"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)
"My child is adrift. How do I let go?" my friend asked with tear-filled eyes.
"You hold on with a tether of prayer," I replied.
Our goal as parents is to raise our children to be independent, faith-filled adults. We teach them right from wrong. We educate them about God and the Bible. We exhibit table manners and good sportsmanship. We demonstrate compassion and empathy for humanity. We subtly point them in the direction of what we suspect will bring them happiness and success. Then they grow-up and seem to drift away from everything we have taught them.
Sometimes, no matter how great the parenting, some children flounder in adulthood. They wander into uncharted territory to test their independence. What's a parent to do then? If the child is of legal age, the best thing a parent can do is to pray. Our key verse demonstrates that this is how Jesus dealt with Simon Peter when he was about to fall into fear and doubt concerning his faith and love for God. Jesus didn't scold, plead or rebuke him. Jesus simply said, "But I have pleaded in prayer for you."
Jesus prayed with complete confidence in the power of God to bring Simon Peter back into the faith and fellowship with the other believers. My favorite part of today's key verse is when Jesus stated, "So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers." Many times when a child wanders away from family and faith, we tend to see it as only a negative. However, Jesus saw Simon's weakness in a different light. Jesus knew that after Simon drifted, he would come back stronger in his walk of faith than before. Simon would be able to strengthen other people.
As we pray for our children, their faults, foibles, and faith frailties, let's remind ourselves that these very things may be exactly what God will use for him or her to help others. It is through personal mistakes that our children can learn compassion and empathy for people—especially those who struggle in similar areas. So, as we pray, let's be encouraged by the knowledge that God never wastes a painful experience. He will use drifting children to minister to a hurting world. So go right now and tether your child to God with a lifeline of prayer.
Dear Lord, my child is adrift in a frightening world. Teach me how to pray for my child. Remind me that the most effective thing I can do is to plead for him/her before the throne of God. Help me to convert my worry into prayer. I thank You that You understand my feelings and I can trust in Your sovereignty in my child's life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Find a notebook or prayer journal and begin to journal your prayers for your child. Date each prayer. Every time you begin to feel stress and anxiety over your child's behaviors, write a prayer. In addition, as you see promises of hope and change in your son or daughter, jot them down as a reminder when you feel discouraged and overwrought that God is indeed at work.
Read Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents
as an additional resource of hope.Reflections:
Do I believe that prayer is the most effective way to handle my wayward child?
How can I remind myself to pray instead of worry?
When my child turns around, how will he/she be able to strengthen other people?
Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (NIV)
John 17:15, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." (NIV)
Psalms 27:13-14, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (NIV)
© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.