There he went. Just like that.
With his eyes fixed on the journey before him, he didn’t have time to look back. Confidence and anticipation pushed his feet faster. It was all he could do to keep from breaking into a full sprint.
Dad walked beside him, likely instilling one more value, one more reminder of how to handle life on his own. And, really, it wasn’t life on his own, just his first taste of life apart from family.
My son recently went to his first overnight camp. For a week my pre-teen would enjoy the fellowship of Christian comrades and counselors along with many adventurous outdoor activities and challenges.
And though I knew this camp, I knew the people, and I knew we were doing something good for our son – my heartstrings stretched. We walked him to his cabin, made his bed, and lingered in his room. In fact, we stayed so long that it prompted our son to ask, “When are y’all leaving?”
I took a deep breath, issued one last hug, then started the long walk to the car without my baby. As I walked, I worried.
Who will tell him when it’s time for dinner? Who will sit next to him and rub his back while he prays? Who will ask questions to be sure he’s okay?
I think being a parent might just be the greatest trust exercise we’ll ever attempt.
These kids, they’re like pieces of our hearts running around on the street. We instinctively protect. We run ahead and consider everything that could hurt, damage or mishandle them.
But we don’t have to bear our burdens alone. Because we belong to Jesus and are members of His body, we can pray with each other and for each other at all times and about all things. And that includes praying for our children.
In Philippians 4:6 Paul wrote,
[verse reference=”Philippians 4:6″]Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.[/verse]
As he shared the antidote for anxiety, Paul used three synonyms for prayer: prayer, petition and requests.
Prayer would often point to intercessory prayers for others. Petition described an urgent request exclusively addressed to God.
Paul knew well the effectiveness of petitions presented before God. He used the same word to describe his prayer for the Philippians (Philippians 1:3-4) as well as their prayers for him. (Philippians 1:19)
Finally, requests included the naming of specific items.
These three words point us towards community in prayer. When we pray for our children together with other followers of Jesus we can share our burdens and encourage each other.
Praying for one another and with one another is a privilege and a blessing to be shared with the members of the body of Christ.
- We can pray with one mind and purpose. (Acts 1:14, Acts 2:42)
- We can join each other’s struggles through prayer. (Romans 15:30, Acts 12:5)
- We can persevere together in prayer. (Ephesians 6:18, Romans 12:12)
To begin praying for your children together with other believers may be as simple as a sending a text to someone God has already put on your heart as you’ve read this article. Or maybe your child has a friend whose mother you already spend time with and you could begin praying for your children with together.
If you don’t know where to begin, ask God to show you a few women you could partner with in prayer. I’ve discovered that if I take the first step to invite someone into a prayer community for our kids, I usually find a mother with a heart like mine who loves her children and is eager to pray with others.
Our son had a wonderful time at camp that week, and he did in fact find his way to dinner each night. But if you’re like me, and sometimes it feels like your little one is growing up way too fast, rest in this today: God is his portion. God is his blessing. God holds his future.
If you’re like me, and sometimes it feels like your little one is growing up way too fast, rest in this today: God is his portion. God is his blessing. God holds his future.
In the meantime, remember – because we belong to Jesus, we don’t have to pray for our children alone.
Katy McCown is the author of She Belongs: Finding Your Place in the Body of Christ and She Smiles without Fear: Proverbs 31 for Every Woman. She is a writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries and host of the Best Day Ever podcast. Katy and her husband, Luke, a former NFL quarterback, are raising six children on their ranch in Texas.