For many years, the word “prayer” brought up feelings of guilt and frustration. After all, good Christian moms pray all the time about everything, right? I just knew I was blowing it when it came to praying for my kids.
I didn’t pray often enough.
I didn’t pray hard enough.
I didn’t pray specifically enough.
I must not love my kids enough.
I must not love God enough.
Those negative emotions held me back even more from approaching God in prayer. It wasn’t until a crisis—when prayer was all that I had left—that [Tweet “God began showing me that prayer brings freedom, not guilt and shame.”]
Prayer is the act of placing my children in God’s hands. It’s realizing I cannot protect them from harm. I can’t teach them everything they need to know. I can’t give them real happiness or make their dreams come true. I can’t make them be good or save their souls. Compared to what God can do, I can’t do much. There is freedom in taking those burdens off of myself and placing them on the Lord in prayer.
How can prayer set you free?
Freedom from fear
I can’t always protect my children in their own back yard, much less from danger and violence in the world around us. If I make it my job to keep them totally safe, I become a controlling worrier who won’t let them out of my sight. Through prayer, God gives me wisdom in setting safe boundaries and the assurance that he’s watching over them even when I can’t.
Freedom from anger
Our daughters can push all our buttons. They bend the truth. They come home late. They argue and complain. They blow off their responsibilities. They resist our rules and limits. No matter how faithfully we teach them or discipline by the book, we see obedience as a hopeless dream. Through prayer, I place responsibility for my daughter back where it belongs. Only God can change her heart. Only God can motivate her to grow and mature. It soothes my frustration and frees me to accept her just as she is today. I can forgive her weaknesses and trust God will work in her life at the perfect time.
Freedom from control
It’s tempting to think I know the path my daughter should take. It’s easy to move from enjoying her talents to pushing for achievement and perfection. We can manipulate her social life to steer her to the ‘right’ friends. We can ‘help’ with homework to guarantee an A. We can stay up late researching colleges and scholarships so she has the best shot at success. Through prayer, however, I lay down my own hopes and goals. God quiets me so my daughter can explore opportunities without my interference. I can ask God to reveal his perfect plans and to put his desires in her heart. It sets me free to enjoy watching her life unfold.
I’ve seen the Lord answer prayers for each of my children. I’ve seen my children overcome emotional issues, learning challenges, and physical injury. I’ve seen beautiful healing from loneliness and bullying. I’ve been awestruck as they received salvation in Christ after struggling with doubt and rebellion. God is faithful—he promises to listen and never turns his back on us.
But the unexpected gift of prayer was in how it’s changed me. The freedom from fear, anger, and control allows me to love my children more fully. It sets me free to enjoy my daughters as unique creations of God himself. And it lets me connect with the father-heart of God who loves them even more than I do.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9-10 NIV)
Enter to win one of Rob and Joanna Teigen’s wonderful books “A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter” or “A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son”.
How to enter:
1. Leave a comment telling us: which book you would like and a prayer request for your child. Joanna will personally pray for your child.
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Winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 2nd.