When You Pray for Your Children with No Results
- Dr. Roger Barrier Preach It, Teach It
- 2012 8 Nov
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a spiritual warfare question. I pray for two of my kids to be released from Satan’s grip. I pray this on a daily basis. I fully believe that God is able to free them. I have faith and complete confidence in God’s power to do this. I just don’t know when or how. My question is, WHY AM I NOT SEEING RESULTS?
I can halfway answer my own question by saying that they themselves need to repent and appropriate a new life and freedom in Christ. Now, is there more to it that I need to know as I pray for them?
First of all, I grieve with you. We all want our children to have wisdom, to make good choices and to manifest solid morals and values. We want to see them living for Christ and moving well on the way to maturity. I know your heart is in agony. I am so sorry for your pain and hurt. I also grieve for the pain and hurt they well may experience while they are living away from Christ. Perhaps I can give you a little hope.
The most obvious answer to your question, “Why am I not seeing results?” is likely the half answer you gave above: “They themselves need to repent and appropriate a new life and freedom in Christ.” The truth is, their choices are of paramount. You can pray and pray and pray but their decisions to continue in sin and most probably to remain under Satan’s grip will continue until they decide otherwise.
In Ephesians 4:27 Paul taught that it is possible for individuals to continue in perpetual sin long enough that Satan gains a foothold. You may need to pray for your children’s repentance and victory over specific, ongoing sins before they themselves can dislodge Satan’s grip! In James 4:7 James taught that only when we stop our sin, do we have the freedom to demand that the Devil flee our presence. By the way, it is possible to personally confess the sins of others. Daniel confessed the sins of his people in Daniel 11 God heard that prayer.
Obviously, your questions indicate that you are familiar with spiritual warfare. Neil Anderson has many helpful guideline prayers for overcoming Satan's grip in particular areas of our lives. His “Bondage Breakers” books are ever so helpful. You might consider praying some of his specifically designed, spiritual warfare, guide-line prayers to overcome any stronghold that Satan may be using against your children.
While the choice to remain in sin lies primarily with your children, our prayers are still important. Let me share some thoughts that may help lay the foundation for their eventual freedom.
Pray specifically for their minds to be free enough to choose against Satan and for the Lord. One prayer you might add to your arsenal is based on 2 Corinthians 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Pray specifically for their blinded eyes to be opened to see the truth of what's becoming of their lives.
The prayer for pain and suffering is hard to pray—but often necessary. Many wayward souls return to a Christ-like life when events so turn against them that there is nowhere else to look except up!
For effective praying I believe that we must be on what I call, "Praying Ground."
God said, "Take off your shoes, Moses, you are on holy ground." We want a pure and humble heart, and a righteous life when we kneel on holy ground before God in prayer. James declared: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).
Let me share a Biblical checklist to ensure that we are on praying ground so that our prayers are powerful and not hindered.
3. Are my motives pure and unselfish (James 4:3)?
4. Is my relationship with my spouse intimate and in order (1 Peter 3:7).
5. Am I praying with faith and belief (Mark 11:25)?
6. Is any unforgiveness tucked away in the recesses of my heart (Mark 11:25)?
One more thing, pray for close relationships with your wayward children. It is easy for parents to become estranged from children who make unwise choices. You want to keep a good relationship with them so that they feel free to come to you when they do want advice. If your relationship with them is solid you can speak into their lives in ways you never can if they don’t like or trust you.
Always keep in mind: The Prodigal Son may be just around the corner.
Again, I am sorry you are in pain regarding your children. God never designed it to be this way. May God give you grace to handle these times and peace not to worry about it all the time.
I hope this helps.
P.S. Remember how answers come:
1. Sometimes immediately (Isaiah 65:24)
2. Sometimes delayed (Luke 18:7)
3. Sometimes different than we asked (Acts 16:6-10)
4. Sometimes we get even more than we ask for (Ephesians 3:20)
5. Sometimes a flat out "No" (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
Dr. Roger Barrier recently retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.