent on Christ.
2.) Fruits of the Spirit
Pray that the Holy Spirit would empower your child to display the fruits of the Spirit. You know them: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
You don’t have to pray for all of them at the same time. Pray for one specifically, for a period of time. Pray for how your child can specifically show that fruit in his or her life that day, week, month, or year.
3.) Be a Disciple-maker
My goal as a disciple/parent is to lead my children to be disciples who make disciples. Pray now that they would live a life of multiplying Christ in their lives by sharing the Gospel and helping grow the Gospel in others.
4.) Love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength
My desire for my children is that they would love God above all else. I pray that they would love God before themselves, me, my wife, their brothers and sisters, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, money, popularity, fun, and fashion--you get the idea.
As you see their passion for things grow, pray for their passion for God to be greater. God may use your prayer to help keep an idol from growing in your child’s life!
So while you generally pray that God would keep your child safe, that he or she would get a good job, and that God would help your children make good choices, pray more specifically for how they can live God’s Word in their lives. The reality is that your child may make the "horrible" decision to take a low-paying job in a country dangerous for Christians in order to share the Gospel.
Now God is definitely not against safety, good jobs, and good choices. But I recently asked myself, “Are these things I want for my kids, or are these things God wants for my kids?” For example, do I want my kids to make good choices so I can know I am a good parent or because they are following God’s commands?
I came to the conclusion that Scripture reveals that God desires that my children love Him, make disciples, exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, and grow spiritually. So I am going to commit to praying for these things for my children over and above my own desires for my children.
After all, don’t we as believers want what God wants for our children?