A Prayer to be a Better Parents
By Cindi McMenamin
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
If you’re like me, you constantly wonder what more you should be doing for your children. Am I giving them enough of my time? Am I offering enough encouragement in their lives? Am I being a good enough role model?
We all feel like we blow it at times, when it comes to parenting. And there’s always guilt if we’re looking for it –about what we could have done or should now be doing differently. Now that my daughter is an adult, I’ve found the most effective and rewarding things I gave her stemmed from the things I asked God to do in me through prayer.
You and I, as parents, can only do so much for our children. But God can work in their hearts and minds to shape them into the people He wants them to be. And God gives you and me the privilege, as parents, to be a part of that process when we surrender our will to Him and allow Him to mold and shape our character in a way that is best for not only us, but our children, too. This is my prayer to be a better parent.
Seek God First
Lord, help me to seek You –and Your purposes – above any other pursuit in life. I can easily be distracted by the temporary but keep me focused on the eternal. Help me to not just talk of a relationship with You but truly live it in my daily priorities and actions. Although there are things I want for my family, that I can tend to stress about, You are aware of them all, and Your Word promises that when I put You first, You will take care of everything else, according to what You know is best for us. Help me to truly believe that and live by it so my children will place their confidence in You, as well.
Guard My Mouth
Lord, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of [my] mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV). Lord, I don’t want my children to detect a critical spirit in me, or jealousy, or even a lack of faith or discontent. So, guard my mouth so I don’t talk critically of anyone. And when it comes to how I address – and correct – my children, help me to build them up rather than tear them down. When they make mistakes or fail miserably, help me to discern when they need love, grace, and forgiveness instead of a lecture on what they should’ve done differently.
Lord, help me to be thankful in all circumstances, not just the ones that are comfortable and enjoyable. Help me to especially be thankful in the difficult situations so my children see me as a person full of praise, not self pity. Whenever I praise You, it changes my perspective and focuses me on the good things You are doing in the midst of the troubles. Help my kids to see that. Make me a thankful person, a person of praise in every circumstance, a parent who can “in all things, sing.”
Lord, help me not to worry about anything, but to instead, and immediately, pray about everything that concerns me about my children and anything else. I want to experience Your peace that exceeds anything we can understand. As I display that peace, my children will see that I really do trust You with everything and my faith is not just a “talk” but a real-life walk. By praying about what would otherwise concern me, I am teaching my children to go to You in prayer instead of worrying, too. And Lord, help me not to just hide away and pray about what concerns me but to verbally pray aloud, at times, so my children see my default mode is to take it to God in prayer rather than flip out, freak out, or fret.
A Gentle, Humble Spirit
Lord, help me to understand that in Your eyes those who are first will be last. And those who allow themselves to be last will be first (Mark 10:31). Help me to humble myself in Your sight so that You can lift me up at the proper time (1 Peter 5:6). And help me to cast all my cares on You instead of feeling I have to work out everything on my own. Help my children to remember me as one who served and put others first, not as one who always had to be at the front of the line.
Find My Identity in Christ
Lord, show me my value and worth in You, not in what I accomplish or what my children accomplish. Don’t let me put undue pressure on my children to perform because of my own lack of skills, or opportunities. Help me to support who they are as individuals, and be confident that I answer to You alone in how I parent them and You are waiting to partner with me to help me be the best parent I can be.
Editor’s Note: Content taken from “10 Simple Prayers That Will Make You a Better Parent” by Cindi McMenamin. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.