It’s no secret parenting is one of life’s great challenges, yet I don’t always remember to pray like I should for fellow parents, particularly those with young children. Here are ten reminders why we parents with kids at home could use your prayers… and lots of them! Each point includes a prompt with a practical way to pray for your Christian friends and family members who are parents.
- It’s harder than it looks on Instagram. Everyone’s kids look cute and cooperative in their posts online but that is not real life much (most) of the time. There are tantrums and discipline and (lots and lots of) crying and diaper mishaps and drawings on the walls. Pray parents will not be discouraged or become weary in doing good. When you see a picture of them on social media, this is a great opportunity to stop and pray for them in the moment.
- It often feels like there is no rest for the weary. Whoever coined the phrase “sleeping like a baby” did not have children! It’s hard to get enough sleep with young kids (let alone a baby) and inadequate sleep is known to make everything harder—making careful decisions, driving safely, eating healthily, not being irritable, and so forth. Pray for the parents you know to have adequate and refreshing rest. The pastor who married us reminded me one time from 1 Corinthians 13 that love is not irritable. Pray for Christian parents to not be angry or irritable with their children and spouse. Pray, too, that parents are disciplined with their own bedtimes. Adequate sleep is definitely a help in being able to love others well.
- Childhood is a constant roller coaster of emotions as children are frequently frightened by new things, or confused, or disappointed. Kids often do not understand what is happening and don’t have words to express why they are upset. These many blowups and breakdowns can be hard for parents to gracefully manage without getting exasperated themselves. Pray that parents can wisely and reassuringly explain new or hard things to their children and lovingly comfort them.
- Consistency is a challenge. Children need clear boundaries and consistent rules and enforcement. Often I don’t feel like running upstairs to the playroom for the umpteenth time to make sure brother A gives brother B’s toy back or figure out who hit whom, but our children need to know we are present, involved, and will follow through when we set expectations. Pray for consistency, thoughtful and reasonable rule-making, and loving (not angry and reactive) discipline.
- They may be too embarrassed to mention it, but often parents are riddled with guilt and fears of being inadequate. I’ve seen this as a child psychiatrist talking with parents, and also with my friends and in my own family. Everything feels “high stakes” and we don’t want to mess this up child we’ve been entrusted with for a limited time. Pray that husbands and wives would encourage each other and their fellow parents to cast their anxieties on the Lord, trusting in Him to sustain and nurture their family.
- Your marriage can get sidelined when you have little ones with so many needs. It’s critical to sustain the (earthly) foundation of your family—your marriage relationship—when it’s so hard to find time to talk or read the Word together, let alone get away. Pray for parents to be successful in making intentional time to be together. This may mean that they can find a good babysitter or successfully transition the kids to earlier bedtimes or any number of things. You don’t have to know all the solutions to be able to pray for the health of their marriage.
- It is easy to lose a sense of purpose in repetitive day to day tasks. Sometimes the monotony of constant dish- and clothes-washing, picking up toys, and cleaning food off the floor makes us wonder, “Is this even making a difference?” Indeed, mundane daily tasks are a necessary part of cultivating a young family, but sometimes it feels pointless or never-ending. Yet God has ordained that most of our life is lived in these ordinary moments. Pray for a renewed sense of purpose and vigor in parents as they seek to serve and care for their families for the glory of God.
- Frequent hard moments can distract from how sweet and funny and enjoyable children can be. Kids’ natural innocence and curiosity make every day exciting for them and their way of explaining the world around them can and should often bring a smile to our faces. There should be many funny and joy-filled moments for parents, provided mom and dad are not weighed down by tiredness and discouragement. Pray that parents might have a new sense of joy and wonder as they see their children learning about God’s world and how to love Him and others.
- Today’s COVID-19 restrictions with children are exhausting. Many parents are now cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, working from home, and whatever else they need to do with no real break from their kids. Right now we have no schools, play dates, or church nurseries and minimal contact with other parents. Pray for moments of joy and sweet family fellowship during these long days home together. Pray for endurance, patience, and grace with each other.
- Parents are faced with a high (and often daunting) calling: disciple-making. Like the Old Testament saints, we are called to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut 6:5-7). We must teach our children God’s decrees and the way of salvation but then ultimately we entrust our children to Him, since God alone can save. Pray for parents to faithfully teach their children from God’s Word and also pray that their children will be given a true and saving faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Although I write this now with many friends and loved ones in mind, I confess I have ulterior motives since I need these prayers as much as anyone! As parents seek to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), they will be helped immeasurably by the love and prayers of God’s people.
On behalf of all of us with kids, thank you for your prayers.