By Tim Wesemann
You need to take a time out.
A whiny, upset, frustrated child hears those parent-initiated words as unwelcome words of discipline. But a whiny, upset, frustrated parent who hears them will break out into a happy dance! Yes! A time out! A break? Thank you! Perspective is a funny thing.
You need to take a time out. Yes, you do! Jesus is calling out to you to call out to him. It’s sometimes hard to hear his invitation over the din of everyday life—the beeps of your cell phone, the sound effects of your teen’s video games, the squeals of your kids as they play or provoke each other. Still, Jesus is calling: Take a time out. Go into your room. Shut the door. Pray to your unseen Father who sees everything that’s going on in your life. He wants to listen, answer, and bless.
While “time out” sounds like discipline (a.k.a. “punishment”) to a child, time out for prayer is an excellent discipline (a.k.a. “a practice that cultivates peace and hope”) for parents and children alike.
Learn to pray your children forward, praying them into the future God has in store for them. To pray them forward, you must first go back, back to the cross and empty tomb of the Savior. Day by day, come back to the cross, repentant and confessing your sins. Then ask Jesus to move you forward, forgiven. At the cross, Jesus heals the brokenness of your life, transforming you into his new creations. He makes it possible for you to move into your future praising your Savior and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead your prayers for your children in the days and years to come.
Also, look for times to pray with your children and, together, find ways to collect and record God’s responses to those prayers. As you pray aloud with your children, you teach them to pray. You model for them the honesty and trust the Holy Spirit wants to build in them—and in you.
I’m praying that the incomplete list below will serve as a starting point for your prayers:
- Pray that your children will always know and trust God’s love for them in the cross of Christ, his unconditional, unending, and unchangeable love—Romans 5:8; Romans 8:38–39; Psalm 103:17.
- Pray that they will daily discover and follow God’s will, daily thanking him for it—Psalm 25:4–5; 1 Thessalonians 5:16–23.
- Ask that God will create in them a deep desire for a Christ-centered life of service, whether in marriage or in the single life—1 Corinthians 7; Ephesians 5:15–33.
- Pray for their future “wardrobe choices,” that each day they will be clothed in Christ and will wear the armor of God—Colossians 3:12–17; Ephesians 6:10–20.
- Pray that they will be choosey in their friendships, choosing friends who will encourage them to stay faithful to their best friend, Jesus—Proverbs 17:17; John 15:13–15.
- Ask that they will be gifted as encouragers, and that this gift will amplify their other gifts—1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 12.
- Pray for the educators who teach them about God’s world and God’s Word, asking that your children would see how the latter impacts the former—Colossians 3:2.
- Ask that your children’s lives resemble a productive orchard, yielding a bumper crop of the Spirit’s fruit—Galatians 5:22–23; Philippians 1:11.
- Pray that your children will survive algebra, heartbreaks, and puberty—Joshua 1:9.
- Ask that your children’s children from generation to generation will continually and effectively proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior—Psalm 72:5; Psalm 78:4: Matthew 28:18–20.
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from Parents Pray with Hope.
Editor’s note: As you pray aloud with your children, you teach them to pray. You model for them the honesty and trust the Holy Spirit wants to build in them—and in you.