I prayed for this.
This girl of mine brought home stories from kindergarten about this friend and that friend and her BFFFL (Best Friend Forever For Life) and what top-secret info they had shared with her on the playground.
She learned cuss words. She learned attitudes. She learned meanness. She learned insults. She learned that when you spell S-E-X you should whisper. She learned far more than a five-year-old needed to know.
I visited her classroom and passed out snacks for a class party, listening into the conversation at her little table….
The kids interrogated me about why I wouldn’t let my daughter watch certain shows on TV. I felt like I was in a courtroom and this group of kindergarteners were trying to break me down under cross-examination.
By her second grade year, I finally spilled it out as a prayer request in my small group. My girl was fiercely loyal to friends who were tripping up her heart, and she just followed along after them like a blind sheep following another blind sheep off a cliff.
Dear Jesus, please help my girl choose good friends who are kind and who will spur her on to excellence, who will help her make good choices and encourage her to be her best, and who won’t lead her away from You.
I watched her playing with her friends this weekend, a full two-years after I started committing her friendships to prayer.
And, oh, I about cried at her birthday party. Not because my baby is nine-years-old (although that might be another breakdown in the making)…..
Because God so graciously answered my prayers for my daughter. She had gathered around her the nicest group of quirky, funny, playful, kind, encouraging, creative, sweet, and thoughtful girls, and each one of them is a reminder that God hears our prayers for our children.
He had built that shelter around her heart when she most needed it.
And I am thankful.
Sometimes it’s wearying, to keep praying when we don’t see the answer and to persevere on our knees when we don’t see results. Praying isn’t an insta-fix or a quick solution.
And some days I’m overwhelmed with my failings and failures as a mom.
I get caught up in what I didn’t do. I beat myself up over what I forgot. I stress over what fell by the wayside. I feel like it’s never enough and I should have done more. I said the wrong thing. I stepped in when I should have let my child handle it….or I didn’t step in when they needed me to handle it. I regret a decision and I wish I could take back what I said.
But what I need to know—-what moms need to know—-is this:
What matters most as a mom is time on our knees for our children.
We don’t have to get wrapped up in programs, extras, Pinterest-activities, decorations, household management strategies, and developmental milestones. We don’t have to compare ourselves to any other mom or our kids to any other kids.
We care for their needs. We love them. We encourage their hearts, and sometimes we also stress and fret ourselves into a blubbering mess over our kids.
Yet, we can trust God to care for our children. He knows them and He loves them even more than we do.
So, the best we can do for them is give them to Him.
I read the Psalms of David often, and pray through them, but I notice this one emptiness in his prayer life…..I don’t see him pray for his kids.
Mary prayed for Jesus.
Zechariah prayed for John the Baptist.
Abraham blessed Isaac.
Jacob prayed over his sons and his grandsons.
In Facing Your Giants, Max Lucado writes:
“Aside from the prayer he offered for Bathsheba’s baby, Scripture gives no indication that he ever prayed for his family. He prayed about the Philistines, interceded for his warriors. He offered prayers for Jonathan, his friend, and for Saul, his archrival. But as far as his family was concerned, it’s as if they never existed.”
David gave his kids a kingdom. He gave them power and financial success.
Maybe he should have given them the gift of a praying parent.
This is the gift I hope to give my children:
Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner (Lamentations 2:19 NIV)
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.