Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

3 Things I Pray for My Kids

My kids are two of the great evidences of God's grace toward me. My daughter, Ava is 3 1/2 and my son, Ryder is 1 1/2. If you have kids then you know that parenting is both a blessing and a burden. Kids (much like adults) can be selfish, draining, and difficult. Kids do not always listen and often have strong wills of their own (i.e. Ava is currently crying in her bed as I write because she doesn't want to go to bed...we do this every night -  is the crying really necessary?)

As my kids get older I continue to learn one lesson above the rest:

Only the grace of God can shape and change the hearts and behaviors of my kids.

Sure, Tami and I can, should, and do discipline and instruct them, but only the power of God by the grace of God can truly change them. This is why I pray for my kids. I pray for them each morning and I pray with and over them each night before they go to sleep (I also pray for them throughout the day, particularly when I feel like they're winning and I'm losing my mind).

Here are the 3 things I pray for them each day:

1.  Save Them

There are many days you look forward to when you have kids - first steps, first words, first day of school, first car, graduation, their wedding and on and on. While I'm excited to experience all of these moments with my kids, God willing, there is no day I look forward to like the day when they will put their faith in Jesus. By God's grace, Tami and I will always do all we can to shepherd our kids toward Jesus, but  only God can save them. They cannot inherit my faith and I cannot force them to follow Jesus. Their eternity rests in the hands of a much greater Father. So each night as I put them down I put my hands on their heads and ask the Holy Spirit to awaken their hearts to believe in and on Jesus.

2. Help Them

Each child comes with unique challenges. For instance, Ryder currently goes ballistic each and every time he does not get his way. He's been known to throw his food, hit anyone and anything in the near vicinity, and cry harder than a prepubescent girl at a Justin Bieber concert. He's a toddler, so reasoning with him is less than effective which leaves me feeling largely helpless and frustrated in these moments. Because I have so little control over issues like these I find myself praying more frequently, asking God to help both Ava and Ryder with whatever challenges they're currently facing. So tonight when I put Ryder down I sang "Old MacDonald" to him (his pick, not mine) and I prayed that God could continue to help him learn to control his anger.

3. Grow Them

Thus far parenting seems to be one long series of transitions. First, it was sleeping through the night and then it was transitioning from milk to baby food. Later we transitioned from crawling to walking, followed by learning to talk. Then there's the potty training, dressing themselves, preschool, and...you get the idea. While I've watched my kids struggle through each of these transitions, I have started to be more intentional about praying them through the transitions as well. This year Ryder will ditch the pacifier and begin potty training, so I'm currently praying that God would grow and prepare him for both of these. Ava has started preschool and will be moving into her own room, God willing (Her crying didn't stop, by the way, so's she's currently sleeping next to me and you can bet I'll be praying about this fiasco in the morning), so each day I pray and ask that God would grow her in such a way that she would be ready for these transitions.

Parenting is by far the hardest thing I've ever done, but praying for my kids has brought deeper peace in my efforts. I continue to remind myself that my kids have a perfect heavenly Father who can save them, change them, and grow them. This means my job ultimately is to point them to Him and prayer is the primary means He's given me to do so.

Question: How and what do you pray for your kids? To leave a comment click here...

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