Our prayer life grows and changes as we live. As we add people. As we age. As our hearts are stretched and broken and healed and grown - hopefully being molded more into the Father's image.
This list is meant to capture some of the variations of those seasons. We'll always have regrets about parenting and especially about praying as parents. But now is the time. Perhaps this will spark you for your current parenting season.
1. PREPARING TO PARENT: preparing ourselves and committing our parenting desires to God.
Prayer in this season is usually hopeful.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.”
Suggestion: start praying for your children when they are yet to be conceived.
2. Waiting for a CHILD: praying as we wait for a child be conceived and to be born or to arrive through adoption.
Prayer in this season is usually full of yearning and longing.
“Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
~ Genesis 18:14
Suggestion: as you search for a name for your child, search for a life verse.
3. Welcoming a new CHILD: praying as we get to know this new child!
Prayer during this season is often awestruck at the miracle of birth and the sweetness a new life.
“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition
that I made to him.”
~ 1 Samuel 1:27
Suggestion: choose a blessing for each child - pray and search for a unique verse or passage that will be that child’s special blessing for life. Start using it at birth - or even before.
4. REARING THE LITTLE ONES: praying as the realities of parenting settle on us - we begin to experience the fact that parenting, as delightful as it is, also be hard, tiring, dying-to-self-continually work!
Prayers during this season are sometimes a mix of joy and confusion, of tiredness and energy.
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”
~ Isaiah 40:11
Suggestion: start a routine of praying, alone, with each child daily, at nap-time or at bedtime.
5. RAISING MIDDLE ONES: praying as we see how quickly our children go from one stage of development to another. We see who are children are becoming. We sometimes feel as though we just have our children somewhat “figured out” and they change again.
Prayer during this season can be tumultuous - a mix of hopes and fears.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all.”
~ James 1:5
Suggestion: designate one day each week as a prayer day for each child - tell him that on that particular day, each week, you will be continually holding him, individually, in prayer. If you have more than 7 children, double up!
6. RAISING BIGGER ONES: praying through the storms! Few parents get through this phase of parenting without experiencing some deep concerns about their children. For some, the early ideals of parenting become dim - but the truth of God’s help remains sure!
Prayer during this season is a balance of what we see in our children that makes us thankful and what we still desire to see God do in them.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17a
Suggestion: have a weekly (or monthly?) meeting with each child, asking him or her what it is they need prayer for and simply praying for them. Use this time as information gathering - not as instruction - so they might feel freer to talk. Convey to the child that you want to KNOW him or her and what they thinks about their life.
7. RELEASING OUR CHILDREN: praying as we let go. God does not intend for our children to be in our homes forever. In this time of releasing, we must trust God anew. He will use us differently in our children’s lives after they’ve left our homes.
Prayer during this season can be bright with joy or dark with pain. In either case, we must PRAY ON! Our work is not done just because our children have left our home.
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.”
~ Psalm 127:4
Suggestion: write a specific farewell blessing for each child as they leave your home.
8. RE-DOUBLING OUR PRAYER EFFORTS: continuing to pray for our grown children, praying for what they ask us to pray about and praying for what they may not even know to ask.
Prayer during this season is charged with the desire to see all those we love love God.
Job interceded for his adult children:
“Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning
and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. F
or Job said, "It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts."
Thus Job did continually.”
~ Job 1:5
Suggestion: send emails and text messages to your children often - let them know that you are praying.
9. RE-COMMITTING TO PRAYER: Making a life-long commitment to pray for our children and
for our grandchildren and even the generations to come from them.
Prayer during this season is often marked with new energy and hopeful determination.
"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.
Make them known to your children and your children's children...”
~ Deuteronomy 4:9
Suggestion: develop prayer calendars to pray for children and grandchildren.
Now is the time to pray.
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