Praying For Your Children
By Sammy Tippit
The most rewarding task you will ever undertake is praying for your children. It also could be the most daunting. Every time you pray for your children, it is as though you are planting the seeds of beautiful flowers deep within their souls. It takes time and care for those seeds to take root and grow. However, when they are fully mature, they bring great pleasure to the one who planted them.
Nevertheless, storms blow across their lives and threaten to destroy everything planted within them. When we pray, God provides a shelter to protect the seeds. They only produce deeper roots for the flowers to grow, and they become even more beautiful.
As I have planted seeds of prayer in the lives of my children, I have learned that praying for them does not stop once they are grown and have become independent. A parent’s responsibility of prayer never ends. Our children go through various seasons of life, and God wants us to learn how to pray for them during the different seasons. You embark upon a lifelong journey when you begin praying for your children.
Before you set out on the journey of praying for your children, one great truth must be burned into your soul. Praying for your children is not a substitute for loving your children the way God intends. When you rear your children the way God desires, there will be great power when you pray for them. Without Christlike child rearing, a spiritual barrier hinders our attempts to pray for them.
The Apostle Peter wrote about the importance of Christian living and its relationship to our prayer lives. He said disobedient husbands could be won without a word spoken to them because of the godly behavior of wives. He also said the way a man treats his wife could hinder his prayers (1 Pet. 3:1-7). The way we live is the engine that enables our families’ lives to be changed, and prayer is the fuel that gives the engine power and force.
There are some wonderful principles I have learned on this journey of praying for our children. At the same time, I want to be very clear in stating that our children are not perfect. They have not become super saints just because we have prayed for them. Super saints – they are not. Sinners saved by grace – they are. It does not mean there was neither pain nor problems just because we have prayed for our children. They still went through the process of trying to discover themselves as teenagers. They tested our limits at times. They had to find their faith when they went away to college. However, prayer has guided them through those tumultuous times.
My wife and I have prayed for more than three decades for our children. God taught us some wonderful principles of prayer during those years. I believe they will be very helpful to you as you pray for your children. Different people will apply these principles in different ways. Some readers may be new to the journey of prayer, and their children are already grown. Others may be brand-new parents. Each of us will want to apply the principles that are relevant to our situation. [Editor’s note: space permits us to share here only the first principle.]
Surrendering Our Children to God
The first principle is surrendering our children to God. There is a tremendous story in the Bible of a woman who wanted to have a child, but it seemed impossible. She wept bitterly before the Lord, asking Him to give her a son. Finally, she said, "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head" (1 Sam. 1:11 NASB). God gave her a son; and she kept her vow to the Lord saying, "‘For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.’ And he worshiped the Lord there." (1 Sam. 1:27-28, NASB).
Hannah recognized that children are a gift from God. When God answered her prayer and gave her a child, she, in turn, gave the child back to God. She understood a very simple but important truth. All life comes from God. He gives life, sustains life, and takes life. He is the only true Source of life. It is the first truth we must learn about our children. That truth produces a certain security within them and within our hearts. When Hannah came to grips with this great truth, she gave her son back to God.
My wife and I gave both of our children to the Lord before they were ever born. While they were still in their mother’s womb, we dedicated them to God. Even before conception, we prayed for them. When my wife and I were married, we went to Gulf Shores, Alabama for our honeymoon. We gave each other a Bible for a wedding present. We read that Bible on our honeymoon and prayed. We dedicated our lives and marriage to God. We also dedicated any children that God would give us to Him.
When we learned my wife Tex was pregnant with our son Dave, we laid hands on her womb, prayed, and dedicated him to Christ. We did the same thing with our daughter Renee before she was born. God wants us to fill this planet with children who love God and will serve Him.
That was His plan in the beginning with Adam and Eve when He told them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…" (Gen. 1:28, NASB). He gave that commission before their fall. At that time, they were living in an intimate relationship with God; and He wanted that relationship reproduced around the world. He desired that the world be filled with people who loved Him.
He longs to work in our children to fill the earth with people who walk intimately with Him. Since we dedicated our children to God, I have been convinced there has been an unseen Hand guiding them. When they have made a wrong turn in life, His Hand led them gently back to the path of life. When trouble knocked at their door, the Hand of God opened it and trouble had to flee. I watched the sovereignty of God – coupled with the decision we made to dedicate our children to God – form a circle of protection around them.
Perhaps some readers might feel discouraged because they did not dedicate their children to God before they were born. That is the wonderful thing about God’s grace. You can do it right now. Now is the acceptable time. Today is the day. The best time to dedicate your children is at this moment. When I speak about dedicating your children to God, I am not necessarily speaking of a ceremony in a church service. You can do that as well. However, you can give them to God in your secret place of prayer – at your meeting place. I would encourage you to dedicate your children to the Lord – no matter how old they are. Perhaps you did not know Christ or did not know how to pray for your children when they were born. God knows and He understands. Remember He loves you and your family. Allow this study to be the starting point for dedicating your children to God.
God may have blessed you with adopted children. This principle applies to them as well. God has given you a deep love for them and the responsibility to care for them. With this responsibility comes an equal measure of spiritual authority. Dedicate them to Christ in your secret place of prayer. It is no accident you chose to adopt them. The sovereignty of God and your choice have landed you in a wonderful place that enables you to intercede for them. God must have a special plan for their lives. He placed those children in your heart and now in your home.
It lies within our spiritual authority to pray for our grandchildren in a similar manner. God has told us He is faithful to a thousand generations of those who love Him. In Deuteronomy, God told the children of Israel, "Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments" (Deut. 7:9, NASB).
– Used by permission from Praying for Your Family: An Eternal Legacy by Sammy Tippit. Copyright © 2006. For more information on the book and study materials for Praying for Your Family by Sammy Tippit, go to www.PrayingForYourFamily.org.