For the past several days Mike has been talking about how to pray for our children. I want to add another perspective to the subject. Mike and I have been married ten years and we have two sons, two daughters, two sons‐in‐law, and one granddaughter between us. Being previously divorced means we've both made plenty of mistakes in our other marriages.
If you've been brought up in church, you've probably heard the term “generational curses.” If you haven't heard the term it's when a family experiences generations of bad stuff like divorce, alcoholism, disease, mental disorders… that kind of thing. There seems to a curse over the family.
Early in our marriage the fear of our children experiencing divorce had the opportunity to creep in. First, there's the sadness of them having to experience divorce as children. But we also didn't want our children to make the same mistakes we did.
Maybe you aren't divorced, but you might have other failures as a parent and you've felt helpless at times. Or, maybe you've lectured your kids and given them unwanted advice about how to not make the same mistakes. I want to encourage you that there's a better way.
This may seem obvious, but I want to say it…we can't still be living in that same old lifestyle ourselves and expect to get any results. For example, you can't tell your kids to not have sex before marriage if you are living with your girlfriend or boyfriend. You can't expect your kids to be good with money if you're reckless with your own. You can't expect your children to make good decisions about their health if you don't have control over your own health. They model their lives after your example.
There is great hope for our children's future in spite of our failures. Jeremiah 32:27 (NKJV) says: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” That verse excites me! That verse gives me hope!
I've learned that what comes out of my mouth is VERY important. I encourage you to take some time to really think about Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV): “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. We can't pray for something or someone and then “undo” our prayers by speaking the opposite of what we are praying about. For example, I can't pray that our children will never experience divorce in their own marriages and then say things like: “I sure hope they don't get the seven year itch…a lot of marriages end around that time”.
Instead, we speak blessing over our children. We declare those things as they should be. Our sons aren't married yet, but we are already thanking the Lord for their godly wives. Often we will pray Psalm 112 over our family. When your children don't live with you, you don't always know exactly what's going on in their lives. Praying the Word over them is a wonderful tool. We also pray Ephesians 1:16–21 and Colossians 1:9‐12.
Mike mentioned praying in the Spirit, which is great tool the Lord gives us. Honestly, sometimes I don't have a clue what I need to pray, but the Holy Spirit always knows.
Some time last year, I was praying for something very specific, which wasn't related to our children. The Lord spoke to me about Mark 11:23: “I've told you that if you believe, you can have what you say. But you keep saying what you have.” Ouch!! That brings us back to Proverbs 18:21…death and life are in the power of our tongue. Our mouth is a very small part of our body, but wow… it sure has power! Again, we can't pray for a situation and then constantly speak the opposite. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
What are you activating in your children's lives? Are you declaring your fears over your children or are you declaring the Word over your children?