As parents, we began praying for our children from their earliest years. As they became adults, God brought us to a new level of prayer: it’s more intense and raw now than it ever was when they were small. As God intensified our prayers, He has also taught us some significant lessons that apply no matter who we’re praying for.
First, many times “our prayers are more powerful than our presence.” This statement, penned by Jennifer Kennedy Dean in one of her books, is what set our hearts and minds on a very specific shift in our prayer. When children become adults and move into lives, marriages, and parenting of their own, there simply is not the same kind of physical proximity to them as when they were small. God has gently shown us that this is His plan: our presence is not what they need…they need our prayers.
This is often true in other relationships in our lives as well. It’s easy to believe that if we could just spend more time with someone or just speak the right words to them, they would grow, change, or be comforted in the way we think they need. Of course, we want to strive to serve and encourage people through our words and actions. Sometimes, though, we must lean into prayer as our most effective means of ministering to the people we care about.
Second, we have learned to pray in the spirit! This has probably been the toughest lesson as parents of adult children. You see, our natural desire is to pray for our children’s safety and protection, that nothing will hurt them or bring suffering into their lives.
But praying in the Spirit means praying for the things that God says are important rather than what seems most important to us. Over the years, He has shown us that His presence in their hearts and lives is far more important than any of the physical things we tend to focus on.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
In fact, He promises us in His word that in this world, the people we love will have tribulation! How else could He teach them about His provision, His faithfulness, His healing power? How else would they find a testimony of their own?
Dear ones, never cease praying for your children and for all those you care about, and never cease letting God mature your prayers as they (and you) mature with them. In fact, take a moment right now and pray Isaiah 43:2 (above) for those you love.
- Do you have a story about experiencing God through prayer?
- What is something that has inspired you in your prayer life?
- Can we pray with you about a challenge you are facing?
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