During my last round of extended depression, something that came to light was my lack of prayer over my children. Oh, I prayed for them - randomly throughout the day, when they would fight, when I didn't know what to do, at bedtime, and desperately in the middle of the night when a little one showed up at my bedside.
But I didn't make it a definite priority, and I wasn't usually praying proactively. I wasn't treating prayer as if it was the. most. important. thing we can do for our kids.
Without God, I build my house on sand, and I'll probably tear it down accidentally myself before a sneaker wave even has a shot at it. But me and God together (ok, me praying from my smallness and God doing all the work), we can build a house on solid ground that will withstand any storm. I wrote here about how I truly believe the most powerful thing my mother did for me was to pray.
God always seems to bring things up in a number of ways when He's trying to get my attention. As usual, conviction to change the way I pray hit me on a number of fronts. Sally Clarkson's books are great for reminding a mother of Whom she serves her children for, and I have read and reread a number of them lately. We're talking underlines, margin notes, and dog-eared pages. Good stuff. Another book I loved is Praying Circles Around Your Children , available in a short ebook from Amazon. (affiliate link.) If you're looking for practical tips on praying for your children, this book is helpful.
Yet another source of persuasion and inspiration came from a blog post on Lil Light O' Mine. Actually, there are several sets of prayer posts worth reading on the Lil Light O'Mine blog, but the post I want to share right now is about choosing a verse and praying it consistently over your children for a year. From the post:
Here’s the nitty gritty: I pick one verse for each child and pray it for a year, ideally everyday. I choose the verse around the new year, trace their little hand and write the verse on it. I try to think about what the year ahead will be like for them, any big milestones or new challenges they might be facing. . . like starting preschool or making new friends. Sometimes it's hard to know, especially when they are little, so sometimes it's a verse about something I'm praying they learn about who God is. For example, last year Mac was a newborn so I prayed Psalm 4:6-8 for him. I figured that if he was a joyful baby and a good sleeper, we could deal with the rest!
I loved the little hands with verses, and I just happened to already have my children's hands traced and cut out, abandoned from a Valentine's project that never happened. I read this post and then looked right below the monitor to these paper hands and knew what I had to do. I love it when God's so direct like that.
|see that pile of paper hands, just waiting for a project?|
This is a long rambly way of saying I started praying verses over my kids, especially at night when tucking them in. I can tell that they are listening more closely too, since these prayers are more than just the usual prayer of "please dear God in Heaven, grant this child's mother more wisdom and patience tomorrow. . . " Wyatt, in particular, has started asking all these questions about God, and how we were made, and where God lives and what is Easter about anyway? It was really interesting to see his mind start wondering in ways it hadn't before. Charlotte has also noticed the change, and watches me closely when I pray for her, giving an emphatic "amen!" at the end. Ava doesn't say much, but she listens closely, and slips her hand silently into mine while I'm praying.
Most of all, I realized God was asking me to step up my game in my parental prayer life, and I did. The lesson I learn over and over again is this: obedience brings peace. I do so love that peace.
Since this post is getting lengthy, I decided to break it up, which makes it seem like I didn't ramble on for quite so long. Back tomorrow with the rest (and more important part) of the story.