I have so many dreams for my children. So many prayers that I have whispered into quiet nights. I have sat and rocked babies and silently prayed blessings over them. I have watched kids walk out the door for school, praying all the while for their safety. For their boldness. For their kindness. For tender hearts to hear God speak.
At bedtime, I pray with my children. I speak fairly generic prayers over them while simultaneously holding the baby and counting the seconds until I can sit on the couch. All of my passionate pleadings with God on their behalf have been reserved for silence. For still moments off the beaten path of motherhood.
John Newton had a praying mother. Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace” and ended up being an influential preacher despite a rough start in life, told stories about his mother and her prayer closet. She spent a lot of time in there, off the beaten path of motherhood, praying for her son and who knows what else. Despite the fact that she died when Newton was only six years old, he remembered clearly times when she would pull him into her prayer closet and lay her hand on his head, praying aloud all of her passionate pleas for her little boy. Later in life when he came to his rather dramatic conversion, he said that he could still almost feel his mother’s hand resting on his head like it had in her prayer closet so many years before.
When I heard this story and thought of my generic let’s-hurry-up-and-pray bedtimes with my kids, I felt sure that I was meant to do more. I believe in the power of those off the beaten path moments of individual prayer. But, why unintentionally hide all of my impassioned cries to God from my children? Why reserve those only for my prayer closet moments when I can bless their lives and stir their very hearts and souls with my words to the Father on their behalf? Why miss the opportunity to impact them so much? In ways that an old man like John Newton could remember, decades later?
When I look at John Newton’s life, a man who was once nicknamed “The Great Blasphemer,” I wonder how many of his mother’s pleas with God, blessings that filled a prayer closet and his little preschooler ears, carried him through his far away years and helped to bring his heart close to Jesus? Only God knows.
But, when my children emulate how I taught them to pray, I don’t want them to be able to recall nothing more than a let’s-get-this-over-with recitation. I want them to remember the passion in my voice, the warmth of my touch, and the blessing of a praying mother who leaves no doubt that God is real and He is listening. That He is more than just a good luck charm.
When they are old, will they still remember the prayers I prayed? When they see them answered, will they know without a doubt that it was God, extending grace to a praying mother and her children? When the prayers go unanswered, will they say, “Even so, we trust Him?” Will they learn to offer their own impassioned pleas to King Jesus?
So many dreams and prayers. My babies will hear them all. And, so will my God.
Beautifully said, Melissa. Thanks for this.
Thanks so much, Tim, and for the repost!
Awsome thoughts, thank you!
Thanks for reading, Maya!
Thanks so much. This is something I was really lax on as my children were growing. Regretting it now!
Thank you, Linda! I suppose it’s never too late–maybe you need to pull a grown man or woman into your prayer closet! 🙂
Let’s not forget though, that God hears our prayers because through Christ he’s a gracious, loving Father – not because of the drama of our performance. Don’t beat yourself up if a lot of prayers each day have similar content – life each day has a lot of similar content. Our Father doesn’t tire of hearing our repeated prayers.
Yes, thank you, David. Most all of my prayers for my children are repeated and have similar content, unless specific situations arise. In those bedtime prayers with them I was talking more about surface things, just getting through the prayers quickly and without much thought. The focus here is not on the “drama” of the prayers, but on the deeper content, conveying to them what I REALLY pray for them. I hope that makes sense. I wasn’t trying to say that I want to do some kind of false performance in front of my kids. Thanks for reading and for your comment.
I agree so much with this post. I remember the first few times I prayed openly, emotionally over my boys…embarrassed somewhat afterwards, but seeing a look on their faces that I can’t explain…concern, maybe…but they knew there was something special about those moments.
Enjoy reading your posts!
PS – not all prayers are emotional (dramatic or for a performance), sometimes, there are situations that bring out a deeper need, cry to God in our prayers that I feel my boys need to see and hear…as well as the everyday prayers when life is going “normal”.
Thanks for sharing this experience, Dionna! And, thanks so much for reading!
Can relate with you re those generic bedtime prayers…so tired at the end of the day. What a difference those prayers are with my own silent pleading, sighing prayers for their salvation, righteousness, for their image to conform to Christ’s likeness everyday. Thanks for describing Newton’s experience… an inspiration to pull my kids in to the closet every now and then.
Thank you Gracee!
This made me think. Our two, 3 year old Grandson’s spent last week with us. We spoke generic prayers with them. Mealtime and bedtime. I never thought about praying my deeper content prayers with them. You are so right, we may never know what an impact hearing “those” prayers might have on them. Thanks Melissa.
Thank you, Barbara!
This was the most amazing blog! I pray over my grandson when he spends the night with me. I pray continually for my son, his wife & my precious grandson. So many times I have heard women say in a group, “I don’t know how I would have made it without a praying grandmother”! I want this to be me, ALWAYS!! Thanks again for writing these beautiful words!
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Linda!!
Oh, how this has blessed and encouraged me. My children are out of our home but solidly in our prayers. Thank you, and I have shared on FB.
Thank you for this kind comment, Julie! And, thanks so much for sharing!
Well said! A great post 🙂
Thank you, Susan!
Serene in Singapore
Thank you for this reminder! At the end of each day I long to crawl back to my introverted shell and prayers ARE hurried and ritualistic. And yes, they need to hear our impassioned prayers over them! Thank you!!!
Thank you, Serene!
Thank you for this! I can totally relate–most of the time I just want to hurry up and get everyone to bed so I can relax! But I tried this last night, and I loved it! I took my time and really prayed specifically for each of my kids when I put the 3 of them to bed last night. I also felt more patient with them (it’s hard to be exasperated after such heart-felt praying!) Then, tonight, my 8 yr old daughter asked if she could pray–and her prayers were so sweet and sincere–she prayed for each of us, just like I did last night. Thank you for this encouragement/reminder! The Holy Spirit has used you to bless our family 🙂
Wow, MM! Thank you for coming back to leave this comment! I love it!