It didn’t take me long at all, minutes even, to realize I was never going to be a perfect parent. In fact, I honestly realized that while I was pregnant. No matter how hard I might try, I’d never be a perfect parent.
When I brought up my worry, as a perfectionist, that I’d never be a perfect parent, I was greeted with wisdom by people who had been there. My mom, my grandma, my friends… they all came back with the same resounding concept. I was right– I’d never be a perfect parent. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t be a praying parent.
By spending time in prayer for my child, I could actually become a better parent for him than if I was a perfect parent.
But sometimes, it can be hard to think of how to pray for your child. I mean, you have all of these hopes and dreams and thoughts for your child, as a mom, before your son or daughter is even born. Sometimes, you even have this in your mind before they’re conceived.
I struggled to put my prayers into words, and I honestly sometimes didn’t even use words– I believe God understands my petitions even when my words can’t put the thoughts I have into coherent prayers.
One of the first prayers I had for my son was a prayer of Salvation. I knew that I wanted my son to grow up and have a relationship with God, so I wanted to make sure that he knew God personally, and had dedicated his life to Christ. I wanted to pray that he would find Salvation.
I prayed for my son to have great joy. I wanted to know that he was not just happy, but joyful. I prayed also that God would make ME a more joyful person and help instill that joy in his life, both by the way I lived, and through the examples set for him by myself and those in his life. I wanted him to experience happiness, of course, but I also thought that joy, true Holy Spirit joy, transcended that, and I prayed that upon him.
I prayed that my son would have a Servant heart, that he would learn to serve others and be willing to get down and wash someone’s feet, or any other service that he could provide. I wanted him to reach out and help people, and find a passion in that. Essentially, I prayed that my son would get a lot of traits from my mother, who has the biggest servant hearts of anyone I know. I wanted my son to know that serving others is one of the most important things you can do.
I prayed for my son’s safety. Of course, his safety was paramount to me. With all of the crazy news about mall shootings and terrorism and even just basic things like drunk drivers or plane crashes, I worried a lot about Zach’s safety. I realized, though, that God says not to worry, but instead, to pray. There’s no need to have anxiety about things when we have prayer (easier said than done for me and my panic attacks, but I knew prayer was the right solution). So I did, I prayed for my son’s safety, for him to be guarded from harm. I prayed he would be protected and kept from harm.
I prayed for my son’s wisdom, that he would not just be a smart child with a thirst for learning, but that he would be wise. I prayed that he would have the wisdom to think for himself, to discern right from wrong, and make wise, Godly choices. I didn’t pray necessarily for my son’s intelligence, but for wisdom. I knew that being book smart could help him in life, but being wise, having that true wisdom, would help him for sure.
When my son started to grow, I saw that he was one self-confident kid with a little attitude.
I prayed for humility, that, even in his self-confidence, he would be humble and speak with kindness. I didn’t want him to become cocky, or lose that humility when speaking to authority figures or even peers. I wanted his heart to be pure and humble, with his servant heart and gentle spirit.
I prayed for strength. No, not the “I can lift two elephants” kind of strength, but the kind of strength that comes from the heart. I wanted him to be strong in tough times, to know that, even though times can be tough, or you can cry or be upset over circumstances, that you persevere, you continue on, and your strength helps carry you. I also prayed for a strength of spirit, one that would allow him to resist temptation that I know will face him in life. I prayed for the strength to say no to things he knew were not right, and for the strength to stand for what is right, even when it’s hard. I prayed for strength to get through hard circumstances, and strength to resist temptation, both from his peers and directly from evil he may encounter in life.
Of course, there are many, many ways you can pray for your child. These seven are just a start, a jumping off point to consider ways to pray.
Whether your child is a grown adult, or still not even a blip on the radar, or maybe somewhere in between, praying for your child is important. You’ll never be perfect… I’ll go ahead and be the bad guy and break that news to you now. But you CAN be a praying parent, and that’s what really matters.
What prayers do you have for your children? Leave them in the comments below!