Last Updated on March 20, 2018

Recently one of the kids was up for one of the accomplishments offered in childhood. You know the list: student council, first chair in the orchestra, lead in the play, all-stars team, captain, homecoming court, and I am sure there are many more we could list.

How many times have I been petitioned to pray for a family member or friend’s success? And how many times have I obliged, storming the throne of grace asking for mercy and grace for a kid’s need?

Yesterday I calmly went to the throne of grace to inquire why God didn’t answer my petition (Of course I deemed that God didn’t answer my petition because it didn’t go the way “I” wanted it).

The response in my heart was “I answer prayers that are valuable to me, not the ones that are valuable to you.” This was a novel thought to me. Suddenly I remembered again the purpose of prayer is to align my heart and mind with God, not vice versa.

It reminded me when my husband, Steve, was pitching in the Major Leagues. There on one side of the stadium was me praying that he would strike the hitter out, while often times there was another wife on the other side praying that her husband would hit a homerun. Who will God answer? Who is more godly? Whose request is more righteous?

The answer is God doesn’t value ERA’s or RBI’s the way we do (Earned Run Average or Runs Batted In). He values what He has written in his word, the Bible. If He valued all the accomplishments I pray about there would be books in the Bible addressed “To the athletes in …” or “To the student council candidates …” or “To those auditioning in …”

Instead He writes to the Church.

What He values is our spiritual relationship with him and with each other. So when a kid comes to me and asks me to pray that they win, my role is to remind them that winning isn’t as valuable as being surrendered – to do and accept God’s will – after they have tried their best. Can you live with it, if you lose? And not only live with it, but trust that God is working it together for good in your life?

I believe this is winning strategy for parents who want their kids to truly win and hear “Well done,” by the only judge that matters.

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  1. Thanks! this is a great post. I appreciate your perspective here because it's true… we all think that if we pray the only answered prayer is the one that goes our way. And teaching children to pray 'God's will' with sincerity does mean reminding them that prayer is really for submitting themselves to His will!! Well done!

  2. This is right, and we should all remind more often to align our heart with God instead of the contrary as you just say!
    Nice article, thanks for sharing your thoughts.