Think about your day for a moment.
You make your plans. You’re going to go to work and at work, you’ll be doing this and that. And you might need to go to the lunch with a friend during work. A woman might be thinking, “I need to go to this store. I need to take the kids to school.”
So you plan out your day with the things that you need to do, and it involves your car, driving you all these different places. And very rarely are you thinking of the gas that is helping the car drive. But we all know that if we don’t have our tank full of gas, we’re not gonna be able to do what we plan for that day, whatever it is that we’re gonna do.
It’s kind of the same thing with prayer.
As a parent, you have these desires and these places you wanna go with your children in your teaching and prayer is like the gas in the car. If you have not, first of all, prayed through your desires of where you’re wanting to take your children of what you’re wanting to teach them. It’s like you’re out of gas and you’re not gonna be able to get there.
This episode is aimed at expressing just how important prayer is. It has to be a part of your life, just like you have to have gas in your car to be able to go to work. There’s not an option.
So we, we wanna encourage you with this important element of your life as a parent.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE
RESOURCES MENTIONED ON THIS EPISODE
We’ve created our own suggested Prayer Prompts for Christian Parents that you can download and use. It also includes a 2nd page of scriptural prayers you can use as models to help you pray for your children more effectively.
DEVELOP A DAILY PRAYER LIST
This episode covers a lot of ground… but one of the more practical things we address has to do with a daily prayer habit Mindi began when we first started having kids back in 1989. The story goes that she came across a document titled “How to pray for your children.” The title of it is what caught her eye. The page 13 suggested things to pray for your children and each one was based on a particular bible verse.
Mindi’ beagn praying through that list of suggested prayer topics and over time started adding to them, rewording them to fit our kids, etc. To date, her list has 25 different prayer points that she prays through regularly. When our kids were in the home, she prayed through this list every single day. Now that they are all adults, she averages every other day in praying through the list she’s created.
So parents, if you find yourself struggling in your own faith, to trust God for things. Part of the solution to that is to ask Him for more things. Start asking Him for things and seeing Him provide, and your faith is going to grow through praying for your kids.
DON’T TRY TO PULL OFF AN EFFECTIVE PRAYER LIFE ON YOUR OWN
In the gospel of John, chapter 15, Jesus explains how our relationship with Him is one of cooperation. He is the power source, the source of life, and we are the beneficiaries of that life. Here’s how He says it…
Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. , I am the vine. You are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers. Then the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.
As a parent, don’t ever think you can pull off your parenting or your prayers for your kids all on our own. You need to be constantly seeking Jesus, constantly depending on Him to help you, even in something like prayer for your children. As you see Him answer prayer, you’ll become excited to depend on Him more because He’s bringing about results you could never do on our own. And always remenber His statement where He says, “apart from Me, you can do nothing.:
If you ever felt like, “Yeah, I’m gonna be a pretty good parent,” you know, you’re fooling yourself. You really are. Parenting is not for people who are cocky. Parenting requires humility and an ability to trust the Lord every step of the way. So praying, seeing God answer prayer, puts our dependence more fully on God.
PRAY BIBLICAL PRAYERS
Another of the practical tips we provide on this episode is that you as a parent learn to pray biblical prayers. In other words, pray scripture.
There is so much truth revealed in the Bible that God wants for us and wants for our kids. It only makes sense in light of the prayer promises found in the book of 1 John, to pray to God for what He says He wants to give us, so that we can be confident and full of faith in our prayers that He will answer. In the audio (be sure you listen) we provide a handful of scriptural prayers that you can use as models to inform how you should be praying and give you some of the kinds of things you should be praying for.
Be sure to check the resources section below… we include a PDF download that you are free to print, modify, and use in your prayers for your children. But before you download it, can we encourage you NOT to allow these prayers to become rote prayers. Well, if that’s where you need to begin, begin there, but work to understand what you’re praying and learn to express the heart of these prayers from YOUR heart. They’re not some magical mantra that you say and a genie pops out of a bottle and makes things happen. You need to understand what you’re praying for so you can pray it in earnest and ask God to bring these things about in your life and in the hearts and lives of your kids.
There are many more practical things we cover on this episode regarding prayer for your children. Please, listen, take notes, and discuss it with your husband or wife (if you’re married). Work together to build a prayer habit on behalf of your children that will fuel their spiritual success and health for years to come.
Episode Transcript (click to open)
INTRO AUDIO (00:01):
Imagine if you had a billionaire on call to meet your every financial problem. And all you had to do was ask, did you know, we have the equivalent when it comes to the wisdom, we need to be godly. Parents. It’s called prayer and is what we are going to be talking about today in very practical ways. This is God fearing kids and the parents who raise them.
Mindi Green (00:43):
So welcome back friends to God-fearing kids and the parents who raised them. We’re happy to be with you again. I’m Mindi green
Mindi Green (00:51):
And I’m Carey. She’s the better half. I’m the… not so better half.
Mindi Green (00:56):
<laugh> That’s not true!
Mindi Green (00:57):
But let’s start out with thinking of just a day to day scenario. The husband, the wife could relate to this. You think about your day, you make your plans. You’re going to go to work and at work, you’ll be doing this and that. And you might need to go to the lunch with a friend during work, the wife might be thinking, I need to go to this store. I need to take the kids to school. So you plan out your day with the things that you need to do, and it involves your car, driving you all these different places. And very rarely are you thinking of the gas that is helping the car drive. But we all know that if we don’t have our tank full of gas, we’re not going to be able to do what we plan for that day, whatever it is that we’re going to do, it’s kind of the same thing with prayer.
Mindi Green (01:44):
As a parent, you have these desires and these places you want to go with your children in your teaching and prayer is like the gas in the car. If you have not, first of all, prayed through your desires of where you’re wanting to take your children of what you’re wanting to teach them. It’s like you’re out of gas and you’re not going to be able to get there. So we want to talk to you today about how important prayer is. It has to be a part of your life. Just like you have to have gas in your car to be able to go to work. There’s not an option. So we, we want to encourage you with this important element of your life as a parent.
Carey Green (02:24):
Yeah. And I would like to start considering this situation, just by asking you Mindi about a habit that I’ve observed in your life for all the years, we’ve had kids. And even before that, you were a person of prayer, but when we had kids, you got real systematic about it and you had a daily routine and you started taking prayer very seriously. Describe for us what it is that you decided and why, and then how you went about that.
Mindi Green (02:53):
It started just with the Lord laying desires on my heart for my children. When we started having our children and their little babies, I found that I had hopes and dreams for them. We had a boy first, Aaron is his name and I had desires that he would grow up to be a man of God and I couldn’t help, but want the best for him in all areas of life. And so the holy spirit was very faithful to lead me practically, if this is what I’m wanting for my children, then I need to ask, you know, God says you have not, cuz you ask not. And he says to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, make your request known to God. And so he just told me, you need to start asking for these things for your children. And that’s basically how it started.
Carey Green (03:42):
I remember after a while you had a list, it was even a printed list. Something you got somewhere, you found somewhere that you began praying for our children and it was probably 20 or 30 things on the list. And then over time you start adding things and I would see you scratch things out. I would see you jot new things down. Tell us about that. Where did that come from? And, and what was the reasoning behind using a list?
Mindi Green (04:05):
I’m not really sure exactly how I came across the list. I know it was with a ministry that I actually went to the conferences when I was in high school and it was geared towards youth, but it was called how to pray for your children. And that’s what caught my eye. And it had 13 things and they were all rooted in different Bible verses. And I started praying through them. Then I just started adding and kind of rewording some of what was said. And I think now let’s see. Yeah, I have 20 things that I pray through and I pray through it, probably it used to be every single day when we are raising our kids that I prayed through it. And now it’s probably every other day or five days a week that I pray through this list still.
Carey Green (04:52):
So give us a couple of examples of things that are on the list. Like some of your favorites, the ones that really resonate with you.
Mindi Green (04:58):
Well, the first one is pray that they will know Christ is savior early in life. And of course that was a joy to pray for, with all of our children when they were young. And I’ve been praying it for my grandchildren now, but it’s very special to me because I have written down each of our children’s names and the age that they came to the Lord.
Carey Green (05:21):
So you kept record of the answered prayer. Yes. Yeah. Exciting,
Mindi Green (05:24):
Definitely in this area. Another one is that they would have a hatred for sin that they would be caught when guilty.
Carey Green (05:33):
So those are all very interesting that last one, especially that they would be caught when they’re guilty. That sounds a little weird to some people, you know, we want our kids to get in trouble. What do you think is the spirit behind that? And how did you interpret that?
Mindi Green (05:44):
Well, I loved that because that went along with the way we were raising them. When we founded them doing wrong or hurting their siblings or, you know, disobeying us, we really wanted to take advantage of helping them to have the right heart attitude with that. And so my prayer has been that they’ll be caught when they are guilty and they will be lovingly brought back to the heart of God so that they will not live in guilt or condemnation. It’s valuable for us to be caught when we’re guilty so we can repent of it and then be cleansed. And I didn’t want our kids to live with this sin that is unconfessed.
Carey Green (06:21):
Hmm. And you’re really getting into some of the, the nuanced skill of parenting and guiding your children, even in things like dealing with sin and repentance. And we’ll get to all that in some of our episodes. But since we’re talking about prayer, I thought it’d be good for us to talk about why the prayer of parents is so important. And we have some scripture passages here. I want to first read Hebrews 11, six. It says without faith, it is impossible to please God for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Now, the point I want to make here is that prayer, first of all, increases our faith as parents, as we pray and we’re seeking God in faith, we are believing that he rewards those who seek him. He rewards us with himself, with the answers to our prayer, with good things that he brings about in response to our humble dependence.
Carey Green (07:15):
So parents, if you find yourself struggling in your own faith, you find yourself struggling to have faith, to trust God for things. Part of the solution to that is to ask him for more things, start asking him for things and seeing him provide, and your faith is going to grow and praying for your kids. Especially just like Mindi wrote down the answers to the prayers. Those are powerful things that she can look back on every day. And remember how many years she prayed. I’ll just pick a kid for Caleb to come to faith in Christ. And then on the day when she was able to write it down and now every day she can see it. That is an encouragement to her faith to strengthen her.
Mindi Green (07:54):
Yes, I thank the Lord for that. And I praise him for his promises. One of the prayer requests that I added to the list, it was number 14 is help my children to live by faith and to walk in the spirit and in truth and not by their emotions, because I personally know how hard it is when my emotions ever come, me and I have to fight to live in the truth and walk in the spirit. And that’s a praise. All of our children have learned how to fight their emotions and to live in the truth. And it doesn’t mean that they do it perfectly all the time, but they know how to do that, how to work that.
Carey Green (08:32):
And I love that you gave us another example because that kind of puts fleshing bone on the concept and helps us to understand how our faith grows and our kids’ faith grows. As we see prayers answered. Now, the second reason I would say that prayer is so important for parents is because it puts our dependence more fully on God. Let’s look at John 15, four through seven. You want to read that one for us? Mindi.
Mindi Green (08:53):
It says abide in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine. Neither can you, unless you abide in me, I am the vine. You are the branches, whoever abides in me and I in him. He, it is that bears much fruit for part from me. You can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch in Withers and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me and my words abide in, you ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.
Carey Green (09:26):
And some of the statements in here that Jesus says that pop out at me are the ones that are so clearly focused on our need to be dependent on him. First off, he’s giving us this illustration of a vine, like a grape vine with branches growing out of it. And we all know just by common sense, if you break off the branch, it’s going to wear up and die because it has lost its connection to the life source of the vine. And so Jesus is saying, that’s him and that’s us. We are the branch. He is the vine and we have to stay closely connected to him. So that’s a dependent relationship right there. And prayer for parents makes us more dependent on God. It highlights and amplifies that in our own minds and in our own hearts. So we don’t get cocky in our role.
Carey Green (10:10):
As a parent, we don’t think we can pull this all off on our own. We’re constantly seeking him. And as we see him answer prayer, we’re more excited to depend on him more because he’s bringing about results we could never do on our own. And then I love that statement where he says, apart from me, you can do nothing. <laugh> you can do nothing. We cannot do this parenting thing alone. If you ever felt like, yeah, I’m going to be a pretty good parent. You know, you’re fooling yourself. You really are. It it’s not for cowards. And it’s not for people who are cocky. Parenting requires humility and an ability to trust the Lord every step of the way. So praying, seeing God answer prayer puts our dependence more fully on God.
Mindi Green (10:48):
And the whole idea of abiding in Christ in that, apart from him, we are nothing. And we can do nothing is a huge mindset for parents to understand themselves because in our day and age, there’s such an emphasis on being independent. We put great value in that. And many times I think parents raise their kids to you, do your own thing. You make your own decisions. When you leave the house, you’re on your own. I’m separate from you. The bad decisions that you make has nothing to do with me. I raised you. Well, there’s a whole thing with independence. And it’s important that our children, when they leave the home, they are able to live a mature, stable life and be independent from their parents and not be the 35 year old son who still lives in the basement, so to speak. But we need to teach them that as they grow in independence from us, they need to be growing independence on the Lord because a godly life, a God fearing life is a dependent life on God. So we need to be learning that so that we can be teaching our kids daily. That dependence is the thing to be lifting up, not independence.
Mindi Green (12:01):
Yeah, that is a great word. And it just goes right along with his passage from John 15, as we are learning dependence through prayer, there’s an inference here as well that we should be teaching our kids how to be dependent in prayer as well. And they will see that exampled from us and, and demonstrated by us. And that will be an encouragement to them. The next thing I think that prayer does for parents, why it’s so important and it’s similar to the one we just covered, but it’s different in a way, is that prayer places, us in a humble state where we’re ready to receive wisdom and help. You know, when you’re asking someone for help, you are naturally in a humble state, you’re in a needy place. You’re in a place where you can’t accomplish something without someone coming alongside. That’s what prayer is.
Mindi Green (12:45):
It’s us asking God for his help. Hebrews four 14 through 16, I’ll go ahead and read this one. It says since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast. Our confession that basically just means be confident in our faith for, we do not have a high priest. Who’s unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us then with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace. And here’s the key phrase that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. Prayer puts us in a humble state and we’re going to God to receive mercy, to find grace, to help us in our time of need. And as a parent, our time of need is every day.
Mindi Green (13:34):
Amen. Yes. And think of what a great example it will be for your children. If you are a praying mother or father, and then you pray together as a family, not just before each meal, but you have prayer times with your children because they need to learn how to talk to God. They need to learn to ask him for things. They need to learn, to apologize for sins and to receive God’s mercy and grace. And as you’re learning how to pray to the father and seek his help and praise him for answered prayer and thank him for just who he is and all the blessings you’re teaching your children the same thing. So prayer needs to be a part of your life regularly, and it needs to be a part of your family’s lifestyle regularly.
Mindi Green (14:22):
Yeah, that’s beautifully said. And the last reason I think it’s important for parents to be praying is because we are availing ourselves of an asset that God has given us a powerful asset, that if we ask things according to his will, he’s going to give them to us. And prayer is in alignment with God’s plans for the family. First John five 14 through 15 says, this is the confidence we have toward him toward God that if we ask anything, according to his, will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. So to summarize what John is saying, he’s saying, if we ask God for things he wants to give us, he will give them to us. And that’s a confidence we can know. So as we pull scripture out and learn how to pray, according to scripture, as we understand God’s will for the character and godliness in our kids, like your list was, and we pray those things. It’s like, God’s just delighted that his kids are asking for such wise things and he wants to just pour them out on us.
Mindi Green (15:25):
And I’m just so excited to be able to be at this stage of our parenting, with all of our children grown and having five grand boys, because we can tell you our friends that we’ve experienced this God has been faithful to answer our prayers and my, my prayer list that I prayed through regularly for the children. All of the things I was asking him for is what God wanted and what he wants for our children. And so now Carey and I have the joy of looking at our children and watching them live their lives, being the godly men and women that we hoped that they would become we’re, we’re seeing God’s work right before our eyes. And we are praising the Lord and full of joy because of it. And we want to pass that encouragement and hope onto you, our friends.
Mindi Green (16:16):
So a story that I can share from my growing up years, my mother was a believer and she took us to church from the time we were very young and on occasion, I remember waking up early in the morning for whatever reason, had a bad dream or something. And I would stumble into the kitchen where I knew my mom would be up. She was always up early and I can still retrieve the memories of her sitting at the far end of the kitchen table with her Bible, open her elbows on the table, her cheeks in her hands and her eyes closed in prayer. And when my mom prayed her, her lips would move silently. You know, I could tell she was talking to the Lord and I, I just knew in my heart, she’s praying for me. She’s praying for my four siblings. She’s praying for my dad.
Mindi Green (16:58):
And there was such a strength and a comfort there. And so I would encourage you that as you pray for your kids and they witness it and they see the changes happening in your life, in that area, they’re going to be encouraged. They’re going to be given us stability and a hope, and don’t let yourself feel kind of pushed away from this idea because you’ve never been religious before. You’ve never been spiritually oriented before. And you think your kids are going to think you’re a hypocrite. Don’t worry about that. Those are all things just to push out of your mind, because if you want to build a new life or a new way forward for your family, you’ve got to build new habits. And as Mindi said, at the beginning of this whole episode, prayers, the gas in your tank, you cannot go without it.
Mindi Green (17:40):
Yes. And I just want, would want to encourage all of y’all. We don’t know what stage of parenting you are in. If you’re just starting out, or if you have teenagers and maybe they’re a year or two away from leaving the home, God will be faithful to lead you and guide you with wherever you are. And if you are, if you haven’t raised your children in a godly way, up until this point, God knows the answers. God knows how to help you. So you start in prayer asking him, what do you need to do? What kinds of mistakes do you need to undo? What kinds of conversations do you need to have with your teenagers to apologize for things that you did? Where can you start moving forward? A lot of times when your children are that old, you don’t see a lot of change at the beginning, but you need to trust the Lord that he will be faithful to work in their hearts. If you seek him and rely on him and believe, and trust that he is going to do what’s best.
Carey Green (18:42):
All right. So maybe to wrap up, we can give you just some practical suggestions regarding how to start this new habit of praying for your kids or how to build on the habit of praying for your kids. If you’re already praying for them. And I really only have two really simple things, first of all, learn to pray biblical prayers. In other words, pray scripture. There is so much truth revealed to us that God wants for us and wants for our kids. It only makes sense in light of what we learned in first, John, to pray to God what he says he wants so that we can be confident and full of faith in our prayers that he will answer. So some good examples. I’m going to give you some passages here to write down. If you have a pencil or a pen, jot these down, type it on your phone, pause the episode and pull over on the side of the road if you need to.
Carey Green (19:26):
Ephesians chapter one verses 17 through 19, Ephesians chapter three verses 16 through 19, Philippians chapter one verses nine through 11. And Colossians chapter one verses nine through 12. I’ll include these in the notes for this episode, but I would encourage you don’t pray these like rote prayers. I mean, I guess if that’s where you need to begin, begin there, but really understand what you’re praying and get into the heart of these prayers. They’re not some magical mantra that you say, and a genie pops out of a bottle and things happen. You need to understand what you’re praying for. So you can pray it in earnest and ask God to bring these things about in your life. The second tip that I would give you is to learn how to pray in faith, believing that God will do what he says he will do.
Carey Green (20:17):
Cause all of these things, if you’re praying, biblical prayers are things he’s revealed that are his will for us and for our children. So I want to encourage you to do those things because this is the truth about our God. As Jesus reveals in Matthew seven 11, he says, if you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children? How much more will your father who is in heaven? Give good things to those who ask him. That’s our assurance that we have a good and loving father who wants to give us good things.
Mindi Green (20:46):
And I have a, maybe a practical application to what Carey was just sharing. It is so very important to be able to pray biblical prayers. And for me, it was simple. I was focused on having my regular time with the Lord most, every day. And I was reading through scripture and the Lord was speaking to me, but when I had children, he not only spoke to me about myself and my heart, but he applied it to my children because if I was reading something that talked about how I need to be say more forgiving or patient, then I’m like, oh, and I want my children to be that way too. So then it would lead me to pray that for my children and these verses that Carey gave you are definitely ones that I’ve come across in my quiet times with the Lord. And I’m hearing Paul is praying for the churches and I’m like, I want that for my life.
Mindi Green (21:40):
And then I’m like, oh, I want that for my kids. So it was really very simple in my daily quiet times with the Lord. I just naturally would pray for my children. Another very practical thing is I have read through the Proverbs ever since I was a teenager on a regular basis. And the Proverbs have been extremely helpful for us in praying for our children. There’s so much there regarding parenting and just the heart that it was easy for me to have simple little prayers for my kids as I was reading through it, when I would get done with her Proverbs, I’d started over again. And so in a sense, I would say another thing I’ve done with my children is I’d prayed through the Proverbs for them, their whole lives, just because I was reading through it during my time with the Lord.
Carey Green (22:25):
Yeah. So what you’re describing is you are an opportunistic prayer. You take situations that you’re in, whether it’s reading the Bible for yourself and your own edification, or it’s a situation where you feel the spirit nudging, you, you need to improve in patience or, or humility or whatever. And then you turn around and prayer for your kids at the same time, because you realize if I need this, my kids need this. And I think that’s a great attitude. Well, for instance, it’s been great being with you again, the list of how to pray for your children, that Mindi mentioned is one that we are going to work into our own version, including the extra things that Mindi has added to the list. And we will make that available to you. You should find a link for that available in the show notes for this episode, as well.
Carey Green (23:09):
Remember, those scriptures that I suggested will be in the show notes. And then also finally in future episodes, we would like to include your voice and your question in some Q and a episodes. So if you are interested in asking us a very specific question to your place in life or your kids or your situation, you can remain anonymous, but we would love to hear it in your voice. And don’t worry about if you Stamer and stumble, you know, that might be intimidating. And don’t worry about that. I’m an audio editor I can take care of that stuff will make you sound as genuine and sweet as you really are. So you can go to God, fairing kids.com. There is a button there that says, ask my question, just leave your question with a recording function there. And we will include it in a future episode. Thanks so much for being with us.
Mindi Green (23:54):
Thank you so much. God bless.
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