He went to bed mad, his little 6-year old fists balled up tight and a heart hard with anger.
I tried to give him space to cool down, so we could talk together but exhaustion won and I found him asleep, with a great big frown on his face.
There have been plenty of nights when someone in our family has gone to sleep before resolving a quarrel, but that night in particular didn’t feel right. Seeing my boy deep in sleep with anger written all over his face broke my heart.
Instead of waking him, feeling defeated, or dismissing the situation, I started to pray.
For ten minutes, I sat there, pouring out my heart to God on behalf of my little boy.
Surprisingly (or maybe not), my son — who only moments before had been in a deep sleep — came walking into my room with compassion written on his young face. “I’m so sorry, Mom, for the way I disobeyed and talked back to you.” My boy walked straight into my arms, and God restored our relationship as we prayed together.
Repentance is what I had prayed for. Not an apology or a good night’s sleep or to be excused from his sin. I asked God to lead my son to repentance — that even in his sleep, God would convict him of sin and stir in him sincere remorse over what he had done. I prayed for bitterness to not take root but that God’s grace would do a deep work in my son.
Of all of the times I’ve seen God show up in the hearts of my kids and show me that he hears our prayers, this moment sits at the top. The moment was profound but also convicting, as I thought of all the times when prayer was my last resort rather than my first choice.
Of course there have been times before and after when I’ve prayed a similar prayer and seen different results, but I don’t pray to control the situation. I pray to release my will and seek God’s.
We cannot control the hearts of our kids.
There will be countless times when we don’t know what to do as parents — we won’t know what to say or how to act, or which way to guide and lead and influence.
We may feel helpless, but God is not. Where we can’t reach them, God can.
He knows their hearts and he is the one who can meet them where they are, doing a work we could never do. So why don’t we spend more time seeking God’s heart for our kids and praying his will for their hearts?
One of the most powerful things we can do as parents is pray for our kids. I learned this as one who is prayed for, and now as the one who is praying.
Even today, when I walk into my grandparent’s home at breakfast, I find my 92-year old Grandpa holding the hand of my 90-year old Grandma as they sit and pray for every. single. child, grandchild, and great grandchild of theirs by name.
I am convinced that God has saved me and spared me from a very different life because of the faithful, faith-filled prayers of my grandparents. They have devoted themselves to prayer on my behalf, and my life is changed because of it. I want my kids to be able to say the same thing.
“The battle for our children’s lives is waged on our knees. When we don’t pray, it’s like sitting on the sidelines watching our children in a war zone getting shot at from every angle. When we do pray, we’re in the battle alongside them, appropriating God’s power on their behalf. If we also declare the Word of God in our prayers, then we wield a powerful weapon against which no enemy can prevail” (Stormie Omartian).
Lord, by your incomprehensible love for us, you sent your Son to die that we might call you Father and be adopted as your children. You invite us into the most intimate Holy of Holies through the shed blood of Jesus. God, may we be men and women who come! Draw us in, Lord, that through our prayers, we might go before our children in every way. May they walk no road that hasn’t already been covered in our prayers for them. Make us parents who pray for our kids and through our prayers, transform our families for your glory. Thank you, Lord, for the work you are doing and will do in our hearts, in our kids, and in our families as we draw near to you.
Learning to be faithful,
Erika // erikadawson.com
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