“It’s imperative to distinguish between your will and God’s will. Every prayer, including your prayers for your children, must pass a twofold litmus test: Your prayers must be in the will of God and for the glory of God.” ~Mark Batterson in Praying Circles Around Your Children
I’ve written a lot on this blog about praying for our children. I’ve shared how I like to make monthly prayer lists for current needs in my girls’ lives and I’ve shared prayers that I’ve written in different seasons. And just last week I talked about prayer being the most important thing we can do for them.
The quote above reminds me that, as I pray, it’s good to filter my requests through these two tests.
1. Is my prayer in God’s will? Here’s where knowing the Bible ties in to our prayer life. For example, I know from His Word that it’s God’s will for my children to be saved. I know that He wants them to show the fruit of the spirit in their lives, to be kind to others (including their siblings ;), to share their faith, to obey their parents and other authorities. The list could go on and on!
Maybe, however, I’m burdened to pray for a need, but I’m not sure exactly how to pray. I can be thankful that, first of all, the Holy Spirit intercedes for me when I don’t know what to pray! (Romans 8:26-27)
Then I can ask myself, am I praying for what I want for my children, or am I truly asking for His will to be done? Whether it’s praying for the right teacher, the right friend, the right classmates, the right spouse, the right career, I want what God wants for my child as I know that He loves her more than I do and will always do what’s best for her.
2. Is my prayer for God’s glory? Sometimes I might want a request answered so that I can bring attention to myself – or even to my daughters. I do seem to fight that battle with pride in every area of my life! Hoping that I’ll get some personal advantage or just an easier life for myself or my children is not a good reason to pray a certain way.
I think at times this can be hard to determine in our flesh, so we can begin a prayer by asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our true motives. Then, as we see answers to prayers, we can bring glory to God by sharing how He has worked in those situations. When He’s protected our child, or given her a great friend, or helped her overcome a particular temptation, or healed her in some way, we can give Him the glory and also encourage others in their faith and in their prayer life!
I’m so thankful that we have a God who wants to hear our prayers for our children – and not only hear, but answer!