Two Critical Things to Pray for Your Children
What do you pray for your children? I pray about all sorts of things - salvation, future spouses, godly friends, Christ-like character, growth through trials, escape from temptation, and so much more. As part of my daily prayer card plan, I have 31 different cards with scripture reminding me of various matters to bring before the Lord concerning my children.
But I want to tell you about one simple and profound prayer that I think encapsulates essential truth.
I wish I could say that Tim and I have been praying this for years for each of our children, but it's only recently become a staple in our prayer chest. We learned this prayer from our pastor, Tim Bayly, who regularly prayed it for his children.
So what is it?
Pray that your children will hate their sin and love the Savior.
So why should we pray that our children will hate their sin?
Our kids (like we do!) need to recognize their sin, hate it, and turn from it.
Children raised in Christian homes frequently have trouble seeing themselves as sinners. They all too often grow up as little Pharisees, able to see the sin of others around them, but thinking they are clean. I see this all the time in my own children and others - from the 3 year old who recently told me, "I'm not a sinner; I'm obedient!" to older kids who are too sophisticated to actually say that but act just the same.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8 )
Pray that your children will see their own sin (not their brother's!) and grieve over it.
Because until they recognize their sin, they will not truly have a need for the Savior.
And that's the second thing we need to pray - that they will love Him who gave His own life for the punishment of their sin.
Love responds with obedience.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14: 15)
Praying for our children to hate their sin and love the Saviour is just another way of praying that they will have hearts of flesh and not hearts of stone.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ex. 36:26.)
Charles Spurgeon talks about how hatred for our sin and love for God are entwined and result from the state of our heart:
In the fleshy heart there is a tenderness of the affections. The hard heart does not love the Redeemer, but the renewed heart burns with affection towards him. The hard heart is selfish and coldly demands, "Why should I weep for sin? Why should I love the Lord?" But the heart of flesh says: "Lord, though knowest that I love thee; help me to love thee more!"
Dear mothers, give yourselves to praying for your children! And as you do, frequently pray that they will hate their sin but love the Savior!
You who love the LORD, hate evil! (Ps. 97:10)