Recently John and I spent an evening with several friends. Our conversation revolved around the topic of parenting and one mom asked this question:
What is the most important thing you can do for your kids and grandkids?
It’s a great question, and it’s a question for young parents as well as grandparents.
In a world that presents overwhelming options for every facet of life, advice for nearly every problem, and expectations that are most often unrealistic, sometimes what really matters gets lost in a jumble of confusion.
We want to give our kids love, train them in self-discipline, provide for them materially and educationally, protect them, encourage their faith, and prepare them for adulthood. We long for them to love God and one another, to make a difference for good in the world—and so much more. We try. We fail. We try harder. We so want to get this right. And often we don’t.
But there’s one thing we can get right on their behalf—praying for them.
It may be a stumbling bumbling prayer, even a simple call for help. Even the same prayer prayed over and over for years but seemingly unanswered. Yet God is working while we are waiting. And think of the joy it brings Him when we pray on behalf of our kids. It is always right to pray.
As parents, we want to fix. We are by nature problem solvers; we have to be as a parent. This is a gift. But often we come to the place where we can’t fix a child, a spouse, a friend, or even ourselves, and we are driven to our knees in prayer.
Prayer is ultimate humility. It’s saying, “I can’t God, but You can.”
Jesus himself gives us a model in John 17 when He kneels before His father God and prays for his disciples—his children—and then for those who will believe through them—us and our descendants. The one question the disciples asked him was “teach us to pray,” and He gave them the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
Where does this leave us? Back to the question.
There are several things we can do for our kids. For example: live a life we would want them to emulate—a life marked by integrity—have intentional conversations with them, etc. But if I had to choose one thing it would be to pray for them.
We can’t fail at prayer. Prayer is simply coming into His presence empty, needy, lacking, and sinful. And our heavenly Father welcomes us with open arms and says, “I’m so glad you are here.”
Our two eldest grandchildren are getting ready to leave the country. One for a study abroad program in France, the other to work in an orphanage in Kenya. Last week we gathered around them with both sets of grandparents and several siblings simply to pray over them. We are sending these two treasures off and it’s scary for us and for them. We desperately need God. It was a special time for each of us in turning them over to their heavenly Father who loves them even more than we do. It was important for each one of us in different ways.
He is going before Callie and Will to prepare their ways. We can rely on Him.