On my second Mother’s Day, I shared this photo and said
“That day you are reminded of all the ways you show love that you never even realized showed love.”
Isn’t that so true? Isn’t that what Mother’s Day is all about? Showing our moms what they’ve meant to us and why we are grateful, especially those things
that normally don’t reveal themselves every other day of the year? It’s a chance to tell moms of the incredible impact they’ve had on our lives.
When I think about that, it’s hard for me to not think about a praying mom.
It’s one of those ways we love our kids that we maybe don’t realize is loving our kids. And it’s also something that will have an incredible impact on their lives.
Today, I wanted to share some tips for praying for our kids that I recently shared on the podcast along with a free printable to get you started. I hope it helps remove that feeling of paralysis and also adds some vibrancy to what we pray for our kids.
How to Teach Your Kids to Pray
Tell / Show / Do / Apply Prayer Method
So how do we pray for our kids?
1. Remember they are God’s kids.
I’m glad we start here because when I remember that God somehow loves my kids more than I possibly could, I am able to shift to a posture of trust instead of striving. Aren’t we nervous we will forget to cover something in prayer? What if I forget something major? Before I get spun up, I think we need to start with this reminder so we don’t carry the weight of our kids' future on our weary shoulders. That is a heavy load, momma, that God thankfully doesn’t ask us to carry! It’s also going to serve us really well for what’s to come next too!
2. Remember our role as stewards.
So, we remember they are God’s kids, which helps take the unnecessary pressure off, but we also don’t just throw up our hands and assume we have no role. God has put them in our care for a reason. Sometimes I spend more time praying the Lord will simply change things in my kid’s life and forget that He has given me the power and influence in their lives to help them grow in holiness.
I can pray all day long for these things, but if I’m not acknowledging how my behavior can shift them, I’m forgetting one of the most basic of spiritual truths. And here it is:
Any momma can pray, “Lord change my kid,” but You are the one He put in your child’s life to lead by example and train them up. You are the answer to that prayer more times than you realize.
I want to challenge us mommas to really go beyond hail mary prayers that our kids will change. Make no mistake, a praying momma is one of the greatest assets a kid can have, but let’s not forget to not pray in a vacuum for our kids. How do we play a role in our kid’s transformation? And what should we pray about in light of that? God wants to use you and when He does, your child is changed, you are changed and anyone with a front row seat can be changed too.
If you are feeling exhausted and like the hail mary prayers aren’t reaching the ceiling, take 15-20 minutes to pray intentionally for your kids, which in this case might mean praying for how God can use you!
Some questions to think about:
- What are you praying for right now for your child?
- Does it need to be reversed in some way? Do you need to pray for the Lord to grow a quality in you so you can be the hands and feet of how God answers that prayer?
- What is something you can do to help practically foster that change?
- How can you allow God to use you in the process?
- How can God transform you so that you can be used in your child’s transformation?
And just a little reminder. This is why we needed to nail down first that our kids are God’s kids. Because we will fail at this plenty. We are God’s ambassadors for our kids. We aren’t their actual god. The fact that you’re reading this post now gives me a glimpse at your heart and desires so I think you know this, but it’s always a good reminder when I get overwhelmed. .
3. Stop praying just for them to get out of things.
When my anxiety over my kids rises, there is one thing that normally doesn’t help. And that’s praying like a momma bear for all the troubles to go away. What has consistently brought my own heart peace is praying something that aligns with what I believe is God’s desire for my kids: that they will draw near to God in all circumstances. Here’s an example of what that can look like:
Lord, may my kids have such a deep, personal relationship with you, that the
circumstances of their world, pale in comparison. I pray Lord that they would learn from an early age that joy and peace are not found because of everything going right in their life, but that they can experience those things no matter what because of you. That even when trials come, instead of feeling the sting of rejection, persecution, fear or even death, that they would have their eyes so fixed on you, that all they experience is your joy, love, peace and life.
It’s scary to think about these things, but I think about how in certain hard times in my life, I have felt the presence of Jesus in such a real way that it was not at all the same as going through it without God. When I’m going through hard times with God, they have been incredible seasons of growth that I wouldn’t trade for all the seemingly easy or good days. I am finding peace knowing that even though my kids will face hard things, they can walk through them with God which makes all the difference in the world.
If our desire is to raise kids that look more like Jesus, that pursue holiness, why do we spend the majority of our time focused on praying for a comfortable life? I’m all squirmy thinking about that too, y’all. I spend a good deal of time praying for their future careers, finding the right school for them, their health and friends. I think all of this is important. And it’s uncomfortable for me to confront these thoughts myself. I want every good thing for my kids. I don’t want them to experience hardships at all, but I desire God’s will more than I desire my own. And I trust God’s plan more than I trust my own.
We talk a lot about how our joy cannot be dependent on our circumstances yet, we are obsessed with creating the perfect future for our kids and neglecting preparing hearts that can experience joy and peace despite their circumstances.
Do I want to actively pursue giving my kids the best future possible? Of course!! A resounding yes!! But I also want to spend incredible energy on preparing their hearts.
Here are some things we can be doing now to prepare them:
- Be their advocate now. Pray for them. Not just for the circumstances of their future, but their heart for God.
- Cultivate in them now hearts that find joy in spite of circumstances.
- Let them witness in your own life joy and peace in spite of circumstances.
- Spend less time worrying about their future and more time actively pursuing ways to make it better. I’m not completely crazy. This is still important. Let’s spend less time on Facebook reading all the horrible news stories (and every terrible comment!) becoming paralyzed by it and figure out some ways to actually make a difference.
4. Utilize resources.
There are several books out there with 31 prayers for kids so you can pray something different each day. My personal favorite is from Jodie Berndt who we interviewed on the podcast recently! Check that out here.
I also love Cheryl Sack’s books on prayer. She’s got two I’ve recently flipped through and am excited to read, The Prayer Saturated Family and Prayer Saturated Kids. These have more to do with incorporating prayer in the home and with kids but I think it would still add lots of vibrancy to our own prayers for our kids!
And if you don’t have one of our prayer journals yet, these are obviously a great place to keep track of specific requests each month for our kids. It’s also so fun to look back on years of journals and see how God has worked in your kid’s life. We also have a journal called Kid’s Legacy that’s dedicated to writing out prayers throughout their childhood. It’s a beautiful keepsake that you can give to them when they graduate, get married, or become a parent themselves and remind them of just how covered in prayer their life has been!
If you’re the DIYer type, make your own binder, put together info you want to reference when you are praying.
It doesn’t matter what you do, but I’d say do something. This is too important to leave to chance. Let’s circle back to #1 one last time and remember. Our kids are God’s kids. We get to partner with the God of the universe to raise our kids!!
I’m not sure what your Mother’s Day holds but I pray it’s filled with joy as we remember what a gift it is to do this! This is something the Lord has taught me over and over again over the last 8 years and I’m so thankful He’s allowed me to share what I’ve learned in so many ways.
>> If you’re feeling brittle and weary, I wrote a book for you (ok,I wrote it for me, too) and actually, I wrote two: Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday and Fresh Start for Moms devotional.
>> If afternoons feel the hardest, I wrote a 9-day email challenge for you (ok, it’s definitely for me too): Redeeming the Afternoon Slump
>> If you’re ready to pray, but not sure where to start, we made a printable for you (ok…you get the idea). Sign up to get it sent to your inbox below!
That’s it, mommas, I’m celebrating all the ways we’ve loved our kids and maybe didn’t realize was loving our kids!
Blessed to read and be refreshed at the Holy Spirit led writing reminder as a grandmother now of how I prayed for our 2 sons and now almost 5 grand babes. Happy Mother’s Day, I pray for you as leader in sending out his word to many.
I loved this article, thank you for writing it. It was a much needed kick in the butt! So many of the things you wrote resounded with me.