Praying for your kids

Children are a big part of our world, and are often central in our lives. In our roles as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends; in line at the grocery store, when we go out to eat, take a walk in our neighborhood, go shopping at the mall; almost everywhere we are, we see children… and are amused, annoyed, charmed, frustrated, entertained by them.

So I guess it’s no surprise that we often pray about and for children, is it? We ask God to give us children – and then to help us care for and teach them, guard and lead them. We often pray for their health, safety and success (in school, sports, and other activities); for protection for them, for patience for us.

You know how many times during the course of a day you ask for God’s guidance, help, or support; his care and love – for yourself and for your children. But – and here’s the really crucial question – do your kids know how often you talk to God about them? Do they ever have the chance to see and hear you as you pray?

As parents or grandparents, we are often pretty good about praying with children at bedtime or before meals. But that’s not what I’m talking about… I’m talking about the times during the day (and night) when you are on your own, talking to God about each child – your worries, dreams and hopes for him.

• When you are asking for God’s help and wisdom as you negotiate the challenges of parenting.
• When you are thanking God for the delight your child brings into your life – celebrating who she is and for the pure joy of being with her.
• When your child is ill and you are begging God for healing (and sleep) for you both.
• When you are calling on God to keep them safe in a world that often feels scary and dangerous.

I tend to view these conversations that I have with God as private - just between him and me. But I’ve been thinking about it recently. I think there could be real power in letting my kids see and hear me during my own personal prayers sometimes. For one thing, teachers and parents alike recognize that children often learn through modeling – that is, observing someone else do something, and then repeating that same behavior.

So, allowing my children to see me pray may be the best way to teach them to pray themselves. But even more than that, what a strong message this could be for my children – that I, their mom, am relying on God; resting in the knowledge that his love for them (and for me) will bring hope and light and peace into our home and our lives, even when it seems the world is full of darkness and fear! Maybe it would be a bit like wrapping them in God’s love before I send them out each day into the world? And who wouldn’t want a little extra protection for our kids, especially these days? Try inviting your kids into your prayer conversation with God – it’ll be good for both of you!

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