Intentional Prayers for My Children in 2013

By Casey Bradshaw

praying kidA few nights ago my husband and I settled down on the couch after getting our three children to bed.  We were both tired from a busy weekend, and our conversation began with talking about the kids.  We were recounting funny things they had said and done that day.  Before long, this simple, common dialogue led us to a discussion about this upcoming year.  I don’t know about you, but the beginning of a new year provides excitement and motivation for me.  There are many goals that I come up with every year—exercise plans, a list of books that I hope to read, a renewed commitment to reading God’s Word, etc.—but this isn’t just a new year and new beginning for me.  I can also see this as a new year for my children.  My husband Jonathan and I were asking each other many questions: What are our specific prayers for our children for 2013? Where would we love to see fruit? What are we hoping to train them in this year? What areas are they weak in that we could be intentional to care for?

It is good for us to set goals, to plan, and to pray for this upcoming year.  As Christians, praying for the future is not about us and what we hope to accomplish.  Prayer is an act of faith.

Why pray at all?

When thinking about all that I hope the Lord accomplishes in my children this year, it’s common to question why I would pray at all.  Doesn’t God know what needs to be done in my kids?  After all, he created them; he knows them, even the hairs on their heads have been numbered.  Doesn’t he know what to do better than I ever could?  The answer to those questions is YES!  He does know better than me.  But that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord commands us to pray.  1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  God’s Word is clear that when we pray we are doing the will of the Lord, we are obeying him.  There are, however, several more reasons that I commit to pray for my children (and many other things) throughout this year.

1.  I pray because I believe that God hears my prayers and will answer me according to His will.  Prayer requires faith in God, faith that He listens to me and that He will answer.  I must, however, pray as Jesus Christ instructed us to pray: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).”  1 John 5:14-15 reiterates this by saying, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  Oh, how this builds my faith!

2.  I pray because I love God.  Drawing near to the Lord in prayer only increases my love for him.

3.  I pray because I trust God.  By reminding myself of the sound doctrine that my God is always sovereign, always loving, and always good, I am able to trust God and entrust my children to him through prayer.

4.  I pray because I love my children and my husband.  The best way I can love them is to pray for them, asking God’s will for their lives, and asking the Lord specifically to do works in their lives, moving in their spirits in ways that I cannot.

Psalm 145:18-19 says, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.”  I could not be more encouraged by these verses! When we pray, when we cry out to him, when we call on his name, not only does the Bible say that he hears us, but he also draws near to us.  When we pray, we are beckoning him to fill us with his presence.

Pray intentionally

Another question that comes to mind when I consider praying for my children in 2013 is why pray intentional things?

I have the tendency to get overwhelmed with the amount of things that I perceive can be or should be prayed for.  When I look at my three children I see them with love and affection and care, I am well aware of grace in their lives. But as their mother, I am also aware of their weaknesses.  I know the areas in which they struggle and where they need to grow.  I am very mindful of the daily conflicts and interferences with their sinful hearts.  So to sit down at the feet of the Lord to pray without a specific list of a few things to pray about usually leaves me feeling extremely overcome with a sense of inadequacy and anxiety.  In those instances, I am tempted to walk away without praying at all, falling into the temptation I alluded to earlier where I think, “God knows it all.  He knows better than I do.  Why pray?”

On the other hand, if I come to the Lord with a small list of particular needs for each child I find that focus is not lost.  My fears do not run as rampant.  Praying specifically versus vaguely also enables me to more easily track growth and change in the areas I am praying.  Recognizing that the Lord is working in the lives of our children through our prayers strengthens our faith.

As a final thought, I want to remind you of Jesus’ words and PROMISES that are found in Matthew 7:7-11:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

At the end of 2013, my prayer is that I will be able to look back and recount how the Lord has heard my pleas and answered my cries.  I know that I will be able to give praise to Him for accomplishing much including building my faith in him through the power of prayer.

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