Prayer. Do you struggle with it? I always have. I have been confused in the past by its purpose and its effectiveness. I have struggled with how to pray, for what to pray, words, thoughts and feelings. While I think that I still struggle with some of these issues and questions, the Lord has blessed me with a growing prayer life. One area of prayer has stood out to me in the past couple of months. It is an area that I didn’t realize that I was doing or enjoying. I was talking with a brother and fellow elder the other day. He was talking about one of the things that he has done with his kids from when they were first born to today as grown adults. He said that this has been one of the most wonderful and bonding things that he has done with and for his kids over the years. From the early years all the way through their adult years he has prayed for, with and over them as they go to bed at night. As a father seeking to love and nurture his kids, he shared that some of the most wonderful moments have been kneeling by or leaning over their beds after a long day, lifting them up in prayer, seeking the Lord’s blessings on their lives. I have to agree that I too, in looking back, love those moments of praying with my children as they climb into bed. I also love to quietly move into their darkened room where their tiny forms are snugly bundled in sleep. Staring at their little faces, I am each night moved to thank the Lord for these precious gifts. I lift up their souls to the Lord pleading for salvation or growth or His blessings. What a privilege.

My brother and friend challenged me to continue to pray for my children before they go to bed as they grow older and not to stop just because they reach their teen or adult years. They will always be my children whether they are five or fifty. I will continue, this side of heaven, to be responsible to lead and guide and instruct them. The form of this may change as they grow older but the urgency and need will never cease. Prayer is one of the ways that I have been given to connect their needs with Christ, the One who can truly give wisdom, counsel and help.

Are you growing in your connectedness to the Lord as you develop your prayer life? Those of you who do not have children of your own, do you pray for the covenant children of the church? Do we as members of God’s family remember to lift up in prayer our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers?  Moms, do you lift up your children throughout the day as you move from one task to another? Dads, are you leading your families by taking them to the Word and by praying for them? Perhaps more importantly are you praying with your children? You have a chance to model for them a praying life, a life of dependence and reliance on the Lord. If your children have moved from childhood to adolescence have you stopped kneeling over their beds, praying for them? Why? Is it uncomfortable or have we gotten too busy? Consider beginning by praying at their bedroom door at night; then set a goal of praying with your children daily as they go to bed. When they return from college, continue the habit. It is your house and it is your privilege. Pray with them. Pray over them. Do not cease just because they think that they have gotten too old for it. They are not and neither are you.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

by Greg Marshall