There we were sitting in the car, the husband and I, discussing a problem, with no real answers.
“I know what you should do about it.” Miss 4 chimed in.
“What should we do?” I asked, half tempted to remind her about interrupting adult conversations.
“You should pray and ask God what to do, and then you should look in your Bible for an answer.”
My mummy heart soared. So simple, so concise. I pray it will always be that way for her.
What I want for my children is a steady faith.
I want to raise children who know how to really pray.
(We did pray for that situation, and looked in our Bibles and a few days later a solution came through a friend. Praise Jesus)
I’ve been asking friends and family that have steady adult children, how they raised them to know how to really pray.
We’ve been puzzling over this and I’ve been looking into myself and asking why I know how to really pray, along with asking my siblings. Now we’re bringing our puzzle pieces to the table, though perhaps a few missing and I hope it helps you.
The one that really stood out was honesty.
Parents who honestly admitted when life was a mess but brought it to God and told Him anyway. Because He’s BIG enough to handle it.
I know friends who struggle with talking to God honestly and I can’t say I’ve struggled with this, maybe because that’s all I knew. Bring it to God and dump it at His feet and watch to see what happens.
My sisters and I were encouraged to pray about EVERYTHING. Whether that was a need for matching shoes for a wedding, or something big like the three times prayer saved my life.
We watched Dad hold up two work worn fingers and pray . . . “Two inches and a storm!” He wanted a storm so that the rain came down fast enough to run off and fill his new dam.
I don’t remember how long it took, maybe a few days or a week. The sky turned green. It stormed. The door ripped off the shed, an enormous tree that should have fallen on the house, fell the other way and left a metre deep crater. There were so many trees down that Dad couldn’t even drive up the driveway when he got home from fixing everyone else’s electricity. That storm had ripped powerpoles and trees out all over our shire.
When the deluge had finished, you could hear the water rushing into that new dam. It was filled.
And the rain gauge measured 2 inches.
Be careful what you pray.
My husband and I, our families are like two different cultures. So different. Yet we both saw our parents being honest about prayer issues.
You might be wondering what this really looked like.
- If you’re upset with someone forgive them, confess the sin of unforgivenss and any others ALOUD and see what God does. (At least that’s what my parents made us do.) I’ve written about the importance of confession how I still use this principal in my adult life.
2. When there’s someone sick in the family and you’ve cleared up any mess of unforgiveness, to anoint them with oil and pray for them.
We’ve really made this a big part of life with our little girls. When they hurt themselves we pray that God would fix it. We encourage them to pray for their friends who are sick.
3. Stopping to pray out loud about issues as they come up. If my husband is telling me about an issue at work, I often insist we pray about it then and there, because otherwise I can forget. We see answers. Children model what they see us doing.
4. The parents that I spoke to agreed that there was a regular time each day of communication and prayer, whether that was at the dinner table, and more than just saying grace, or at bedtime, or during the homeschool routine.
Of course there are other influences to raising children of steady faith. Our parents were very strict on what we were allowed to watch and read, and who we hung out with.
And we must never forget to pray for our children.
Amidst wiping their butts and snot, cooking for them and cleaning up after them, we can forget the most important thing of all.
Except for dear God keep them safe as I rescue the one year old from dancing on the kitchen table in slippery socks for the tenth time in an hour.
We pray Scripture over them. Several times I’ve been prompted to pray over my friend’s child the Scripture from Psalm 34:19-20
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
By prompted I mean, suddenly into my brain will come the thought that I need to pray that such and such will be protected from breaking a bone. And the next day I hear of a near miss where there was protection. That’s God speaking to us.
The promises of God are voice activated. Psalm 91 says I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in Whom I trust. Psalm 91 is an amazing prayer to pray over our children and I love the book Peggy Joyce Ruth has written of testimonies of people who have prayed this Psalm and seen dramatic protection, healing and answers from the home to the battlefield to the airport.
I love learning from other Mums how they make this and discipling their children a priority.
- A beautiful example I saw recently was to make bracelets with letter beads, with one bracelet per child and to put it on say your left wrist and as you prayed for that child to move that bracelet to your other wrist, as a visual reminder. This lady commented that sometimes her children would come up to her and ask if she had prayed for them yet, and if not she would be able to pray for them there. (Like the picture below but with your child’s name on it)
2. A Call to the Secret Place by Michal Ann and James Goll, is an incredible book about how different heroes of our faith made it a priority to spend time with God and in prayer.
In order to remember to pray for her children, busy mother Elizabeth Alves, used to assign each child a chore, and when she was doing the washing she would pray for one and then the washing up another one.
One day she felt an urgency to hang out the washing, and started weeping and interceding for a child who she later discovered had narrowly avoided making a decision that would have sent their life in a downward spiral, at the time she had been praying.
This worked for her as they were all at school, where as I’m always getting distracted doing my chores because the children are ripping the house apart, being toddlers and all.
Another twist on this would be assigning different families members to different days of the week, eg one day I would pray for my side of the family, another day the in-laws etc.
3. The way I like the best though, is praying in tongues. Early last year I was training myself to pray in tongues 15 minutes a day and I’ve written about how this revolutionised my prayer time. I now naturally start praying in tongues as soon as I sit down to nurse the baby, or drive the car.
As I pray in a language not my own, but given to me by God, I have thoughts and ideas come to my mind of what I’m praying but would have no natural knowledge of.
Like the time I started to pray for my husband and felt that I’d prayed for him to have wise hands around electricity, and him coming home ten minutes later saying he’d been going to finish an electrical job but had felt a strong warning to leave it to the next day.
This gift God has given us has many facets, but two of which are praying for things that we don’t know how to pray for and for self edification, like recharging your batteries, which we badly all need as mothers.
1 Cor 14:4