There are many stages in a parent’s life. We wear many hats and we bear much responsibility. My children range in age from 7 to 21. I’m fairly confident in my ability to parent young children and even adolescents. (Can one ever be truly confident when it comes to raising teenagers?) The area of parenting where I have the least amount of experience is that of being a parent to adult children.
Over the past couple of years I have struggled to know exactly what my role is in their life is. I have found it difficult to find the balance between being too overbearing and too hands off. I have struggled with knowing when to open my mouth and offer wisdom, and when to keep it shut. I have worried about pushing them out of the nest too soon. And I have also had to navigate giving a gentle push when a child needed to spread their wings and leave the safety of the nest.
I remember when my oldest daughter was first learning how to drive. The very thought of her getting in a car and driving somewhere alone terrified me. An older and wiser mom told me, “This is when you really learn how to pray.” I thought about those words and took them to heart. I decided that whenever worry for my children would creep into my heart and mind, I would pray. My prayer life has grown exponentially since the day my daughter got her license and drove herself to work nearly five years ago.
I have always believed in the power of prayer. I have always prayed for my children. All of them. But, I am finding that my chief role in my adult children’s lives is that of personal prayer warrior. My husband and I both take this role very seriously. We pray together for our children and we pray on our own. Sometimes we are surprised to learn that we have both been praying for the exact same things even though we never discussed it with each other. And other times we have prayed very different prayers for our children. Just as we often balance each other out in life, we seem to balance each other out in our prayers for our children.
Our children have been raised in the church. They have been homeschooled. Somehow I always thought that raising them this way meant that they wouldn’t have to struggle with certain things. I was wrong. My children have struggled with hard things. And as a mother, I have stormed the gates of hell in prayer for my children.
Maybe you think that praying is naïve. However, I can tell you from first-hand experience that prayer moves mountains. And I have seen mountains moved in my children’s lives. There are mountains still to be moved, but I am fully confident that even when I cannot see what the Lord is doing, He is working in my children’s lives.
One reason why I believe so much in the power and the importance of a parents prayers is because of my own life. I was raised by a single mom who prayed every day for my brother and I. Her specific prayer was that the Lord would step in and be our father. She knew her insufficiencies. She knew she could not do this on her own. I didn’t know that she prayed that prayer but as I became a woman I came into a very deep relationship with the Lord. I truly know him as my father. My heavenly father has loved me, cared for me, protected me, led me out of dark places and blessed me. I know that my mom’s prayers for my brother and I have been absolutely instrumental in our lives.
Sometimes as parents you will feel prompted to pray for your children in specific ways. Yesterday, at about the same time, my husband and I both prayed, separately, for our daughter’s safety. About five minutes after I prayed for her, the phone rang. It was the call that I have been dreading for years. My daughter was in a car accident. She’s OK. She’s sore and bruised and has a concussion. Her car is totaled. But she is safe. I called my husband to tell him and he responded, “I was just praying that God would protect her today!” Would the end results have been the same if my husband and I had not prayed for her? I don’t know. Maybe. However, I do believe that God put that prompting in both of our hearts to pray for her. And I am glad that we obeyed.
So, I just wanted to hop on here to encourage other parents to pray for your children. Pray for them daily. Pray for them when you’re worried about them. Pray for them when thoughts of them pop into your head. And pray for them when you feel prompted to do so. One of your most important jobs as a parent is to cover your children in prayer. Prayer is not just positive thinking. Prayer is powerful communication with God, who loves our children more than we can even imagine.