Imagine a busy street near your home. Can you visualize it? Now, picture yourself crossing it. It might be a bit risky, but with perfect timing, you could manage it. But what if your child had to cross the road alone? Most of us would probably say, “No way!”
As our children grow, we gradually allow them to navigate the road. First, it’s just in the neighborhood, chasing after a runaway ball (after checking both ways, of course!). We anxiously watch them the first few times. Eventually, we trust that they can play independently, with occasional check-ins, knowing that they remember what we’ve taught them. Then come outings to the park with friends or sleepovers. And so it continues.
One day they’ll take the wheel of your car, and you’ll find yourself dramatically pumping your imaginary brakes, with your shoulders so tense they practically touch your ears. Then come college, new relationships, and career choices that make you feel like you can’t breathe (my high school senior mentioned wanting to be an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician last year, and he’s currently in the process of enlisting in the military).
As our children grow, we learn the delicate balance of when to speak up and when to listen. But what we can always do, every single time, is pray.
Life is chaotic and can be messy. No matter how hard we try to shield our children, there will always be cars on the busy street of life. Eventually, our children have to navigate the journey on their own. The amazing thing about God is that He gives us free will. Our children will make choices and face challenges beyond our control. But as we cover them in prayer, from head to toe, we allow God to steer them, intervene when He chooses to, and guide their steps. He will never abandon them to cross that road alone.
Establishing a Habit with Biblical Affirmations
At first, developing our prayer muscle can feel daunting. Like any habit, it starts with consistency. One way to begin is by incorporating Scripture into your prayers. For example, try praying Romans 12:2 (ESV) over your children: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” What a powerful declaration to speak over our children!
Sharon Jaynes’ new book, Praying for Your Child from Head to Toe: A 30-Day Guide to Powerful and Effective Scripture-Based Prayers, is a fantastic resource that provides prayers based on Scripture covering sixteen areas of a child’s life. It literally covers them from their thoughts (the head) to their gifts and talents (the hands) to the path they choose (the feet). This guide can be used repeatedly, as our children will always need our prayers as they grow and continue journeying through the busy streets of life.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) beautifully reinforces the importance of prayer:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”