My daughter has played soccer since she was seven. At first, I prayed that her knees and ankles would hold out. Then, as the girls on her team matured and improved in skill, I added prayers that she wouldn’t get a concussion from crashing skulls with another player. So far, her bones have held out and protected her vital organs.
So when I read the title of Praying for Your Child from Head to Toe, I assumed that author Sharon Jaynes was a sports mom like me. However, this book addresses far more than the skeletal and physical safety of our babes, though that is important. Prayers for the “head” include the mind. Prayers for the “heart” include coverage for the attitudes, passions, and priorities of our children. And since the ultimate goal of prayer is to know the heart of God, Sharon teaches us to become attuned to what God wants for our kids, not what we want for them.
Praying for Your Children Even When You Feel You’re Losing the Battle
The start of the school year can alert you to new challenges your children are facing. I certainly have more worries than mere broken bones with my kids. I’m often blindsided by trials that leave me weeping and praying for my kids’ wellbeing. You may feel as if your kids aren’t prepared to succeed—or that you aren’t prepared to help them with the intense social pressures they may encounter. But take heart, Sharon encourages us with these wise words:
“I want to give you a holy hug right now and let you know there will be days, months, even years when you feel discouraged because of the lack of fruit you see from your prayers. Your prayer might be, ‘God, throw me a bone! Show me something to let me know my prayers are really making a difference!’
Oh, dear sister, I’ve been there. What I want to tell you is that God is always working behind the scenes in ways we will never know this side of heaven. Jesus said, ‘My Father has been working until now [He has never ceased working], and I too am working’ (John 5:17 AMP).”
Sharon goes on to say, “Praying for our children does not mean they won’t struggle. Often it is through the struggle that God does some of His most amazing work! It does mean that we are calling on God to miraculously work in the process. We are petitioning Him for wisdom as we parent, and seeking His presence, power, and protection in the life of our child. Every parent will feel discouraged and disheartened when their child makes a decision that we know will lead down a rocky path. However, that rocky path could be the very detour God uses to draw them into a deeper relationship with Him. Don’t give up when those boulder-size struggles litter the way. Keep praying. God is always working.”
Let me recap Sharon’s sage advice: Never. Ever. Give. Up. On. Prayer.
Praying for Your Child’s Mind
But where to start these fervent battle prayers—head or toe?
Let’s check in with Scripture for the best plan.
Second Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
The first place to make a stand for your children is the battle for their minds. In Praying for Your Child from Head to Toe, Sharon writes, “So many times, we try to change the way our children act. However, no one can act differently than they think or believe. Godly thinking produces godly actions. What children think about will ultimately determine what they are about. As you pray for your child’s mind, you’ll be praying for the thoughts that come to their mind, tumble about in their head, and affect their actions and emotions. You’ll be praying for God to guard your child’s thought life, to keep ungodly thoughts out and wholesome thoughts in.”
I find one good way to help my children keep positive Bible thoughts in their heads is the good ol’ sticky-note system. Write verses on them and stick them on mirrors, on their sandwich bag, on their cell phone case, on the TV, inside their shoes, or on banana peels. Hiding them in plain sight keeps the messages playful rather than naggy.
One of my sons is tight-lipped. I don’t know what he’s thinking most of the time. He gives me a Cheshire-cat grin if I ask a direct question about God. But just last week I moved his car out of a hailstorm, and lo-and-behold he had a worship music CD in the audio deck.
Never. Ever. Give. Up. On. Prayer.
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Marianne Hering is an editorial Jane-of-all-trades: ghost blogger, children’s book author, content writer, picture-book coach, developmental editor, magazine article writer, and copyeditor. While on the staff with Focus on the Family, she helped launch the popular Clubhouse and Club Jr. magazines in 1987 and edited their children’s books for more than a decade. She is the fiction acquisitions editor for Brio magazine and manages the parenting column “Hacks & Facts” for Focus on the Family magazine. She recently joined David C Cook as a developmental editor for Esther Press books. Perhaps the “chapter” in her career she’s enjoyed the most is writing The Imagination Station book series for children ages seven to ten, which has more than one million cumulative sales.
Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible (AMP), Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org.