“No” to his prayer request-because it’s your turn to pray
My response to my sons prayer request was “No”. Please, hear me out. If you know anything about me, it’s that I take prayer seriously. I pray for my kids every day, all day (okay, maybe not ALL day, but quite a number of times throughout). However, I realized one day that my son was beginning to lean on my prayer life to be a replacement for his own prayer life. That’s when I knew I had to set a few things straight.
I explained to him that we should be in prayer for each other, because prayer changes things (1 John 5:14), but my prayers are not a replacement for HIS relationship with God. We’re supposed to individually bring our difficulties to the Lord and lay them at His feet (Matthew 11:28). There are things that God wants to speak right into the heart of the individual.
So here’s 3 steps that we’re taking together to strengthen both his prayer life, his dependence on the Lord more than his dependence on me, while taking responsibility of his own actions:
I’ve created a new set of prayer cards specifically for my kids. It’s not only a way for adults, but for my kids to not forget what they’re prayer needs are. Just like me, their days are busy and they can forget to take a moment to go to God with their needs. I’m encouraging my son to keep these with them. Now I don’t expect that he’ll be pulling these out rather than running around at recess; but if while rummaging through his bag for a pencil or a book, and happens upon them, he’s more inclined to remember his request and maybe lift it to the Lord.
In the same way that we as adults need to be running to the Word for direction, so do the tiny humans we’re raising. I carry around Bible verses in a book, I have different verses for different situations/needs. He and I have been sitting together to go through the Word and write down verses to remind him that God is with him & understand his needs, and even some encouragement to get him through the challenges he’s facing. This is a great way to introduce the fact that the Word of God is our handbook for life.
Figure out what’s in the way
Lastly, we made a plan to navigate obstacles. We go over some actionable items that need to happen for him to move forward in assured victory. What’s hindering him from focusing his full attention on a task, or what’s taking up his time that could be better spent working through difficulties or studies?
My prayer is that encouraging him to take this step in maturing his spiritual life and taking control of his decision making process, he begins to grow in confidence. I pray that he begins to understand that both of these things takes work, and good old stick-to-itiveness. God allows us each to go through trials to teach us something, He’s not a magic genie that’ll poof all his problems away, but rather a loving God who wants to have a relationship and meet us in our needs.
His walk with God is not something that belongs to me or his father, but to him alone. It’s also not a cure all for getting out of unwanted consequences to his unfortunate choices.