If you’re like me, you constantly wonder what more you should be doing for your children. Am I giving them enough of my time? Am I offering enough encouragement in their lives? Am I being a good enough role model?
We all feel like we blow it at times, when it comes to parenting. And there’s always guilt if we’re looking for it –about what we could have done or should now be doing differently. Now that my daughter is an adult, I’ve found the most effective and rewarding things I gave her stemmed from the things I asked God to do in me through prayer.
You and I, as moms, can only do so much for our children. But God can work in their hearts and minds to shape them into the people He wants them to be. And God gives you and me the privilege, as parents, to be a part of that process when we surrender our will to Him and allow Him to mold and shape our character in a way that is best for not only us, but our children, too.
Here are five simple prayers that will make you a better mom:
- A Prayer to Number Your Days
Moses prayed in Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (NASB). I believe the key to wisdom as a parent is numbering your days – realizing you only have so much time to influence your children positively, and they will only be babies (or middle-schoolers, or young adults) for so much time, too. It’s a “Seize the Day” prayer to keep you focused on the few things that matter so you don’t rush through your days, rush through their growing-up years, and rush through all that you were meant to savor.
Lord, help me to number my days so I can present to You – and my children – a heart of wisdom. Keep me focused on the few things that matter in life so my children will follow my example by living with intention and making each moment count. Slow me down to savor what is passing quickly so I live life carefully and meaningfully.
- A Prayer to Seek God First
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus told His followers to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (ESV). As we seek Him and His purposes above everything else, our lives will be prioritized and we won’t fall prey to worthless pursuits, meaningless obsessions, and unintentionally serving the god of self, all of which make us parents our children won’t want to be around.
Lord, help me to seek You –and Your purposes – above any other pursuit in life. I can easily be distracted by the temporary but keep me focused on the eternal. Help me to not just talk of a relationship with You but truly live it in my daily priorities and actions. Although there are things I want for my family, that I can tend to stress about, You are aware of them all, and Your Word promises that when I put You first, You will take care of everything else, according to what You know is best for us. Help me to truly believe that and live by it so my children will place their confidence in You, as well.
- A Prayer to Guard Your Mouth
When I was writing my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I interviewed daughters of all ages about their relationships with their mothers and discovered that most daughters – by the time they were adults – believed their mothers were very critical of them, while their mothers had no idea that was how their daughters perceived them. That showed me how easy it is for moms to unintentionally come across as critical rather than supportive. Pray that God will only let words escape your mouth if they are words that will build your children up, rather than tear them down.
Lord, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of [my] mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV). Lord, I don’t want my children to detect a critical spirit in me, or jealousy, or even a lack of faith or discontent. So, guard my mouth so I don’t talk critically of anyone. And when it comes to how I address – and correct – my children, help me to build them up rather than tear them down. When they make mistakes or fail miserably, help me to discern when they need love, grace, and forgiveness instead of a lecture on what they should’ve done differently.
- A Prayer to Be A Grateful Person
Scripture commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
There is no more miserable person to be around than someone who is constantly complaining, constantly singing their woes, constantly a downer. On the other hand, it is refreshing to be around someone who is grateful, always positive, and praising God in spite of the pain or difficult circumstances. Be a person your children will want to be around all their lives by being a person of gratitude.
Lord, help me to be thankful in all circumstances, not just the ones that are comfortable and enjoyable. Help me to especially be thankful in the difficult situations so my children see me as a person full of praise, not self pity. Whenever I praise You, it changes my perspective and focuses me on the good things You are doing in the midst of the troubles. Help my kids to see that. Make me a thankful person, a person of praise in every circumstance, a parent who can “in all things, sing.”
- A Prayer to Stop Worrying
Scripture instructs: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).
When I wrote 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, I learned that most children still believe their moms worry too much about them, even now that they’re grown. In some cases, kids grew up worrying that their moms worried too much! Ask God to replace your worry with a peaceful trust in the One who can accomplish all things.
Lord, help me not to worry about anything, but to instead, and immediately, pray about everything that concerns me about my children and anything else. I want to experience Your peace that exceeds anything I can understand. As I display that peace, my children will see that I really do trust You with everything and my faith is not just a “talk” but a real-life walk. By praying about what would otherwise concern me, I am teaching my children to go to You in prayer instead of worrying, too. And Lord, help me not to just hide away and pray about what concerns me but to verbally pray aloud, at times, so my children see my default mode is to take it to God in prayer rather than flip out, freak out, or fret.
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