We know that prayer connects us to God. And we know that prayer changes things. But even with the best of intentions to pray, all the things we need to pray for can seem daunting… salvation, forgiveness, health, finances, friends, neighbors, co-workers, prayers for the gospel to be spread here, near and far, prayers for our spouse, prayers for what our kids currently need and for their futures, for our country and the government, for the hurting, for the homeless. And then there are prayers of thanksgiving and worship. So how can we make praying the scriptures for our family a part of the natural part of our lives?
Having a plan… A PRAYER PLAN.
I like to think I’m a “fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl” as Julia Roberts’ character says in the movie Pretty Woman. C’mon, spontaneous is fun, right?
But if I’m being honest with myself, I know that having a plan is good for me. It allows me to focus, to wrap my head around what needs to be done.
Just think about it, how productive would you be at work or with housework if you didn’t have a plan? How well would you do with workout and nutrition goals if you didn’t have a plan?
Not only do I use a plan to help me now, but to help me forecast my tomorrows. My calendar shows me what things my week will hold. I know what the overarching plan will be for my family. But then I can break that week down to look at each of my boys specifically. Where will they need more of my support and time during the week?
That projection helps me to prepare daily. Each night before going to bed, I check my calendar for the next day. What can I prepare for now so we’re not rushed tomorrow? I’m already planning my outfit, my housework, my to-do list, and our meals for tomorrow TODAY!
I can still be spontaneous sneak in a family adventure to the beach, have friends over for a BBQ, or allow my minivan to steer me into the Target parking lot for an extended shopping trip. But I prioritize my must-dos before my can-dos.
If we put this much effort into making sure our lives run as smoothly as possible, why wouldn’t we put a plan in place for making sure we communicate with our creator, the author and perfector of our lives, our Lord and Savior?
Insert guilt that feels like a gut punch.
Insert freak out realizing how much praying up I need to do.
Insert desperation to help me remember to pray for all. the. stuff.
So joining the world of acronym-lovers, I hopped online in search of an acronym for PLAN. Acronyms always help you remember things, right?
My friend Google provided a list of nerd-a-nyms. The acronyms seemed to be company-specific or so smart-sounding my brain wasn’t even sure what it was talking about. There was nothing that would go on a motivational poster… except one.
Planned Lifetime Assistance Network
Isn’t that a great way to describe how we should view prayer? As a lifetime of planned communication with the one who made us?
God didn’t make us and then say, “Hey, good luck in this life. I’ll see ya if you make it to heaven.”
Heck no! Our God planned to walk with us every step of this life. He planned to speak to us through His word. He planned a way for us to be free from sin and bondage by gifting us his son, whom he allowed to suffer and die, so that sin would no longer rule our hearts, but rather His grace and love.
God planned to stay close to us by allowing the Holy Spirit to live in us. And He is always ready to listen when his children come to him in prayer.
When we go to God in prayer, we are connecting with Him. We offer up our deepest hurts and desires to him. With a humble heart, we tell him that we can’t do this on our own. We open our hands and the grip we try to control our circumstances with, and we cry out “Lord, I want to obey you. I want to honor you. I want to give you full control over my life and over my kids. Lord, I need your help!”
Please hear my heart… I do not want a Prayer Plan to hinder your ability to go to God spontaneously when you need to talk to Him. I don’t want your plan to make your prayer life so rote that it becomes another checklist for you to work through. Rather, my desire is to use this as a guide to complement your daily quiet time and prayer practices.
I know that there are many areas of my boys’ lives that I need to be more committed to praying for. It’s hard to think of my tweens getting married or how they will bless the world and the workforce with their gifts. So using a Prayer PLAN and prayers backed with Scripture will help us stay steadfast in partnering with God and allowing Him to reign in their lives.
Just as the use of a calendar in our daily lives helps us stay on track of our priorities, so will having a Prayer Plan.
Consider this, for the most part, we know the steps our children will make… preschool, elementary school, middle school (or junior high), high school, college, find a job, find a spouse, have kids.
We have an overarching view of what their future looks like. However, looking closer, I see that my middle child who tends to be more challenging and emotional may need more grace and understanding than my other boys. Likewise, my prayers for him to have self-control, to make wise decisions, and be willing to submit to God’s authority are at a deeper level of intentionality than they are for the other boys who don’t struggle the same way.
Having a Prayer Plan helps me focus on the specifics that I should be praying for my children both now and for the person they are becoming. It reminds me to pray for their relationship now and for their future spouses. It helps me remember that my response to and assistance in developing their giftings may affect how they use them in their future jobs or ministry.
Praying deep, specific prayers for my children is part of my mission as their parent. Yes, we each have a mission in life and part of that is to be God-honoring parents raising God-fearing children.
So to help us stay accountable to our mission as parents and to guide us in praying the scriptures for our families, I’ve created a free download for you to work through.
Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “my word… will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
My friend, your prayers are heard. Your prayers will be answered. Maybe not quite the way you hope, but as God orchestrates the events in your life and for your family, he acknowledges your requests and will work them according to his plan.
Using a Prayer Plan will help you communicate those requests to God, it will help you stay consistent in your prayers, and may even help you take some of the worries out of your parenting.
Praying God’s best for you,
Feeling angry, overwhelmed, or anxious? Visit MsAlishaCarlson.com for three simple steps to help you keep calm with your kids.