Children are a blessing from God. They are the single most lifelong investment you will ever make. Most people consider their jobs/careers to be a lifelong investment (and this holds true in many circumstances), but if you have children and a family then they outweigh the career. Praying for these children should be of high importance as they are highly targeted even at a young age.
We live in a society that is fueled by sexual tension, propaganda, violence, and misery. Building a foundation will set the stage for their success . . . or their failure. Often times the foundation is neglected by parents and they are left to wonder why their children seek destructive paths in the future. Most of the time, the blame is on the parents. This article will cover five key reasons why praying for your children is of high importance and why it shouldn't be taken as a shallow task.
1. Praying will Bridge the Gap Between Spiritual Death and Life
You as a parent are entrusted with another life. It is yours to guard, nurture, invest in, respect, and cherish. With that said, the children you have been blessed with are also your investment. That means whatever decisions they make while they are under your roof will ultimately lead back to you. Each person is responsible for their own conscious decisions, however, note that sin does not just affect the person(s) involved. It affects EVERYONE, even generations. What you struggle with will be displayed in your children, so take heed that you are also getting fed spiritually. The last three articles from this blog (Prayer Defined, Prayer's Foundation, and Prayer's Elaborate Context) cover the foundation of prayer as a whole, and if you missed those I would highly recommend going over them as they are key building blocks to closer communion with God.
Praying is often the most neglected aspect of a Christian's walk. I know for myself it was. The solution to this seemingly endless backslide lies in your priorities. If it means changing up your schedule to have a dedicated time spent with God, absolutely commit to it. If you can sit at a hockey game for six hours or fish until dawn the next morning, you have time to pray. This is an area God has heavily convicted me in since my days didn't start with Him. I wanted to grow in my faith, yet didn't want to commit in that area. Do you see the juxtaposition? We often wonder why God isn't near, but seldom do we ask if there is anything that we are doing that hinders the communion (fellowship) with God.
Praying will bridge the gap between death and life. I don't mean that praying for protection will keep your children from experiencing negative things. I do mean that praying (especially praying for true, genuine conversion) with a clean heart will bring changes and build a foundation for your home, even if you are a single parent. God hears the prayers of the brokenhearted.
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working" (James 5:16, ESV).
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6, ESV).
"But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God" (1 Timothy 5:4, ESV).
2.) Praying for Your Children Brings Changes, Including Changes in Their Hearts
Put on your armor, because the road ahead isn't paved with luck. It's paved with grit, heartache, sacrifice, and (that's right) trials.Praying is the spiritual purposefulness of putting on the spiritual armor of God. It is what keeps you alert spiritually for the enemy's attacks. A battle is won by knowing your enemy's plan and fortifying your defenses. The enemy will not just rise up against you, but your household as well. After all, this is what led to sin entering the world. Eve was strategically targeted by Satan, which also led to Adam's spiritual demise. You can't do this on your own, nor should you. With God comes the victory.
When you pray for your children, you are admitting before God that you are seeking His help (and ultimately His direction over your own). Praying for your children to see right from wrong also has to be tied with you teaching them right from wrong. You can't rely solely on Awana programs or Sunday School staff. A family that prays together, is held together. Just like it takes two to make a marriage work, it takes two to have a fellowship. That means if you aren't married to the word of God (truly converted), that is the best place to start because a house divided is destined to fall. A marriage that is unequally yoked is destined for heartache. When we are joined in God's covenant, we have a Sustainer who intercedes on our behalf.There is nothing more powerful on Earth than prayer. Prayer brings changes and is the catalyst to growth.
"If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination" (Proverbs 28:9, ESV).
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV).
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8, ESV).
3.) With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, but with Great Dedication to Prayer, There Comes Great Humility
Do not deceive yourselves. God is not affected or moved by eloquent prayers of many words. Jesus stated in Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV): “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." God searches the heart of man and is not deceived by empty phrases. Prayer brings humility, just like power (positional authority) brings responsibility.
When children are prayed for and over, the motive of the prayer is ALWAYS evaluated. I have met some parents who would rather live their life through their kids instead of training their children up to be who God called them to be. This creates a cycle in their kid's lives and their children end up repeating the same mistakes. Humility is next to meekness when it comes to virtues highly sought over. This virtue alone will help to keep the feet of your children from endeavoring down many lanes that lead to heartache.
"So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22, ESV).
"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged" (Colossians 3:21, ESV).
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Colossians 3:12-14, ESV).
4. Praying For Your Children will Strengthen Bonds
Setting up a time for prayer, even if your child isn't born yet, will create deep bonds. Prayer is a conversation between mankind and God and is a holy privilege that is bestowed to believers. Teaching your children to pray and setting up a time for this will plant a seed that will be continuously harvested throughout your life and their lives. Old habits die hard, so starting this when they are young is vital. Even before they are born, you can already be setting aside a time for prayer.
Every person in the Bible that has walked closely with God has had dedicated time for prayer. This wasn't carried out perfectly because they were human as we are human, but the proof is still there. Key examples are Abraham, Noah, Moses, Elijah, Miriam, Mary, etc. Your will has to be second to God's will.
"All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children" (Isaiah 54:13, ESV).
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us" (1 John 5:14, ESV).
"And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6, ESV).
5. Praying Creates Spiritual Endurance
If you're an athlete, you have to continuously train to maintain your endurance. It takes mental and physical strength to keep persevering. A pastor once told our congregation what was once told to him, that "90% of all races are already won or failed before they even start." Praying is much the same way. It is a battle whether it is seen as one or not. Praying without ceasing creates spiritual endurance. When children are taught to pray and to seek God first, their lives will be marked by spiritual endurance so they will not grow weary when life produces many trials.
Endurance takes time to fester and accumulate. Those that are young in the faith (like children) will not have as much endurance as those that have endured longer in the faith. It is important to instill this endurance in children while they are young as instilling it when they are older will often lead to heartache. Paul states that "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV).
Teaching your children this type of spiritual discipline early will benefit them the rest of their lives and will help them to be triumphant when trials and temptations arise.
Prayer is the antidote for temptation. It is a lifelong establishment that is built upon God's statues. Equipping your children with spiritual endurance and creating a foundation of faith is vital to their spiritual livelihood in this life. What is done in this life matters in the next because Christians will be evaluated for how they used their lives as a testimony for God and unbelievers will be judged (1 Corinthians 3:12-14, ESV).
For similar articles, please see the below publications.
Into the Wilderness
The Truth Behind the Curtain
Books that aid in the discipleship of your children or to help you pray:
"How to Bring Your Children to Christ" by Ray Comfort
Girl Defined series (if families have daughters) by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird
The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Mom by Stormie Omartian (for wives and mothers)
The Book on Leadership by Pastor John MacArthur (for husbands and fathers)
"Christian Growth in 5 Steps" by Bill Bright
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