Parenting children is hard work.

There are so many times I’m at a loss when it comes to leading my family. Should I discipline in this situation or let it slide? Am I being unreasonable with my requirements? How can I speak truth in such a way as to penetrate their hearts? What’s the right word of encouragement in this circumstance? How can I lead them to love the Bible, and Jesus, and the church?

So many questions. So often, very few answers.

So often, I simply struggle to know how best to lead my kids. I don’t exactly know how to help them through every struggle, pain, and problem. It feels like I’m continually groping in the dark for answers.

And yet, one thing I know I can do in the midst of the complexities and difficulties of the parenting task: I can pray. That’s where I go when I don’t know what else I can do. I simply close my eyes, lay my head on theirs, and pray. And I pray because I know God hears and is eager to come to my aid.

James writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

That’s the issue. I lack wisdom. Therefore, I should ask God in faith (James 1:6) to help me know how to faithfully father my children. And I do so knowing he will answer with stunning generosity.

But praying and asking God to help me is not where my prayers stop. Though I don’t always have the immediate answer to their particular problems, I am able to stoop over their beds at night, hug them close (until they don’t let me do that anymore), and pray for them. So, each night, I pray for my boys. It’s become so routine that if I miss it, I’ll hear their yells from their beds caling me to pray before they sleep.

A Simple Prayer for My Children

I pray the same prayer every night. I lead in to it differently, but it stays pretty much the same. It goes like this: “[after some intro words], Father, give [Calvin/Caleb] the mind of a theologian, the heart of a missionary, the gentleness of their mother, protect them from the sins of their father, and may they love Jesus all the days of their life.”

Minds of Theologians.
Hearts of Missionaries.
Steadfastness of oaks.
Gentleness of their mother.
Protect them from the sins of their father.
And may they love Jesus all the days of their lives.

I don’t add commentary. I don’t pray long winded prayers. I pray these words, kiss them on the cheek, and turn out the lights. True, they don’t know what theologians or missionaries are (yet) and they are not quite sure why I want them to be like trees, but those days will come. What is important now is that God hears. In my praying, I’m asking him to do marvelous things in my sons.

By his grace and for his glory, those prayers will take root and lead to future fruit.

Dads and moms you won’t always have the right answers. You’ll often be at a loss when it comes helping your kids. But you can always stop, ask God for wisdom, and then kneel beside your children and pray. Let them hear you ask your heavenly Father for amazing things.