In the last few years, I’ve grown in my amazement at the fact that we can pray. We are actually invited to talk to the Creator of the universe. He tells us He is listening.
Although there is much I can go on about prayer, today I want to simply stand amazed that He listens to us.
When I was a young mom, I prayed for all sorts of things for my one child. I actually prayed AGAINST a lot of things. That she wouldn’t be sick. That she wouldn’t be hurt. That she wouldn’t be influenced by bad friends. That she wouldn’t join a cult.
It was amazing how quickly the ideas of what could happen got really ridiculous.
I did pray for the right things to happen. For normal development. For good friends. For strong character. For an obedient heart. For wisdom. For impact.
I am wired to look at possibilities and scenarios. And it was backfiring on me. I was SO anxious. I somehow imagined that it was up to me to pray for the right things. I had to be so specific if I wanted it to happen.
And I will tell you that being specific is not bad. But in this case, it was clouding things.
It wasn’t until I started praying for my own anxiety that I had an epiphany.
I wanted peace. I prayed for peace. For me. For my daughter. For our family.
I started praying from Philippians 4 (NLT):
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I would tell Him all I needed, or what I thought I needed. What my family needed. I thanked Him for what He had done. I started looking at how He had been faithful so far.
Then one day, I read further:
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
There I saw it!
To have the peace of God, you need the God of peace.
True peace comes from having a relationship with God.
So the whole list of prayers from an anxious momma simply became, “Give them You, Lord.”
There was also another verse God used to cement this line of thinking.
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
WHATEVER bad or good thing happened to my kid(s), they are covered by this promise. All will be used for their good IF they are His.
So, I prayed for their salvation.
Once a child is a professing, growing believer, they get the benefit of prayers for wisdom and discernment. Specific prayers for specific seasons. But until they know Jesus, the only valid thing to pray is that they will respond to the free gift of God that is Jesus as Savior.
That is also the case for others who don’t know Jesus. I don’t pray for their health and ease in life. I don’t pray for happy relationships and good jobs. I pray for their eyes to see Jesus!
Because if they never have anything “bad” happen, and their life is considered “perfect” and “charmed,” but they don’t know Jesus. Then in the final analysis, none of that would have really mattered. This life is a breath in light of their eternity.
Pray for the most important thing first.