Every Wednesday here at The Friends of Israel we gather for chapel service.
After an update and message from one of our ministry representatives we break into groups and pray for the requests you, our friends, have sent. Often these requests include prayer for adult children. Many of them have walked away from the biblical teaching of their youth. As a parent myself, I am burdened with these requests. As a former wayward child, I am humbled to pray for them.
There are thousands of books written on parenting. Search the internet and you’ll find millions of videos and posts on the right way to raise children. “It takes a village,” some say, but the very next post may be warning of the dangers of villages raising children. As believers in Jesus and students of God’s Word, we know even the godliest parents had wayward children. We read how Eli the priest had evil sons (2 Samuel 2). And Jacob, oh my! His sons sold their brother into slavery (Genesis 37). As parents, we can look for those five magic ways to guarantee our children will follow God faithfully into old age, but honestly, there are no guarantees.
I want to share four principles that my parents followed while parenting and that I am repeating with my child. DISCLAIMER: None of these guarantee your child will faithfully follow the Lord. However, they are based on God’s Word and as believers in Jesus, we are called to be faithful no matter what the outcome.
1. Pray for Wisdom
I will never forget my sister-in-law’s wise advice to me as a new mother. “Sarah, in the most desperate times of taking care of your child, you’ll want to Google what you should do. Always remember that the best thing you can do is stop and pray and ask God for wisdom in that moment.”
Parenting in the tech age is a blessing and a curse. Google often can take the place of the Holy Spirit. James 1:5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” We have access to God’s unlimited storehouse of wisdom; He says we simply need to ask!
2. Never Stop Talking About God
In Deuteronomy 11, Moses wrote to the people of Israel to teach their children about God at all times. God should be entwined in the conversations we have with our children no matter what we’re doing.
Don’t miss the opportunities you have to answer your children’s questions and use the seemingly mundane times to talk about our great God.
My son and I are in the car a lot. I’ve learned that during this time we are a captive audience to one another. Our conversations about who God is have been priceless. Don’t miss the opportunities you have to answer your children’s questions and use the seemingly mundane times to talk about our great God. Don’t be scared of their questions or comments—God is bigger than our doubts, questions, and feelings. Talk through them together and if you don’t know the answer, humbly tell them you do not know and figure it out together using God’s Word and resources of godly people you trust.
3. Ask for Forgiveness
I was a strong-willed child and downright terrible. Nothing gave me more satisfaction as a young adult than to push my father into losing his temper. But through my dad’s failure to respond correctly, God taught me what humility looked like. My giant preacher father would come back to me and ask for forgiveness because he lost control and yelled at me even though I provoked him, usually on purpose. I was the one who should have been repenting! Being vulnerable with your children will far outweigh the actual failures.
4. Pray and Trust
Here is what I know: lifting your children up to God puts them in the best place they can be. It doesn’t matter if your children are 3 months old or 55 years old—praying for them is the most loving thing you can do.
It doesn’t matter if your children are 3 months old or 55 years old—praying for them is the most loving thing you can do.
Romans 5:3-5 says, “But we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” This life is not about us. It is about God and what He is doing. When our children are wayward or going through a difficult time, we must cling to the One that holds us knowing that tribulation → perseverance → proven character → HOPE!
As parents, we fail because we are not perfect, but God is perfect, and He has asked us to point our children to Him. No matter what age your children are, it’s not too late to do this! To become better parents, we should always show our children the example of the best Parent, our Heavenly Father.