I often find my prayers for my children to be...well...dull. I pray for their safety, their salvation and that they will be used by God to further His kingdom. It's not that I think there is anything wrong with what I am praying about. It's just that expressing these prayers has become routine. I say them and mean them, but there is often not a whole lot of feeling and thought behind them. Does that make sense?
I think part of my problem is I am often uncertain what to pray for. Should I ask for this for my children? Are my motives pure? Are these prayers effective in the way I want them to be?
Several years ago, I came across a book. As soon as I started flipping through the pages, I felt joy and relief. I found a way to pray for my kids. And, what I am about to say is very important to me, it wasn't a person telling me what or how to pray. I was being instructed to pray God's own words- the scriptures.
Praying the Scriptures for Your Children: Discover How to Pray God's Will for Their Lives by Jodie Berndt is the book. Over the years, I have returned to this book over and over again when I feel my prayers are losing their vitality.
The book includes five sections; Praying for Your Child's Faith, Praying for Your Child's Character, Praying for Your Child's Relationships and Praying for Your Child's Future. There are several chapters within each section that target specific topics. There are brief introductions to each chapter that talk about the topic and then, my favorite part, the scriptures are presented (about ten for each chapter).
The author encourages you to insert your child's name into the scriptures presented. For example, under the topic of Praying for Your Child to Love God's Word comes the following scriptures (among others)...
May _____ not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
Make your word a lamp to ______'s feet and a light for her path. (Psalm 119:105)
Under the topic of Praying for Your Child's Relationship...With Siblings, are these verses...
Show _______ and her siblings how to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as you have forgave them. (Ephesians 4:32)
Do not permit ______ to be quarrelsome; instead, cause him to be gentle, patient, and humble, especially when his siblings are in the wrong...because then they will be more likely, with God's help, to turn away from their wrong ideas and believe what is true. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
And what's best about all of this? How can we go wrong praying God's Word back to Him? Praying in this way gives me an air of authority over my prayers that I never had before. And, I can use these prayers for others as well.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)