Why is prayer so important when it comes to education?
Let’s be real Parenthood is difficult. Unlike previous generations, we are blessed with an abundance of resources. However, vast amounts of resources quickly become overwhelming. Which sources do you trust? Which educational books should you read? Which blogs? Which podcasts should you listen to? And further. There are over 50,000 parenting books to choose from on Amazon. How do you narrow down the selection? The content is endless.
When it comes to education, there are two basic things – reading the Bible and praying. In this article we will focus on the aspect of prayer.
Why is prayer so important?
One afternoon I was sitting in a counselor’s office longing for help with a parenting battle. This was not the first appointment. While the counselor had good advice and I am an advocate of the use of counselors in many situations, in this case I was reminded that God was my daughter’s Creator.
God created heaven, earth and all of us (Genesis 1). Although this seems obvious, sometimes we forget this fact as we live our daily lives. When I have trouble, the main thing I need to do is turn to Him for help. He is omniscient and bound my daughter together (Psalm 139:13). He knows what she needs and how I can help her. He should be my first port of call in prayer. I could end up in a pastor’s office again, but I have to start with prayer.
Prayer is vital to our path of faith and helps us to stay in an active relationship with God. When you are blessed with children, parenting is an important part of our lives. Praying for help in this area helps us stay connected to our Creator and dependent on God rather than our knowledge. Remaining in prayer reminds us of who is really in charge. God may have chosen us to be our children’s parents, but He is still sovereign over everything. When we go to Him for help, celebration, and thanksgiving, we remain humble and properly ordered with God leading the way and following Him. When we try to wrest the reins from God and dictate which direction to turn, things get mixed up.
What should i pray for
Here’s the big part, you can pray for anything and everyone. What shouldn’t you pray for? “Rejoice in the Lord and he will grant the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37: 4
When my children were young, I mainly prayed for myself. I prayed for patience, wisdom, overflowing love, pretty much all the fruits of the Spirit. I needed each and every one of them to get through the day. I prayed that God would cover them with a protective hedge. When they are sick I pray for their healing. If there is a medical decision, I pray for a clear path and wise doctors. As our children get older, we pray that the Spirit will grow in them daily and that they will not know a day without it. Ultimately, I pray that they will know God and turn to him for everything. When my husband and I are gone, I want them to rely on their omniscient, omnipresent father who will never leave them.
My faithful aunt opened my eyes to the idea of praying for her future spouse from a young age. When I heard this it made perfect sense and it was a simple prayer to incorporate. I want my girls (we have three girls) to marry godly men. Pious people are not simply created out of nothing; they are raised, taught, and shaped by godly parents. I pray for strong, loyal men who will marry my daughters and support them on their continuous path of faith and eventual child-rearing.
Different periods of parenting bring with them a variety of choices. The older children get, the more complicated the decisions become. Things like schooling, choosing friends, activities, dealing with technology have to be decided. Don’t do it alone, do it in prayer.
How should i pray
One strategy has worked so well on my family that I would be remiss not to share it.
I made my decision at the last minute and listened to Jodie Berndt talk about her experiences and her book “Praying the Scriptures for Your Children”. I bought her book, read her book right away, and implemented her strategies. She didn’t create fancy, elaborate prayers. Your strategy is simple but effective. She takes the font and personalizes it for each of her children. Our children are so different. As parents, we know our children’s propensity to sin as much as we do our own. While there are many effective disciplining techniques out there, why not get to the heart of the matter? Of course we are not responsible for our children’s hearts; God is.
Our role in this educational technique is to pray the scriptures. There are passages in the Bible that give us orientation in weak points. You find a verse that addresses the heart problem your child is struggling with and pray that consistently. For example, one of my children struggled with being sneaky and not telling the truth. I have prayed 1 Kings 3: 9 for them for years. “Give (insert child’s name) a wise and discerning heart so that they can distinguish between right and wrong.” Over the years I have seen a dramatic change in my child. Only God can do this type of transformation. My job is to raise prayers to Him.
Using the scriptures, we speak God’s words back to Him. How powerful! I certainly can’t think of a better vocabulary, and I don’t have to. God laid it out there for me to use. If I pray for something all the time, I see a change, but it takes time. God is not an automaton. You can’t ask for a drastic change to happen in someone overnight. He may choose to work a miracle, but often we learn to be patient in the process.
When should i pray?
I want to say the whole time, but of course that is challenging and unrealistic. I take a quiet time to pray in the morning hours. I pray individually for each of my family members.
The more we rely on God through prayer, the better. When my children perform in school, I pray for them. As they compete in athletics, I raise prayers of security and courage. I ask for wisdom and help throughout the day as I face challenges and decisions. We had a bad sledging accident for my middle daughter and I was in the hospital and praying. My husband and I sent letters to our loyal friends asking them to pray. We prayed fervently and I could feel the prayers. I felt overwhelmed by the peace and quiet that only come from the spirit.
Prayers are powerful!
If you look in the Bible, when did our ancestors pray? Frequently. In many psalms we see examples of David’s prayers and worship of the Lord. We see the praying lives of Moses, Joshua, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Mary and many others. Let’s not forget the example Jesus gave us when he went away and prayed, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
As the Bible tells us, people prayed when they were afraid or grieved and needed courage and comfort. When times are good, we celebrate, thank and rejoice. Raising our thoughts, worries, and praises to the Lord is a wonderful act of worship. The more we do it, the more we focus our minds on Him who will recalibrate us throughout the day.
How does prayer affect our upbringing?
When we are connected to our creatures through reading the scriptures and prayer, He can protect our families and change their hearts. He’s the only one who can change a child’s heart. Despite bribery, threats, and punishment, we have no control over our children’s choices. Ultimately, we must pray to the Lord that He will turn their hearts to Him. If they get lost, we keep praying for them to return to Him.
Prayer gives us peace even when the storms are circling us. Prayer gives us the strength to move on when it feels like the decisions are just too big for us. As a mother, I can be overwhelmed. Instead of running my home from a place of fear and stress (which carries over to my children), when I can get into a healthy place with the Lord and feel his inner peace, I run my home from a place of rest and of trust. Prayer ultimately reminds me of who is in charge.
God is the decider of all things. He decides when we are healthy and when we are sick. When we need to be disciplined and when He wants to give us many blessings. He controls the sun and the moon and the stars. He is sovereign over everything. When we remember it, a huge burden is taken off our shoulders. We don’t have to carry around luggage that we weren’t meant to be. The Holy Ghost can open our eyes to what our children are dealing with or feeling. There have been so many times when I thought I knew what was wrong with my child and in my quiet time with the Lord He was showing me something. Nobody else can do that! No book but the Bible can give you this wisdom.
Prayer is like the cement blocks or bricks on the foundation of the house. Without them, the house is unstable and prone to damage. With them, you have a strong foundation on which to build your home. Without prayer and the Bible, we can be blown over by the fashions and currents of our culture. Thank you for all the resources we have to navigate parenting: friends, books, blogs, websites, speakers, counselors, etc. Before moving on, remember to build your home with prayer as a foundation. When you know all of the options, bring them to God and let God knowingly help you make your parenting decisions.
Photo credit: © GettyImages / Prostock-Studio
Katie T. Kennedy lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is married to a wonderful husband, Jonathan, and they have three girls. She is an author, blogger and employee of the family business. After a mid-life spiritual transformation, she discovered her love for writing. She loves to travel, read, be in nature, cook and dream. She would love to connect with you online at www.katietkennedy.com, Instagram, or Facebook.