When my youngest daughter Sammy became a senior in High School, I asked her how I could pray for her during that entire year. When she asked me to pray that she would improve her relationship with God, I suddenly realized I needed to be more intentional in my spiritual leadership in her life. As a father, this was a wakeup call because I had only one more year left with her at home. You can help your kids with lots of things, from teaching them to tie their shoes to helping them learn to drive. But the most important thing you can do is help them improve their relationship with God. The main goal of parenting is not to raise an “independent” person who can stand on his/her own, with no need for anyone else. Neither is it to raise a “dependent” person who will always need his/her parents. Rather, the main purpose of parenting is to transfer the object of your child’s dependence from you to God. Because life is so brief, we parents must focus on the things that have eternal value.
I love praying for my kids. I gained insight into the importance of parental prayer for children from reading the Old Testament book of Job. In Job chapter one, Job is described as “the greatest man among all the people of the East,” and then it explains his regular custom of offering a burnt offering to God on behalf of each of his ten children. Job interceded for his children on a regular basis, his main concern their passion for God and the purity of their lives. And rightly so, for Job personally experienced the brevity and fragility of life when he lost all his children in a single catastrophe.
For the past several years, I have prayed over my children every morning. My prayers center on the following eight items:
1) Passion (for God above all else)
2) Protection (from physical and emotional harm and from the lies of the enemy)
3) Purity (ethical, moral, and sexual)
4) Presence (experiencing the loving presence of the Lord)
5) Power (experiencing the daily strength of the Lord)
6) Partner (prayer for their future husband/wife and later respecting their partner)
7) Purpose (knowing his/her calling in life)
8) Peace (no matter what life brings)
I even have hand motions I use to remind me of all eight points of my prayer. None of us knows how long we will have our kids; life is way too short to neglect this opportunity to daily lift them up in prayer before the throne of God.
REFLECTIONS: Do you regularly pray for your children? Create a list of important things to pray daily for your kids. Feel free to borrow or adapt the eight-item list from above. Use hand signals or photos or other creative triggers to remind you to pause to pray for your children or to remind you of specific things you want to pray about.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people
1 Timothy 2:1