A Prayer to Parent with Wisdom
By Betsy de Cruz
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Before my kids were born, I read every parenting book I could get my hands on, but they left me totally unprepared. What I read on paper never seemed to match my real life situation.
While parenting methods gave me some ideas to try out, God’s Word gave me the strength, wisdom, and encouragement I needed to survive as a parent. Scripture reminded me I was called to love and serve my children. Parenting strategies fall short, but God’s Word provides timeless wisdom.
1. Love and serve your kids. We can reflect God’s unconditional love to our kids when we love them no matter what. Even when they act downright unlovable and drive us crazy, God calls us to love and serve them. Ephesians 5:1-2 reminds us: “Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
2. Teach them to love God. Of course we want to train our kids to obey and become responsible adults, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that ultimately our biggest goal is to teach our children to love God first. We can model love for God by seeking to live out His Word ourselves. Taking our kids to church, reading Scripture, praying together, and discussing faith issues build a family culture of loving Him.
3. Lead by example. If I want to teach self-control, loving behavior, and respect for others, I have to model them so my kids can learn them too. If I want to show my kids what it means to love God, I need to live that out myself with behavior, attitudes and words that honor Him. “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity” ( Titus 2:7).
4. Train them diligently. To learn how to act like a civilized, considerate, and responsible human being, every child needs consistent limits, and consequences for misbehavior. Some children learn more easily than others, but God’s Word reminds us that diligence plays a key role: “He who loves [his son] is diligent to discipline him” ( Proverbs 13:24).
5. Pray for them. Perhaps the most effective parenting strategy the books don’t mention is to pray for our children. Parenting isn’t a formula where you put in certain variables and get sure outcomes. We depend on God to show His grace and intervene in our kids’ lives, so we need to pray for them.
Parenting strategies may not work, but God’s Word offers wisdom and life principles for families.
Will you pray with me?
Lord, I need You. Give me grace each day to love my children and see them with your eyes. Help me to find in Your Word the wisdom I need to lead my kids well and to train them diligently. I am so thankful I don't have to rely on my own wisdom to parent my children. Thank you for the guidance, discernment and truth your Spirit provides. Help me live in utter dependence on you in all things, particularly today in my parenting. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Content taken from “Why Parenting Strategies Don’t Work (And What You Should Do Instead)” by Betsy de Cruz. You can read that piece in full here.
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