Raise your hand if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- Discovered your two-year old in the bathroom, eyes covered in black smears with the offending mascara brush still clutched in her chubby hand.
- Discovered purple permanent marker scribbled on the carpet and wood flooring.
- Cleaned up vomit from all three children from the bed and floor of your hotel room… the night before your big trip to Disneyland.
- Sat in the nursery of the church building with a screaming toddler, knowing that everyone can hear the ruckus over the preaching.
- Listened with horror as your child shouted at the top of their lungs how mean you are and how much they hate you.
- Listened brokenly while they retract the previous statement.
- Felt fear that your child will make the wrong friends.
- Felt fear that your child won’t make any friends.
- Felt utterly helpless because none of your parenting strategies seem to be working.
- Chucked most of your parenting manuals in the garbage
Ok, now… raise your hand if you’ve ever had this expression on your face:
I’d raise both hands, but I’m typing.
People told me college would be hard. College was cake compared to raising children.
College is a 4 to 5 year commitment. Raising children is a minimum 18-year commitment (it’s really a lifetime commitment).
College has checklists. Parenting… wait, are there checklists?
College comes with guarantees. Parenting comes with few guarantees.
The bottom line?
Parenting is NOT for cowards.
Cowards run away.* Cowards refuse to face conflict. Cowards won’t do the hard thing and fight for what is right. Good parenting takes guts, requires courage and absolutely demands a warrior spirit.
(*Note: I know that divorce often makes it impossible for some parents to be with their children regularly. I am not referring to that situation in the “run away” comment.)
Over Labor Day weekend, we went to see War Room. While the movie primarily focuses on the husband-wife relationship, the principles of prayer could also be applied to the parent-child relationship. At one point, the main character exclaims, “I feel like my husband is the enemy!” The elderly woman replies, “He’s not your enemy! Satan is your enemy! You been fighting’ the wrong adversary!”
If you have ever raised (or are in the process of raising) a strong-willed, down-right difficult kid, you know that there are moments in which you want to cry out, “Why are we enemies?!?!”
Take a calming breath, and read on: your child is NOT the enemy.
Let me repeat that: Your child is NOT the enemy.
Just like that feisty old lady said: The devil is our enemy. He is what we fight against. He is the one we are training our children to resist. In your prayers, pray that the devil’s plans for your children will be defeated and that you will be able to have a healthy, loving relationship with them.
Parenting gives us a glimpse of how God sees us as His children. He loves us with a deep, unconditional love, even when we turn our back on Him.
Have you ever stood and watched a child sleep?
I love peeking on my little ones at night and saying a very short prayer for them as I make sure they’re tucked in and covered up. It is in those quiet moments that, unbeknownst to them, I am looking out for their simplest needs. No conflict. No chatter. No questions. No emergencies. I treasure those moments.
Now, think of our heavenly Father. Doesn’t He watch over us even when we are unaware of His presence? Doesn’t He tend to our needs and care for us, even while we sleep? Doesn’t He gaze on us with affection, knowing our faults and imperfections?
Being a parent offers us insights into God’s relationship with us. Being a parent teaches us how to love our children the way that God loves us. He loves us with a love that is tough, unconditional and seeks the best for us. Is that the way we love our children?
My fellow parents—keep on fighting! This is one of the most important battles we will face! Don’t face the battle without first facing the Lord in prayer.
This week, let’s turn our focus to praying for parents. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent or not—your prayers are needed! If you are a parent, pray for other parents and especially pray for your spouse (isn’t he or she your fellow soldier in the parenting trenches?).
Pray that they will be strong and firm.
Pray for them to do everything with a loving, intentional spirit.
Pray that they will be consistent in discipline and training.
Pray that they will teach their children to love the Lord.
Pray for the divorced parents: If a couple is divorced, there may be acrimony between them and their divorced spouse. Judges often award joint custody (usually in favor of the mother, regardless of the situation) and the children end up shuttled between parents from time to time. If you are a parent who is divorced from your child’s mother or father, it may be difficult to pray for your ex-husband/ex-wife; they likely feel like your bitterest enemy and may even treat you as such. The fact of the matter is, they are still part of your children’s lives in some way. Pray that they will not have a negative influence on your children’s life, but a positive one. I know it may seem like an exercise in futility, but we do need to pray for our enemies and people who curse us. Pray that the Lord will soften their heart and establish a good relationship with your children and will be respectful of your wishes.
New this week!
FREE PDF list of what to pray for parents. Includes bible verses and a few lines to add notes/names Download here.
I intend to provide a PDF download with each Effective Prayer post going forward so that you can keep a list of these things with you wherever you pray.
I would love some feedback on whether the document downloaded properly and if you like the layout (too busy, too ugly, too big, too small, just right… etcetera. I debated doing a 3×5 size, but was concerned about the extra step of cutting it out). Thank you in advance for your assistance!