As you are probably beginning to gather, I’m pretty big on protection. I’ve written on the Difference between Protection and Over-Protection, Mama Bear Instinct, and How Mothers Save Lives. I did a fun personality test once at church to determine the type of woman I was. Out of Leader, Teacher, Protector and Nurturer I was Protector all day long. So, aside from physically protecting what is another important way we can look after our children? Through prayer. One of the number one ways we can help them is to protect children with prayer.
I don’t have prayer all figured out, but I know the Bible say to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) and I know that somehow our prayers matter. Does every prayer we pray get answered how we want it to? No. We’ve all heard the Garth Brook classic, Unanswered Prayers, haven’t we? Does God hear our every prayer? Yes. Does He love our children? Yes. This is why we pray.
1) Right thing at the right time.
I was never one of those girls who was everyone’s babysitter and helped raise half the community. I wasn’t around many babies and when I was pregnant with my first, I really wondered how I’d get on with a baby. I prayed – and I remember the prayer strongly because I’ve repeated it more times than I can count since then – “God, please show me the right thing at the right time to raise my daughter.” To this day I am amazed how He answers this.
Someone flippantly mentions a book, tip or concept and – bham – that week the issue arises in my house and I’m already prepared. An idea comes to mind and very often it is ingenious in how effective it is. I brag about this because I am saying that these things come from God to me as an answer to prayer. I boast in Him not in my motherly talents. I have no more motherly talents than any other mother. This is one of the best prayers you can pray (see Things that Make a Mother Pray More). I pray it now for my son because I know what works with my daughter may not work with him. God knows our children’s hearts. After all, he knit them together (Psalm 139).
2) Let God enlighten you.
God loves to answer our prayers. Have you ever had a mystery with your children you couldn’t solve, then prayed and got an answer? If not then I highly recommend it. For a year – A YEAR – I knew something was up with my daughter. At home she was lively and energetic and confident and then in public, like night and day, she was quiet and expressionless. People thought she was shy and I just knew in my heart she wasn’t. I asked advice and thought about it and most agreed it was probably just a reaction to being home most of the time then not being completely secure out in public.
But I noticed other kids seemed to pick on her, long before there was time to label her weak and bully her. Random kids would just walk up and push her. Finally one day I prayed desperately to God to show me. God answered. He showed me that it was something spiritual going on and I felt encouraged to sit by her bed while she was sleeping and just pray for her. I must have prayed for an hour. You know what? She woke up different. Or, more accurately, she woke up herself. And when we went out, she was herself. People started to comment on how chatty she was and she no longer seemed scared of other kids. I vowed that I’d never ignore a gut feeling again.
3) Lighten your load.
We mothers carry a heavy load of responsibility. We look after the needs of our children, family, house, job, ministry, etc. Often it can really feel like too much. Can we be great parents and guarantee our children grow up healthy and successful? No. Can we make mistakes and have thriving children? Yes. God wants to hear our cares and anxieties and to lighten that load. A few years ago I was having a trust battle with God – or rather, I was battling trusting God – and I had a nice illustration come to mind. For me at that point, trust was like hanging on to the side of a building.
There was a nice safety net there under me to catch me and carry me to safety, but for me to get on the safety net I had to let go of the building and jump. I could not hold on to the building and then test the safety net. I either stayed hanging on to the building where my fingers were cramping and I was rapidly losing strength, or I could fall back and rest on the safety net. I’ve thought of that many times since then and often, when my children’s safety and health is out of my control, I visualize myself falling back into the safety net and saying “I trust you, God.”
It will be something different for every mother, but there is comfort in knowing that God cares about my children more than I do. If that were possible. He will help me, enable me, and show me ways to be a great mother. He’ll correct me when I err and encourage me along when I’m weary. This comes through a give and take and alive prayerful relationship with Him. We can never be perfect parents, but with God’s help and teachable hearts we can become better and better parents.