Parent With Prayer

I'd pretty much exhausted all of my usual strategies for discipline when I came to my husband and said, "I'm just out of ideas for how to handle this. What should I do?"

(I was listening intently for a magic bullet technique that I hadn't thought of yet. I REALLY wanted to hear a 1-2-3 solution to the complex heart attitudes of our pre-schooler.)

"Well, have you tried praying with him? Just stay calm, correct him, and ask God to help. Let him see that you are both dependent on the Lord for a heart change."

All at once, relief and frustration flooded over me. One part of my mind scolded the suggestion, "PRAYER?! How is that going to help when I'm at the end of my rope? I just need something more practical I can implement!"

But the deepest part of my heart relented, "Yes. PRAYER. Because I don't always have the answers, I can't change my son's heart, and the best thing I can do is model deep dependence on Jesus for holiness. God will meet me there."

How often do we feel this way? We parent our little ones, day-in and day-out, growing disillusioned with all the foolproof discipline strategies promised to us on blogs and in books. We put our hope in the methods, thinking that if we can do enough research or execute it more perfectly, then maybe we can finally have control over our children. But we forget the cross.

If our children came with a handbook, a set of easy-to-do strategies, or a human solution to their sin - we wouldn't need God. We would quickly depend on our own efforts, and tell our children to do the same. We would forget to pass on the bad news: that we can't change our hearts by sheer force of will, and we can't change anyone else's either.

We - mothers and children - are both leveled at the cross. 
Both dependent.
Both needy.
Both desperate to be rescued, guided, and loved.

And in the absence of a perfect "this is how we are going to move forward" plan, we can at least offer our children the gospel. We can at least pray. We can at least say, "God's son is our only hope - the only chance we have."

Mamas, have you tried praying with them?

For more on prayer, listen to Episode 61 | Prayer & Motherhood and consider downloading our free printable prayer card as a practical tool!