I collect parenting books. It doesn’t mean I read them all. But I do collect them. Maybe it makes me feel like a better parent just owning them? Maybe I’ll learn by osmosis?
I got an email from Tommy Nelson a few weeks ago about a new parenting book. I wasn’t going to review it because I knew it would join stacks of parenting books waiting for me to finish. But the title got me: Raising Your Kids To Love the Lord. I mean, that’s it. That’s all I want to do. I don’t care about my kids’ GPA, if they make the Varsity team or have a bunch of friends. I just want them to love the Lord.
The chapter is simply about prayer. I’ve written about prayer on my blog before. I update our Facebook page with prayers every morning (well, at least as often as I can. And have you seen my photo prayers this week?!). I am all for praying for our kids. This book, however, got me thinking more about teaching our kids to pray for themselves!
The author, Dave Stone tells a story about his 8th grade daughter wanting to transfer to a different school. They discuss it and finally decide to pray about it–and let their daughter pray about it. And ultimately do whatever their daughter thought the Lord was telling her.
Letting an 8th grader decide on her school?! It seems insane! Their daughter took this assignment seriously and came back to her parents saying that God told her to stay at her original school. She ended up being the Class President and very influential in her school!
Stone says, “If that sounds mystical…think about Samuel…he answered God’s call, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.'” That was a sucker-punch to me (and where I started crying). We JUST read that story (in our The Story Bible) last night and the kids thought it was awesome that God was calling Samuel. I even prayed during bedtime prayers that Lydia and Asa would respond to God’s voice just as Samuel had.
So for me to read, the very next morning, about a real 8th grade example of this? To see a child actually seek the Lord, hear Him and act on it is so encouraging! Stone finished with this, “Maybe your children need to practice self-control or show kindness to a sibling. Perhaps they need courage to make wise and God-honoring choices. Teach them to pray. Trust them. Trust God. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed.”
That last paragraph put tears streaming down my cheeks. These last few days (our first week of summer vacation!) I have been so excited about just chilling with my kids–relaxing, reading, cleaning the house, going on adventures and more. Instead, these last 3 days have been FULL of whining, complaining and disobedience. I sent Lydia to her room the other day simply because I could not, for the life of me, think of the right way to discipline. I felt like she didn’t even recognize that what she had done was sin.
I had never thought to ask my kids to pray about their behavior. When Lydia needs to have self-control? When Asa needs to stop whining? When they need to stop arguing? Maybe I should stop and pray with them? Maybe lead them in a prayer to ask Jesus to help and lead them away from sinful behavior?
I’m really intrigued by this idea. I think it would help them confront their sin issues head on with prayer. I want their first response to sin (or any problem) to be to turn to the Lord anyway. Maybe this is good for those things that I just can’t seem to get through to them? The issues that I know are sin and could take over if we don’t stop them?
What do you think? Do you help your kids pray for repentance and guidance even at a young age?