Here’s how to pray for your children

As parents, we pray diligently for our children—at least until they’re born. We then spend much of the rest of their lives praying for ourselves: “Lord, deliver us from this evil.” I think the prayers of today’s parents may go something like this:

Dear Lord, I ask you to keep my child away from all evil, especially tattoos. I didn’t bring this child into the world to be someone’s Etch A Sketch. I didn’t buy shin guards and bicycle helmets or lather on sunscreen three times a day to protect their body so they could one day become walking art. And God, if they do get tattoos, please don’t let them choose one of those Chinese characters that can be read two different ways, like “love” or “idiot” depending on which way you look at it.

Father, deliver them from the Internet, cell phones, iPads, mp3 players, Facebook and the biggest of all addictions, texting. When you gave them thumbs, you never intended them to move that fast on tiny keyboards. And while you’re delivering them, God, could you also deliver them from designer coffees whose names contain words I never learned in grammar school and exotic bottled water that comes from a magical forest populated with unicorns? Dear and gracious Lord, while you’re at it, could you deliver them from overdosing on monster trucks, hunting, fishing or televised sports? In the same way, could you deliver them from addictions to craft or fabric stores, Pinterest or expensive department-store makeup counters?

May their friends lead them not into temptation such as diving with sharks, diving out of airplanes, bungee jumping or any sport preceded by the word “extreme.” May they be smart enough to notice the red light that comes on in the car when something needs to be taken care of, but not so smart that they don’t ever need to come to me for help and advice. God, during their teenage years, don’t allow their hormones to turn them into a whining, pouting, knuckle-dragging, monosyllabic-grunting creature that I can’t even recognize. And if this does happen, would you remind me daily of your commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13KJV)?

Lord, when they grow older, help them to fly the coop but love to come home and visit. (When I say “visit,” God, I don’t mean that they move back home with a spouse and three children.) I pray that their eyes would be for looking up, out and into others’ eyes, not just down at a little square screen. I pray all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Most of that prayer was tongue-in-cheek, but I want to give you 10 things to pray for your children that may never have crossed your mind:

  1. Their salvation: It’s never too early to start praying that your children will grow up sensitive to the touch of the Holy Spirit. Pray not only for their salvation, but they that will hear God’s calling in their vocation and choice of life mate.
  2. A contented heart: That they learn to be satisfied with the little things of life and not require bigger, better or latest to be content. Pray that their satisfaction will be found in Christ and not the world.
  3. A vision bigger than themselves: Ask God to call to them to things that are bigger than themselves and can’t be accomplished without Him.
  4. A heart of discernment: That they will not only learn to tell the difference between good and evil, but the difference between good and best.
  5. The value of authority: That they will learn that authority is their protection and direction, living respectfully under it throughout their lives.
  6. A generous heart: That they will care about those who are less fortunate and learn the joy of sacrifice.
  7. A heart of gratitude: That they will both understand and express their gratitude to others.
  8. A spirit of adventure: That as they go from day to day, they will be learners, explorers and seekers in all aspects of life.
  9. Discovery of their dominion: That they will learn how the Creator has uniquely gifted them and how that fits into His plan to bring Him glory.
  10. Call to missions: Ask God to use your child where He needs them most. Ask Him to help them listen to that calling and follow Him from the North to the South Pole and all the way around the equator.

Parents, remember to spend as much time praying for God to move them into good things as much as you ask Him to keep them from evil. And may their lives just not mark time, but make a difference.