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It’s hard to believe that our kids are already embarking on a new school year. It seems like just a few weeks ago they were getting out of school for the summer and many of us were making great plans as to what they were going to do during their summer hiatus from school. There were camps, retreats, mission trips, home projects, and family vacations. Some of us might have even had lofty plans to deepen and further our kids’ education during the summer. But then we woke up one morning to see advertisements everywhere for Back to School Specials and we knew it was now time to buy new school clothes, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, musical instruments, graphing calculators, etc.
Summer break is over and our kids are now beginning new grades, possibly at new schools, with new teachers, and even making new friends. Yes, it is the Back to School time of year. It is a very special time of year for both the kids and the parents. The new school year promises to bring new challenges and hopefully new heights to our kids as well as give each parent a new opportunity to desire and pray for what is best for their kids.
Today, I want to offer something very special you can do for your kids this school year. You can pray for them. Yes, I know many of you already pray for your children. Don’t stop praying the things you already pray for them. There are many things that we can be and should be praying for. And what I am about to suggest will by no means include everything. But I do want to give you somewhat of an outline by which you can pray for your kids each day of this school year.
A few days ago as I begin to ask God how I should pray for my son as he begins a new school year, I asked Him to show me something from Scripture as I didn’t really want to leave it up to my own imagination as to how I was going to pray. Within minutes, God drew me to a passage in Luke. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people (Luke 2:52 NLT). As I read that verse, I was reminded of the “big” prayer that we all should be praying for not only our kids, but for ourselves, to be more like Jesus Christ. Since this verse summed up Jesus’ youth, I thought why not use it as an outline as to how to pray for my son.
Luke 2:52 tells us that Jesus grew in four areas: wisdom (knowledge), stature (physical) and favor with God (spiritual) and others (social). I immediately thought of those four things as broad folders where each prayer I pray for my son would fit into one of those folders (although sometimes, a specific prayer might crossover between folders).
So today, I want to share with you things God has asked me to pray for and hopefully ignite things in your heart that you will want to pray for your children. It may not be anything new to you, but if nothing else, it will be a good reminder and perhaps an organized way of making sure you pray for these things.
Let’s look at some of the specific things we can pray for our kids in each of those four areas.
First, we want to pray for their wisdom and knowledge.
Quite often in Scripture, wisdom and knowledge are mentioned in the same verse. Although, they are not always interchangeable, they are often linked. Wisdom usually has to do with making good decisions whereas knowledge has to do with knowing the facts that might help make good decisions. We will talk more about spiritual wisdom later, but for this section of our prayers, I want to focus on praying for our kids’ academics.
We might already pray for them while they are taking major tests or giving presentations. But may I suggest we start praying for our kids BEFORE they take their tests or present their projects. Pray that they are able to stay focused while they are learning and studying their academic courses. We can pray that they more easily comprehend even some of the most difficult concepts. And we can pray that they will have a clear enough mind to be able to perform on their exams in such a way that God is glorified. For those of us who have children with special learning disabilities or shortcomings, it would especially be good for us to pray these things each day.
Allow me to also suggest that while they are studying academically, we should also pray that our kids will be able to determine what is of God and what is not. In this day and age, that goes beyond praying that they would not be confused by the teachings of evolution over creation, though that is still something we should pray for. It now stretches into praying that our kids will maintain a proper Christian view of the morality that is taught in schools today. This generation that is in school right now is learning ungodly behaviors under the guise of being politically correct and being tolerable. As parents, we MUST stand in the gap for our kids as they are subtly taught such ungodly doctrines.
Will you commit today to stand in the gap and pray for your kids that they will learn truth as they expand their knowledge?
Secondly, we want to look at how we can pray for our kids physically.
I think the number one thing expecting parents pray for before the birth of their child is that they would be born healthy. Let us not stop praying for their health now. Pray that they will remain disease and injury free. We never know if and when some physical complication might arise so we should be praying continually that God would keep them healthy and safe. If you have kids who are involved in sports or other extracurricular activities, pray for their safety during practices, games, and road trips. It could very well be that the prayers of their parents is what keeps them from suffering a serious injury.
In light of the tragedies at schools around our nation, I urge all parents to pray for the safety of their children and their classmates each day of school. Pray that God would not allow any person who might want do harm to our children to come anywhere near them.
Will you commit to praying for health and safety for your kids?
Third, we are told that Jesus grew spiritually.
Perhaps this should be our primary prayer as we take a prayer journey for our children. Obviously, we should pray first for their salvation. There is no greater joy a Christian parent can have than to see their son or daughter accept Christ as their Savior. An our second greatest joy should not stem from their academic, athletic, musical, or art successes, but rather when we see our kids growing deeper and stronger in their faith and love for God.
Praying for them spiritually is not so much about outward actions (though often our prayers will be answered with an outward manifestation of what is in their hearts), but is more about praying for their heart to fall in love with Christ and desire more than anything else to please Him. A few months ago, a friend of ours talked about her prayers for her kids and the phrase she used has stuck with me ever since. Her prayer was simple, yet profoundly deep, in that she prayed that God would capture her children’s hearts. Isn’t that what we all really want for our children? If God would truly capture their hearts then the result would be a life pleasing to God. Their focus would be more on God then the world. Another woman told me she prays for her grandchildren that they would never love anyone or anything more than they love Jesus. That would be God capturing their heart.
Will you commit to praying that God would capture the hearts of your children this year?
Finally, we are going to look at how to pray for our kids socially.
We all want our children to be happy and accepted by others. I know that when I was growing up, my parents spent many a tear-filled night in prayer because I was not socially accepted by others. Parents grieve for their kids when they don’t have friends or are ostracized from the group. Pray for your kids that they will be happy in being a part of a group of people that will help build them up and not tear them down.
One former classmate of mine said that she prays for her kids to be a blessing to others. What a great prayer. It would be hard for others to ostracize or put down someone who is constantly a blessing to them. This is a very biblical approach as well. Throughout the Gospels Jesus teaches that if you want to be great in God’s kingdom, then become the servant of everyone. I for one am praying for my son to learn how to be a blessing to others.
Those of you who have kids near or already into their teenage years, you are probably already praying for them in light of their teenage hormones. If they haven’t already, they are going to soon be interested in someone of the opposite sex and that brings about a whole new set of prayers. Even when they want to live for Christ, sometimes their infatuated hearts might try to override their Christian convictions. If you have teenagers, I suggest you pray that God protects their heart and does not allow them to “fall in love” with someone who does not have the same kind of relationship with God that they do. And even if they are seeing someone who is on the same path spiritually, pray that their hormones do not get in the way of a relationship that honors God.
Will you commit to praying that your kids are a blessing to others as well as praying that God will protect their hearts?
Our kids are too important just to sit by and hope everything turns out okay for them in each of the areas we’ve talked about. Yes, we should do whatever we can as parents to help them succeed in all these things, but our efforts can only take our kids so far. If they are truly going to succeed, then God has to work. And that is why we pray for them.
May you and your children have an outstanding school year and may God bless each of your lives this year.