Children have a way of bringing us to our knees, don't they? I'm only nine years into my parenting journey, so I know the prayers for my kids will grow far more fervent, far more desperate, and I pray, far more powerful and effective.
But that doesn't mean that the early years haven't brought many hours of fervent prayers. Help him obey. Help her know your love. Heal her hip. Heal his eyes. Heal her bladder. Help her be kind. Assure her that she is loved even though her mom was crabby this morning. Keep her safe. Give her extra angels. Help her to trust you Jesus. Help him be kind. Give him self-control. Help his mother have self-control too.
Give him peace in his anxiety, Jesus. (And, give his mama peace in her anxiety too...)
Today as I was standing at the stove making macaroni and cheese, my boys ran into the kitchen, both armored with shields and taking a ninja stance toward one another, ready for attack. One yelped some non-English battle sounds, and they were off running back to a bedroom for a ninja attack, laughing and Hi-Ya-ing the whole time. It was adorable. It was all-boy. It was, I was certain, going to end in the younger one crying with battle wounds within seconds.
As they ran off, I prayed, "Jesus, help the older one be kind. Help him to fight the temptation to be mean."
Then Jesus came into my prayer, and in a powerful whisper, taught me how to pray for my kids. I heard myself praying, "Lead him not into temptation, but deliver my boy from evil."
It has never before occurred to me to pray the prayer Jesus taught us over my children. We pray it with our children of course, but I've never prayed it over my children. It just hasn't ever occurred to me.
But as Jesus whispered to me while my water was boiling over and my boys were ninja-ing, it was a jaw-dropping revelation for me. Of course I should pray these words over my kids. Jesus taught us this prayer because his disciples wanted to know how to pray. I want to know how too.
As one of only two humans on this planet that are solely responsible for the safety, welfare, protection, faith, nourishment, sleep patterns, intellectual development, social skills, cognitive abilities, muscle growth, musical appreciation, literacy, cleanliness, manners, and overall well-being of four little humans, um yes, I need to learn how to pray, Jesus. Please teach me.
So here's how my heart has been stirring since the mac and cheese boiled over. Perhaps this will touch your heart as you pray for your children as well.
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by Your name. Please make your name holy in her heart. Please mold her heart so that your name is set apart as holy in her life. Help her to know your name, call on your name, and love your name, Jesus.
Father, Your kingdom come. Let your Kingdom reign in his heart, Jesus. Let his heart's desire be for the things of your Kingdom. Love. Peace. Justice. Truth. Righteousness. Kindness.
Jesus, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. In his life, Jesus, your will. Not his, and not mine. Your will. He is your son before he is my son. You have plans for his life that are so much bigger than my dreams for his life. Your will be done, Jesus. Let his life lift Heaven high, and through my son's life let the things of Heaven be seen on earth. Use him, Lord. Give him obedience to your will. Your will be done, Jesus.
Give us today our daily bread. Take care of her needs, Jesus. Where I fall short, and where my husband falls short, in our humanness, please take care of everything she needs. Where her heart desires for things that she doesn't need, help her to set her eyes on you Jesus, and not on the things of this world.
And forgive us our debts... Jesus, thank you for dying for my kids. Thank you for taking her sin upon your shoulders on the cross and defeating her sin. Thank you for paying her debt. You are bigger than her sin. You are bigger than his disobedience. Forgive my child, Jesus.
as we also have forgiven our debtors. Jesus, please teach her to forgive others. As the sins against one another become more intense with age, please shape each of my children's hearts to give forgiveness and to receive forgiveness. Please keep my kids' hearts soft.
And lead us not into temptation...Oh dear Jesus, please. I know my kids will face temptation because your Word says they will. Jesus, guard her, and guard him. Help her to soak in Scripture to help her overcome temptation. Surround him with peers who love you Jesus. Help her to know that through Christ, she is stronger than every temptation she faces. Help him to know that he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength.
but deliver us from the evil one. Jesus, you and I both know Satan hates my kids. He hates them and wants to destroy them. He is the enemy of her soul and his soul. But Jesus, more importantly, you love my kids. You are the lover of his soul and the lover of her soul. You created my kids and you have plans for my kids. And Jesus, you win. Be victorious in my child's life. Jesus, crush Satan under your foot. Let Satan have no place around my child. Jesus, cover her with the armor of God. Seal him in the Holy Spirit. Give her assurance that "the one who is in [her] is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
Thank you Jesus, for teaching me to pray. Help me be a mom who prays fiercely for my kids, because they really do have an enemy, the devil, prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
But they also have a God who is the Champion, the King, the Savior, and the Lord. Since You are for my child, then who can stand against her, Jesus? (Romans 8:31)
My child is more than a conqueror through you, Jesus. (Romans 8:37)
Thank you that nothing can separate my child from your love, Father. (Romans 8:38-39)
Amen and Amen.
(Disclaimer: I hesitate a bit to share this because clearly Jesus' prayer doesn't need any extra words added.
He taught us to pray, and he says not to be long-winded about it.
He also warns us against adding any words to the Scriptures.
I just want to say that I'm by no means trying to add one word to Scripture.
Jesus' prayer, and the whole Bible, is perfect as it is.
My intent is simply to share what's been stirring in my heart.)