"I Pray This For My Children"

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    WedAug72013 ByGreg HarrisTaggedNo tags

    “I Pray This For My Children”

    Greg Harris

    Copyright 2010

    (NOTE: Please feel free to use, pass on, or duplicate this posting as you see fit. I had it copyrighted so that I could use it in future publication(s), and also that someone would copyright it and thus keep me from using it.)

                The Bible clearly shows that parents during Jesus’ earthly ministry wanted Jesus to bless their children: “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ And after laying His hands on them, He departed from there” (Matt. 19:13-15). Nothing has changed other than Jesus not being currently visible (1 Pet. 1:8); we still want—and so desperately need—Jesus to bless our children. This shows both our continuous looking to Him and the realization of our vastly limited capacities as parents.

    As with most items related to discipleship—and parenting as Christians most definitely is a God-ordained and commanded aspect of discipleship (Eph. 6:1-4), I have learned there is much more to Jesus blessing Betsy and my children than merely asking Him to do so. Of course, asking Jesus to bless our children is not bad in and of itself—only quite limited.

    For instance, when our children were younger, they would frequently accompany me many places I went, including the seminary where I taught. I was asked dozens of times, “How do you get them to do that? How do you get kids at the age be so well-behaved and be such a blessing?” Always the answer from the heart would be, “Betsy and I are not perfect parents, and our children are not perfect children.” Often people would not believe that based on the scenario they saw before them. We most certainly did see God’s blessing on our children, but we knew they were still quite young and had not at that time yet faced the teenage and adult years with all the temptations and snares and dangers before them (Prov. 1–9). While seeing God’s hand of blessing, I realized the battle was only just beginning for us—and at times it was indeed a battle, and a very intense one at that, as both the world and the evil one actively worked to attract them to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16).

     Part of the answer I gave people who asked me about raising our children would be that we repeatedly prayed for them and tried to raise them as God would have us do, especially as shown in Scripture. Even then, Betsy and I knew we were not in full control; you cannot save your own children; you cannot live their lives for them. We would stand on the sideline and actively watch as our children walked with God, or, in one case, not walk with Him for a prolonged period. I have been both the Prodigal Son and the father of a prodigal—and by the sheer grace of God and by no means a given—I have been the rejoicing father of a prodigal who has returned to the Lord.

    Then following along the lines of “The Cup” chapter question repeated in The Cup and the Glory of “What do you pray for . . . when you pray?” would repeatedly come a similar question by many, especially from younger parents: “What do you pray for your children when you pray for them?” I have also been asked this question dozens of times.

    Below is the answer for some of the prayers prayed for our children. It is not that my answers are exhaustive, nor does it mean that each element had to be prayed in every prayer session. Also, seasons of life necessitate changed elements within the prayer. But here is what I pray/prayed for my children:

    I pray . . .

    —as a child to my heavenly Father before praying as a father for my own children (1 Peter 1:17).

    —for my own walk with God (Eph 4-6) before I pray for their walk; it starts with me, not with them. 

    —for my wife Betsy’s walk with God (singular) and ours collectively as husband and wife.

    Any true ministry (and parenting most certainly is a ministry, and an incredibly responsible ministry at that) is merely an extension of your walk with the Lord (or lack thereof). And though we fail miserably at this at times, I pray that our children will see Betsy and my relationship with God (Eph. 5:22-33)—although obviously imperfect—will be a natural carryover to our working with them (Eph. 6:1-4). 

    I pray . . .

                —for our marriage.

                —for our parenting. 

                —for wisdom and discernment in each of these areas (James 1:5-6; 1 Pet. 5:5-9).

                —for what to say; for what not to say.

                —for godly disciplining that will not exasperate (Eph. 6:4).

    I pray that God will bless beyond our capacities and limitations to be parents.

    I pray for my children . . .

                —that they will come to a saving grace of God early in their lives (1 Sam. 3:7). 

                —that their hearts will always be tender before God (2 Chron. 34:27).

                —that their hearts will always be inclined to God (Josh. 24:23). 

                —that they will fear God and turn away from evil (Job 1:8).

    I pray for my children . . .

                —that God will raise up godly influences for them, and

                —that they will become godly influences.

                —that they will have godly friends and be godly friends to others.

                —that true biblical Wisdom will be their close associate (Prov. 1-9; 1 Cor. 1:22-24; 1 Cor. 1:30). 

    I pray for my children . . .

                —that God will make them be/become blessings to others (Philemon 7).

                —that they will be thankful to God and to others (Luke 17:11-18; Col. 3:15).

    I pray for my children . . .

    —that God will grant them an insatiable hunger and thirst for Him and His Word (1 Pet. 2:1-2).

    —that they will worship God in spirit and truth frequently (John 4:23-24).

    —that they will have a Second Coming mentality (1 John 3:1-3).

    —that they will live their lives with eternity in view (Phil. 3:20-21).

    I pray for my children . . .

                —that they will come under strong conviction when they sin (Ps. 51), and

                —that they will confess their sins to God (1 John 1:9) and to others (James 5:16).

    I pray for my children . . .

    —that God will protect them from themselves, violent people and the evil one. (I received these three prayer items from a godly uncle of mine who has since gone home to be with the Lord).

    I pray for my children’s spouses, if they are to have them (1Cor. 7:7), . . .

                —that God will cultivate godliness and the same traits already mentioned within them.

                —that God will bring them together at the proper time.           

                —that they will honor Him in the courtship and keep them pure before Him.

                —that God will be the center of their home and this become evident to others.

                —that God would bring them to a godly, Bible-centered church, where they may grow in their walks with the Lord, both individually and collectively. 

    I pray that my daughter will become a Proverbs 31 woman and my son an Ephesians 5 man whether God grants them spouses or not.

    I pray for my children . . .

    —that God will be at work within them both to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).

    —that God will grant them a sense of excellence in doing things unto the Glory of God in the everyday activities of their lives (1 Thess. 4:1 and 4:10; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 1:20).

    —that they will know experientially that He alone is worthy to receive all glory, honor and praise and live their lives accordingly (Rev. 4:11; Rev. 5:1-11).

    I pray for my children . . .

    —that they will not be conformed to this world, but instead they will be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom. 12:1-2) and the washing of water with the Word (Eph. 5:26).

    —that they grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18), and

    —that they grow in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

    Simply put, I pray for my children . . . 

    —that they will walk with God all the days of their lives (Judges 2:7; 1 Sam. 1:11; Ps. 23:6), and

    —that we will see the fruits of a lifetime of walking with Jesus before His throne (Rev. 4:9-11). 

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    On 1/4/02011 12:03 PM, Kevin McAteer said... Great list, Greg!  I praise God for His grace toward you and Betsy as you have shepherded your children.
    On 1/4/02011 12:25 PM, Bobby Scott said... God bless you Greg. Thank you for your labor in love writing and sharing this. It is timely help to a father of six and very inspiring.
    On 1/4/02011 1:13 PM, Rob Thurman said... Thanks! This is wonderful counsel.

    On 1/4/02011 1:22 PM, Teri said... Beautifully written...if every parent read this and took the words to heart what a difference we would see in our world.  <3
    On 1/4/02011 1:28 PM, Greg Harris said...
    On 1/4/02011 2:40 PM, John Fast said... Thank you for taking the time to write this. It is encouraging to see that many of mine and Debbie's prayers for our own six children mirror yours and Betsy's. God has been very gracious to us, but I constantly feel the wait of my own inadequacy as a parent.
    From one fellow sojourner to another,

    On 1/4/02011 2:58 PM, Chris Grazor said... Thank you Dr. Harris.

    Very helpful for me and I plan on sharing this with many in the congregation where I serve.
    On 1/4/02011 6:02 PM, Tracy Hackney said... Thank you, Dr. Harris, for your words of wisdom.  What a blessing that you are passing on to others what God has taught you! 
    On 1/4/02011 8:34 PM, Sister Mary Margaret Day said... As, always, your teachings are a blessing from the Lord.  We thank Him for bringing you into our lives and helping us to walker closer to Him.   I praise Him for sparing you back in the 90's when you were so terribly ill, and I am thankful that your influence has become worldwide.  And what a differennt world it would be indeed if parents heeded your words here.  Jon and I pray daily that God will continue to use you to reach others for Him. 
    On 1/4/02011 10:30 PM, Fred Perry said... Thank You Dr. Harris, for the encouragement and the exhortation, as I wonder how well I am preparing my children to live for the glory of God, on this my oldest son's 17th birthday.
    On 1/5/02011 9:41 AM, Kurtis Massey said... Great words of encouragement.  Thank you for sharing your life with others, and being so transparent.  Your children reflect your diligent labor in their lives.  You are a benediction to the church.
    On 1/5/02011 12:28 PM, Jean D. Placide said... Thank you so much for these Biblical teachings. Certainly, they are great encouragement to my heart and wisdom to godly families for Biblical parenting. Please, keep sending these e-mail message for the benefit of God's people. 

    Thank you so much,
    On 1/5/02011 1:41 PM, Ricky Beck said... Thanks for sharing. I love how your prayers simply model the Biblical texts. Ben and Lauren have been a blessing to our family. 
    On 1/5/02011 10:02 PM, Kathy Henry said... Thank you my dear Pastor for sharing your words of wisdom with us regarding our children.  I have often wonder how to pray for my two step Sons, who are currently unsaved and not walking with the Lord.  These heartfelt, Holy Sprit inpired prayers are certainly a good model for me to follow.  We love you and Betsy and are looking forward to seeing you and meeting your dear Daugher Lauren this weekend at her wedding.  May our Lord God richly Bless you and your family! 
    On 1/6/02011 8:54 AM, Mike Sprott said... Thanks very encouraging!  I will post this in my own prayer journal to help direct my prayers for my children.
    On 1/6/02011 12:07 PM, James March said... Thank you Dr. Harris!   We so desire that our children will one day walk with the LORD.  Your teachings and example have always had an incredible impact on our family and ministry.   
    On 1/7/02011 12:18 PM, Tetta said... This will be used as a guide so that my prayers are effective. It is also helpful in examining myself and my walk as a Christ follower! Thank-you Dr. Harris for your insight.
    On 1/7/02011 2:03 PM, David Chambers said... Thanks so much Dr. Harris- as always you have hit the nail on the head and challenged me...

    On 1/8/02011 3:03 AM, Joshua Lee said... Dear Dr. Harris, Thank you for sharing these precious living truths with us. It's very timely.  Please pray that I will be committed to pray for my walk with the Lord, marriage, and children diligently. May the Lord use us to raise up three Prov 31 women and a Eph 5 man for His name's sake.  Thank you again for your ministry to TMS Alumni.
    On 1/10/02011 12:21 PM, Norma said... Thank you Lord for blessing me once more through  Your work in Dr Harris' life.
    Your Prayer For Your Children , Dr Harris, is a God sent list to me, prefect time as usual.
    Thank you Dr.  Harris once more for your obedience to our Lord and serving Him through your teaching and writings.

    On 1/11/02011 6:03 PM, ken, doris stough said... Greg/Betsy,  how gracious of you to keep teaching/mentoring us even hundreds of miles away.  We believe and take to heart what you have written.  We have trusted the Lord using some of these same verses as discipline and wisdom in rearing our children.  We trully believe, that many of the world teenage problems begins with the parents who are not fully committed to the Lord, therefore, are slack in implementing the scriptures by word & deed before our children.  It certainly does begin in the home with the parents knowing what scripture says in all aspects of our lives.  When we place the Lord Jesus first in our lives, the positive efffect will eventually cause our children to bow before the "great I am" and want more than anything, His blessing.  We are truly blessed with knowing your entire family, thank you helping mold our lives closer to Him & the teaching to our, children,&  grand-children, who now are modeling the Word to their lives.  Your family is such a blessing to us.  thank God for sending you all our way many, many years.   In Christ love, Ken & Doris
    On 8/7/02013 9:06 PM, Cathy Duhm said... I have so much to learn and pray about... Thank you. 
    On 8/20/02013 11:48 PM, Marie Ball said... Thankful for this as it brought tears to my eyes, prayers from a parent made wise & humble by the Lord. This must be how the Lord equips His children to do any work He prepares for us to do...first, He graciously reveals Himself to us so we know exactly who we are before Him. I love praying first as His child before praying as a parent to my child. Thank you for putting this together & sharing it w/us!!!!
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