From the moment they are placed in our arms to the first post on Instagram to the driver’s license test to packing the last box for college, parents are inundated with endless thoughts of their children.
I confess that sometimes my parental musings are filled more with worry and fear than anticipation and hope.
How did the test go?
Was he able to speak to the teacher?
Did he work it out with his friend?
Who will he ask to the dance?
Where will he go to college?
Occasionally I let the thoughts run away like a train, and on those days my body is laced with anxiety. By the time my teenager gets in the car from school, I am playing Twenty Questions with my son but without his consent. We pull into home and he hops out of the truck so fast one would think it is on fire.
One of my parenting goals for the future is to have a healthy, mature, peer-to-peer relationship with each of my sons. Spending the day tossing worry and fear around like a salad is not going to help me achieve these aspirations, so I created a way to turn thoughts into assets rather than liabilities.
I use moments of reflection as an opportunity to talk with the Lord about my sons… especially on the days when they go to school angry, nervous, afraid or abnormally quiet.
If you have ever worried about your kids, you are not alone. Worry seems to come with the job description of Parent.
This is why I share 8 ways to talk with the Lord about your child or teen. Use this guide and watch confidence replace worry and the base from which decisions are made will evolve to parenting from a place of love rather than a place of fear.
If you are an on-the-go parent, I have included a few creative ideas on how to take them with you at the end of the post.
Lord, May My Child/Teen Thrive In…1. SECURITY
Thank you Lord for giving me (Insert Name Here). You gave them to me as an inheritance, and they are a special gift (Psalm 127:3).
You love my children and are their personal Shepherd. Please comfort them as a kind Shepherd would to His sheep.
Settle their souls by meeting all their needs today. (Psalm 23:1-2)
Encourage my heart that I may believe they will not fear the darkest of evils because your Comforting Presence is so real to them. (Psalm 23:4)
Jesus, I ask that you dispatch angels to stand guard around them. Consecrate the ground they walk on with your Holiness.
Silence the voices of your enemy so my children and teens may see, hear and know your love. (Ephesians 3:19)
Keep your enemy far from them. (Luke 10:19-20/John 17:15)
As they fall short of your Standard with their fleshly desires, Jesus, be their Advocate and Helper and Lawyer in the Spirit world.
Thank you for appeasing any wrath and bringing reconciliation for them. (I John 2:1-2)
Thank you for not condemning them but offering them kindness and mercy. (Romans 2:4)
Remind them and myself of this truth when others choose to judge or condemn them.
You made them, and they are your idea. I did nothing to bring them forth. You creatively pieced them together during the womb and never made a mistake. (Psalm 139:15)
Open their eyes, ears, mind, and heart to uncover their God-given uniqueness. Silence the beating drum of culture and the pretense of social media so they may receive the words of encouragement from you and me.
Help them embrace the way they are made and help them to be kind to themselves. Help them avoid the deathly traps of comparison but rather take responsibility for doing the creative best with their own life. (Galatians 6:4)
Would you grow them to be children and teens of character? Guide, nurture and parent me so I may teach them about responsibility, limits, and grit. (Romans 5:2-4)
Help me Father know how to create an environment where this is fostered.
Would you grant them adults and peers along the way who strive for these values also? May the presence of hard times and trials be a call to bravery rather than defeat.
6. YOUR WORD
Holy Spirit, as they hear you speak, may your Word fall upon a soft and nurtured heart ready to receive your Word. Keep your enemy at bay and in silence to keep them from stealing the Seed.
Keep temptations away so the Seed has time to grow strong. Weed out the thorns of worry so the Seed has space to mature. (Luke 8:11-15)
May the fruit be bountiful.
Thank you for being a treasure living inside of them. Open their eyes to see and heart to understand that you are their single source of power. Remind me today that as they are afflicted, they will be not be crushed; as they are perplexed, they will not despair; as they are persecuted, they will not be abandoned by you; as they are struck down, they will not be destroyed.
Jesus, you live in them; therefore, all trials are met with your Comforting Presence, Power and the miracle of Restoration. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 12: 9-10, Romans 8:28)
Lord, thank you for the spiritual groundwork you are laying in our family. You fight for us (Exodus 14:14). If there are any spiritual strongholds, we and the past generations have knowingly or unknowingly allowed in, expose them, so it ends with us (Exodus 20:5).
May truth and grace be declared over the unbelief. Thank you for gifting us your powerful weapons so we can offer a spiritual inheritance to our children and their children. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
For from you and through you and to you are all things. (Romans 11:36)
As for me and my house, we will choose to follow you. (Joshua 24:15)
Too tired to pray…
There are moments when anxiety has riddled me paralyzed as a parent, and I no longer make the wisest decisions much less have the wherewithal to pray these words I have shared above.
In those moments, I follow the example of a dad whose son had been super sick for a very long time. When the possibility of hope shimmered before him he uttered with a cry, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9: 24)
I SO get him.
Sometimes the dark is so dark that hope hurts. If there are days, weeks, or perhaps years where worry for your kids left you unable to think or pray clearly, then utter these simple words from your heart…
Oh Lord. I do believe. Help my unbelief.
CREATIVE IDEAS FOR ON-THE-GO
- Take a few keywords from one of the prayers. Write them on the back of a small business-like card along with your child or teenager’s name.
Place it in your wallet near your bank card. As you use your card throughout the week, the card can recall a time to pray those words.
- Grab some other parents/couples/friends and schedule a date to a local Pottery Place. Take a few keywords from one of the prayers.
Decorate an item such as a coffee mug, coaster, or jewelry dish with the words from a prayer along with your kids’ name. As you work or run errands, it can recall what to pray.
- My personal favorite: the Word Swag App. Take a picture of your child or teen, or you can use one of their backgrounds. Place a keyword or two over them. Make this a wallpaper for your phone for a season.