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.
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.
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.
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.