I grew up with a praying dad. For as long as I can remember, he prayed before every meal. When I’d visit home during college—before leaving—the whole family would hold hands and pray. I thank God for this example. Just being honest, I haven’t shown this same example to my kids. No, I’m not a total spiritual slacker. But, when it comes to praying for and even with my kids, I haven’t been as good as my dad. What about you? How would your kids describe your prayer life?
Question: What if 2020 was the year you spent praying for your kids every day?
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.” —Psalm 127:3
If you’re anything like me, with the new year, you have a list of goals. I’m a goals junky. I have goals around what I call the “5-F’s”—faith, family, fitness, finance, and fun. Yes, I have to set goals so I actually have fun. That’s for another post. Here’s where I’m going with this: you probably don’t have a goal around praying for your kids. What if you did? What do you think might happen if you prayed for your kids daily? Allow me to remind you—and myself—about why you should start praying for your kids and how you can get going quickly.
Why you should start praying for your kids?
I know, it’s a funny question. Ten out of 10 parents agree: praying for your kids matters. But why don’t we? Since we aren’t great at this in general, allow me to come back to some of the right motivations for praying for your kids in the first place.
Some of you stopped reading because you’d say, “Oh, I pray for my kids.” But, praying for safety or protection isn’t exactly what I’m talking about. My pastor has a said before, and I’m only paraphrasing a little, “If we only teach our kids to throw the perfect pitch, but we haven’t taught them to pray, we’ve failed.”
Just look at all of the most-pressing fatherhood challenges. Consider how God would help us overcome these challenges if we became men of prayer. Here’s my thought: If you become a prayer warrior for your kids, you will understand your dependence on God, you will know God’s heart instead of your own for your kids, and you will point your kids to God instead of yourself.
Praying for and with our kids is vital, for a bunch of reasons, but two big reasons come to mind. If we prayed as we should, we would be more apt to understand our complete and utter dependence on God. The more you pray, the more you begin to realize you aren’t the one in control. And if we aren’t in control, then we better be connected to the one who is.
Secondly, you should start praying for your kids so you can be more in tune with God’s desires for our kids. I truly believe, if you’re reading His Word and praying as you should, this year will look different for you. Your desires for your kids will be different. God will reveal to you that grades, colleges, the career path you want for them, making the team and all those “good” things of this world will become second to what pleases God.
As I think about these couple of reasons, it’s mostly about us realizing we aren’t the center of the story. That we aren’t the hero in our kids lives. Sure, we should desire to be a good example for them. But our why isn’t so our kids will come ask us for everything, right?! Our goal isn’t that we fulfill our kids’ desires or point our kids to us. No, God is the only one worth that. We have little time to spend with our kids. And that time moves fast. We must learn to use the time pointing to God, pointing to the Bible, and praying with and for our kids.
I want a different and better year. I want the same for you. More importantly, I want to point my kids to God even more this year. I don’t think that happens without prayer. May we be men of prayer. Men who know God’s will for our lives, for our kids, and live like we do. Men of prayer will overcome the fatherhood challenges we face.
How you should start praying for your kids?
Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy.
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
“Our Father in Heaven, your name be honored as holy.”
Jesus offered a model prayer for us to learn from. We often refer to as The Lord’s Prayer. The first part of that prayer is about focusing on who God is and what He’s about. We need reminded daily that yes, He is our Father. Yes, He is in heaven. And yes, He alone is holy. Start with worship. Worship God for who He is. Tell God how great He is. Thank God for who He is and what He’s done for you.
Question for you: Are your prayers mostly about you or about God? Reading this first line in the Lord’s Prayer should refocus you on God instead of yourself. This first line is a time for you to stop your own agenda and align with God’s. Funny who well this fits with Jesus’ teaching to “Seek first My kingdom…” huh?! May we learn to acknowledge God for who He is and live like He is the Lord of our lives.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.“
The next part of Jesus’ prayer comes in Matthew 6:10. Note, it’s about intercession. When you intercede for others it means you’re asking God to exercise His power in the lives of other people. Now, imagine teaching your kids to do the same. Boom. Double win.
“Give us today our daily bread”
The next part of Jesus’ prayer comes in Matthew 6:11. Some translations say, “our necessary bread” or “our bread for tomorrow”. The point here is petition. We’re asking God, the One who is our Father and our Provider, to give us what we need. Note, We aren’t asking God for more money and extra wishes. God isn’t Aladdin’s genie last I checked. But, we serve the God who cares about all of our needs. This is a time for us to bring those needs to Him and align our desires with His, knowing if we ask according to His will, mountains move.
Dare I say, this time of prayer is mostly about our dependency on God. We need Him otherwise we do not have what we need. We are not like the world would say, we are not self-made men or independent men. We are seeking nothing short of biblical fatherhood—that which seeks God’s kingdom in dependance on Him alone. All good and necessary things come from Him. What would it look like if we prayed with this kind of dependency on God?
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.“
A vital part of prayer is repentance. We must ask for forgiveness daily for ours sins by admitting them and purposing in our hearts not to continue committing sins. Then, thankfully, God is there to forgive you and cleanse you.
“And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Matthew 6:13 shows us how we are to rely on protection from God. We are to ask for guidance continually. Ask God to guide your steps and decisions going forward. You have an enemy who would love to see fail. Choose to rely on God’s protection. Ask God to protect you from temptation and spiritual attack. Temptation will come your way at some level, so decide to choose wisely how you will respond.
An outline to pray with your kids:
1. Worship – Tell God how great He is. Thank God for who He is and what He’s done for you.
2. Intercession – Intercede for others simply means asking God to exercise His power in the lives of other people.
3. Petition – Since God is our Father, He is our provider. He cares about all our needs, whatever they might be.
4. Repentance – Ask for forgiveness for your sins by admitting them and purposing in your heart (and with God’s help) not to continuing to commit them.
5. Guidance – Ask God to guide our steps and decisions going forward.
Question: What if this was the year you spent praying for your kids every day?
Mission: Pray for your kids tonight by name. Then, make praying for (and with) your kids a habit by praying for them daily this year.
Need more help praying for your kids right now?
Here are some resources to help you start praying for your kids now and in the days ahead. You can do this. We’ll be here to help:
1/ Read this blog post on having a better prayer life called Do you have a prayer life worth dying for?
2/ Grab our free Bible reading plan just for dads that’s in partnership with YouVersion called Becoming a Praying Father. It’s been completed by 28,761 folks so far.
3/ Watch this 30-second clip about the power of a praying father on facebook or twitter. Like, comment, and share. Then, see how you can get access to weekly videos and tools to help you know how to be a better dad.
Like this post and want to write for Manhood Journey? Email Ryan Sanders your post and he’ll either not reply because your idea is that bad—or he’ll assign you a deadline.