Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Prayer for Parenting

I'm busy this week writing lesson plans, going through books, (thinking about) cleaning the school room and starting the countdown to our first day in just four weeks!  In the middle of all that, I really NEED to take the time to pray over our plans and focus on the things that matter most.  But, I have to admit that I'm not a great pray-er.  

I know that I need to first and foremost pray for my boys, but sometimes it seems like I'm just bringing my shopping list before God - first, the staples: Milk, Bread and Eggs (salvation, health and safety).  Then the extras -  character traits I want to see them grow in, or particular needs we have had this week.  I don't like my prayers to feel like a grocery list, so I kind of end up not praying very specifically at all. 

Do you struggle like this, or is it just me?  Anyway, I really want to grow in my prayer life - learning what it is like to really communicate with God, how to persevere in prayer and how to not wander into thinking about my actual grocery shopping list while I pray!

As I start this school year, desiring to incorporate more prayer into my plans, I will share what things have helped, what I have learned and hopefully you will feel comfortable with sharing with me too!  I have found that sometimes it helps to read and pray written prayers to help me to learn how to pray.  I have found great help reading the prayers in the Valley of Vision prayer book.  I also found a resource specifically for praying for your children, called Setting Their Hope in God:  Biblical Intercession for Your Children by Andrew Case.  (It is only 99 cents for Kindle right now!)  I think I might try those resources as part of my morning devotions and when I find something helpful, I will post it here to share with you. 
Last school year, I had taped to the cover of my homeschool planner a prayer that I found at Pastor Scotty Smith's blog over at the Gospel Coalition and I wanted to re-post it here for you.  Here is the link to the source, in case you might want to tape it to your homeschool planner!
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:1-3
Heavenly Father, it’s a liberating joy to address you today as the architect and builder of your own house—including the household of faith and my children’s place in your family. No one cares about and loves our children more than you. I know that now better than ever. Our kids are your heritage.
I grieve the years I spent in pragmatic parenting, assuming if I prayed and parented just right, my kids would be converted at a young age, would never get into big trouble and would be protected from all harm. How na├»ve on my part. But my rejoicing is much greater than my regretting, for you’ve proven yourself faithful to your covenant love… even when I was overbearing and under-believing.
I praise you for rescuing me from parental “laboring in vain”—assuming a burden you never intended parents to bear. O, the arrogant pride of thinking that by our “good parenting” we can take credit for the encouraging things we see in the lives of our children. O, the undue pressure our children must feel when we parent more out of our fear and pride, rather than by your love and grace. O, the miserable unbelief of assuming that by our “bad parenting” we’ve marred our children forever and have limited what you’ll be able to accomplish in the future.
Father, only you can reveal the glory and grace of Jesus to our children; only you can give anyone a new heart. You’ve called us to parent as an act of worship—to parent “as unto you,” not as a way of saving face, making a name for ourselves, or proving our worthiness of your love. I really believe this, but the move from parenting by grit to parenting by grace has often been three steps forward and two steps back. Take me deeper; take me further.
Since our children and grandchildren are your inheritance, teach us how to care for them as humble stewards, not as anxious owners. Give us quick repentances and observable kindnesses. Constantly remind us that you call us to be faithful parents, not “successful” parents. More than anything else, show us how to parent and grandparent in ways that reveal the unsearchable riches of Christ. Keep teaching us how to love and lead your covenant children “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal. 2:14 NIV). Father, dazzle and delight our children with your grace. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ faithful and loving name.
How do you make praying for your kids a priority and a habit?  
How do you make it more relational and less like a shopping list? 
What prayer resources do you recommend?
(I look forward to hearing from you!)

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  1. I LOVED that prayer! Thanks so much for sharing. I struggle often with pride in parenting.

    I actually wrote a series on prayer recently as its a goal of mine to deepen my prayer life. You can read it here:

    I also recommend Prayer on Fire and The Circle Maker.

    Thanks for linking up!
    Mary Beth @newlifesteward

  2. I needed this GREATLY today, and well, every day as I strive to parent my two small (and very small) children and not get "tunnel" vision o_0

    1. I well remember those days. I mean, THESE days... oh if you knew what my house was like today, you would think our kids were the exact same ages... no kidding. It was definitely a parenting by grit day... thankfully His mercies are new every morning!