Praying for my kids

I struggle with praying for my kids. I’m don’t feel like I’m good at it compared to how other women talk about praying.  Once I start comparing myself to others, I can’t find peace about my prayer life.

Before I became a mom, I would hear women declare proudly that they prayed for the future spouse of their child.  I’d look at the sweet darling toddler with snot running down his chin and think “lady, you’re nuts.”

I didn’t get it.

My grandmother was a prayer warrior.  I grew up secure in the knowledge that she prayed for me every day, whether I wanted it or not.  When she passed, I worried that she wasn’t there to pray for my own children.

The weight of that responsibility felt heavy on my shoulders. I felt incredibly inadequate compared to my grandmother.

praying for my kids

For a time after her death, praying for my children felt like a burden. I was convinced that if I didn’t pray the right stuff at the right times then something horrible would happen. If they got in trouble at school, I worried that it was my fault for not praying the right thing that day.

(Yes, I know that’s not how it works.)

I’ve gotten better, but praying for my kids is still a struggle.  I still struggle to find peace.

Praying for my kids is hard work.

The honest truth is that sometimes (when my kids are driving me crazy) I don’t know what to pray for them.

When they’ve been hurtful and mean spirited, a huge part of me doesn’t even WANT to pray for them.

Instead, I find myself wanting to go tattle on my kids in a big whining prayer.  I’m not exactly following in my grandmother’s footsteps.

We had one of those nights recently, the kind where after the kids are safely tucked into bed I spent the next twenty minutes in tears because things were just so messy and ugly.  I knew I needed to pray…. for wisdom, for healing, for my son’s troubled spirit.  I couldn’t.  All I could think was “God, I just… can’t.  Help.”

Instead of praying, I started thinking about that crazy lady I used to know that prayed for her future daughter in law while changing her son’s diaper.

I got it.

Even when I couldn’t pray, I took comfort in the thought that somewhere, some other mother was quite possibly praying for her future son in law. I drew strength from the idea that another mom was praying for my son to grow in wisdom and strength of character.  Even though I might not meet her for years, this other mom and I were already in agreement, praying in unison for the future of our children.

Prayer unites.

If the mother of his future wife wasn’t praying, then perhaps his first girlfriend’s mom was.  Or the mother of his best friend. Or his teacher. Or the amazing prayer warrior friend on Facebook that knows I raise strong willed boys.  Or some woman halfway across the country burdened to pray for a generation of boys.  Or…

Suddenly, my world felt full of people who were praying for my son.

My world also felt full of people who were quite possibly praying for ME as well.

I found peace.

As I thought about all those other people who were (theoretically) praying for my family, I didn’t worry if they were doing it “right.” I wasn’t concerned that one of them might be considered an “amateur prayer” instead of a full blown prayer warrior. I wasn’t interested in if they used fancy words or had a method or anything. I was just comforted to know that they were there and that God was listening to their hearts.

finding peace when prayer is a struggle

Now, put yourself in my shoes.

That crazy woman praying for her child’s future spouse could just as easily be praying for your child.  The woman burdened to pray for an entire generation is including your baby along with mine.  Some crazy blogger lady has probably prayed for you and your family today.

Someone has prayed over your child (and you), even if you didn’t.

Take comfort in that.

Then pay it forward.

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Do you honestly think God would stop caring about you, or them, if you had an awkward or “off” prayer day? I don’t think you have to “pray hard” to have a conversation with God – you don’t even have to SPEAK. The times I worry are the times I get frustrated and angry, and then my prayer is “Give my children the life you know they deserve, not the retribution I might want for them in a moment of anger that sounds a little like prayer!”

    • Holly, about 99.99% of the time, my answer is NO. As long as I’m a sane, rational human being I’m fine. But I’ve struggled with that irrational fear before. I knew it was wrong. I knew it wasn’t how prayer works and that the whole idea was topsy turvy. That the tough part of irrational fears – they hang on long after we confront them with logic.

      So yes… when W would come home with a bad note from school, my first reaction was that it was all my fault because I hadn’t remembered to pray for him at lunch (or some other nonsense). Talk about a twisted and sick way to beat myself up!

      The good news is that once I recognize the thought pattern, I can put a stop to it. I can have the irrational fear and not believe it or act on it. That’s part of the whole “take every thought captive” idea that Paul wrote about.

      The thought process in my head looks something like this:

      Oh no! It’s all my fault for not praying for exactly six minutes at exactly 11:23am during lunch. And did I remember to say that special scripture this morning before school?

      That’s not how it works.

      I’m being irrational again.

      Once again. I can NOT control my son’s behavior through prayer. I am NOT in control of my child. Prayer is NOT a lucky charm.

      After that, I move on with dishing out the consequence for whatever mishap there was at school. At times, that includes praying for wisdom because I honestly don’t know what a logical consequence is for “loud thinking.” (Although the default of losing screen time and having to go to bed early seems to work just fine.)

      Right after my Grandmother died, I did feel a huge burden because I knew the family had lost a prayer warrior. I’ve spoken with other moms who feel that same mantle of responsibility to pray for their family. The logic is along the lines of “if I don’t, who will?”

      When prayer starts feeling like an unwelcome burden (and yet one more thing to put on the to-do list) then something is wrong. Prayer is an honor and a privilege. We’re supposed to ENJOY prayer. When I took a step back and really looked at how many other people were potentially praying for my kids, the whole thing became a little less overwhelming and I could once again enjoy the process.

      Because I know I’m not the only mom to struggle with this topic, I wanted to share what I’ve learned – even the messy and irrational parts.

      • Oh, I’m GLAD you share the “messy and irrational” parts – you could read some mommy blogs and think Donna Reed had been reincarnated, and you must be the world’s biggest slacker mom…

        I just wanted to know if you really thought that way about it – because I’m pretty sure God’s there whether you’re actively talking to God or not. The sky won’t fall in because you didn’t pray for it just right. 🙂 Tornadoes happen to good people and bad people; consequences follow actions, and they’re not all actions within your control. But you’re loved, and your kids are great. They’ll turn out just fine.
        Holly Jahangiri recently posted..There’s a New Book in Town: A New Leaf for LyleMy Profile

  2. işte size ayakkabı almanın en iyi yolu..

  3. Praying for children. Good idea, i will recommend to my spouse..:-)

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