Can we talk parent-to-parent for a few minutes? (If you’re not a parent, feel free to forward this to any parents you know.) Last week I announced that my new book – Bible Praying for Parents – is coming out soon. I even invited you to join the launch team.
You might be asking, But why do we even need this book? Actually, my answer is simple: Our kids need to be prayed for. And you and I need to be the ones praying for them. This book is a simple, hands-on, practical tool to help you (and when I say “you” I mean “me!”) put the desire and need for prayer into action.
I thought about writing a whole post on this. Then I thought, “Um…Keith…didn’t you already write an entire chapter about this in a previous book?”
Yup. I did that. And since that book is self-published, I’m not breaking any copyright laws by printing the entire chapter immediately below this paragraph. Enjoy!
Taken from Principle 6 in my book Like Ice Cream. Click here to download 1/3 of the book for free.
I don’t pray for my kids enough. There…I said it. I know I should. I certainly want them to grow up knowing and loving God and His Word. And I know the Word tells me that, through prayer, I have access to the very Throne Room of the Almighty. And yet, I don’t pray for my kids nearly enough. How about you?
I am convinced that prayer is essential if the next generation is going to grow in their love and knowledge of the Word. This chapter is not going to explore all the different ways we can pray for our children. There are many tremendous books already written on that subject. I simply want to lay out four areas where prayer is vital when it comes to the next generation falling in love with God’s Word.
Pray for God to draw them.
In John 6, Jesus is talking to a pretty hostile crowd. Understandable, since He’s talking about being the “bread of life” coming down from the Father, eating His flesh, and drinking His blood! In the middle of this conversation (verse 44) He says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Jesus must be pretty serious about this, because 21 verses later, as the crowd is getting increasingly hostile, He says again, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
Do we believe this? Do we really believe that the next generation can’t come to Jesus unless the Father draws and enables them? More pointedly…Do we pray as if we believe it? As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, my answer is sadly, “No.” But I need to. And I am getting better.
If we really believed this, wouldn’t we be on our knees, pleading with the Father to draw our children to Himself and enable them to come to Him? When it comes to praying for my kids, my life needs to reflect much more clearly what I say I believe in my head.
Pray for them to love God’s Word.
Our kids are bombarded with messages about who they are (see Principle Five), what they should do, what they should have, and how they should live. As you well know, many of these messages are contrary to what Scripture tells us. How are they going to be able to discern the truth from the lie without a love and understanding of God’s Word?
This might sound harsh, but it is not enough for them to believe the Bible is true. Without a love for God’s Word they won’t read it. They won’t engage in conversations about it. They won’t talk to their friends about it. And the messages – while true – will get lost in the noisy tidal wave of untrue messages.
We need to pray that the next generation will believe the Bible’s veracity – and that they will like it! Pray that they will see the life in the Living Word of God. Pray that they will have engaging, fun, thoughtful conversations about what they read. Pray that their souls will resonate – and even rejoice! – when they hear the truths of Scripture. Pray that the Bible will be so true and so enjoyable that every false message will be so obviously false that they won’t even be tempted to believe it.
Pray for the people around them to love God and His Word.
As my kids get older, they are spending an increasing amount of time away from Kari and me. School. Friends. Athletic teams. I know that as the years go by this trend will only increase. Thankfully, many of their friends love Jesus. And yet, several come from homes of different faith backgrounds – or no faith at all. Kari and I have no desire to isolate our kids from any relationships with nonbelievers. After all, we do want them to “go into all the world and make disciples!” (Mt. 28)
And so we pray. We pray that their friends who already know Jesus would be strengthened in their faith and their own love for God’s Word. We pray that their friends who don’t know Jesus would come to know Him and the joy and peace that knowing Him brings. We pray that our kids and their friends would “administer God’s grace in its various forms” (I Peter 4:10) in their schools, on their teams, with their friends, and throughout our neighborhood.
Pray for protection.
There is one last element of this principle we need to address before wrapping up this chapter. It is something we don’t talk about very frequently in our homes and churches. It has to do with the opposition. Put clearly: The next generation has an enemy. You have an enemy.
Your children have an enemy. The students in your youth group have an enemy. The adorable, innocent kids in your Sunday school classes have an enemy. I am not trying to over-dramatize this, but all throughout the Bible,
God takes the devil pretty seriously. We rarely do. Take a look at these words from the end of Peter’s first letter:
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)
All too often, we talk generically about the “impact of culture” or “peer pressure.” Don’t get me wrong, these are important topics and need to be discussed and addressed. But rarely do we talk about the specific attack our kids and students are under by the one who seeks to deceive them and destroy them. Rarely do we remind our kids that the devil is prowling around. Rarely do we remind them that he is trying to devour them. Yes, it sounds harsh. And it is exactly that harshness that should jolt us into praying fervently for the next generation!
If someone were trying to physically harm one of my kids, it would not take any thought whatsoever to determine whether I would help them. Of course I would instantly fight back! I wouldn’t stop fighting off the attacker until my kids were either safe or I was dead.
The last thing the devil wants is for the next generation to be in the habit of regularly entering into and developing a relationship with God through His Word. He knows how dangerous that is! And so he is on the attack. And his attack is on many levels from many angles.
Praying for your children or students is the most effective way to combat this. The stakes are simply too high not to pray.
A prayer for your children and students
Lord Jesus, I pray that would fall in love with Your Word. May Your Father draw them to You. (John 6:44) May they hide Your Word in their hearts, that they might not sin against You. (Ps 119:11) May they meditate on it day and night, so that they may be careful to do everything written in it. (Joshua 1:8) Protect them from the attacks of the devil. (I Peter 5:8) And may they say along with David, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Ps 119:97)