Some of my earliest memories are of praying. As a very young child, I remember praying as a family before meals, before bedtime, before long trips in the car. In reflecting on this I realized my parents modeled for me an attitude of dependence on God because we prayed before these events. Our family did not just pray when there was a crisis or an urgent need for help. We certainly did pray at those times, but not out of desperation. Prayer was a normal part of our life – in a real sense we had an ongoing conversation with God.
When we had children ourselves, we carried on this discipline of prayer. Prayer was a regular daily pattern and we prayed together as a family before meals, before bedtime, and before trips. We also prayed before our children left for school in their younger grades. We specifically asked that God would guard their hearts and minds as they attended school.
When we pray with our children, we are confessing before them our dependence and trust in God. We must model for our children the fact that God is God and we are not trying to change His mind or get Him to do what we want. Instead, we must reflect our faith in God’s faithfulness whatever the answer to our prayers.
A lesson God has been impressing on me lately is the reality that prayer adjusts my mind to God’s will, not praying so that God conforms to my will. I realize now that I wasted many prayers thinking that I knew what was best for our family. In looking back I see that God had a very different plan.
When our children were young, I was challenged to ask God how to pray for each one. God was faithful to my inexperienced yet sincere efforts as a mother and put on my heart a prayer for each of our 4 children. For years I prayed the same thing and in this ongoing conversation with God I saw Him fufill His purposes in ways I never would have expected. He still continues that work He began.
Phillipians 1:3-6 says ” I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Prayer should be a constant reminder to ourselves and our children that God is faithful! Now I am asking for a prayer for each of my grandchildren. What a blessing it is to see our Heavenly Father demonstrate His faithfulness from generation to generation.