After a phone conversation with one of my closest friends a few days ago, something he said stuck in my mind. I'm not quoting him exactly… basically he told me that our conversations were never predictable but always good.
While we are discussing various ways to pray for our children, please remember God is not limited by my lists. May your conversations with God never be predictable, but always good.
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9:35–38 NKJV)
“Harvest” and “fields” refers to the gathering of men into the kingdom of God. Jesus is telling me to ask Him to send more workers to lost people so they can be saved. But it has a broader application.
Why would Jesus tell us to ask Him to send other human beings to the fields? Obviously, He wasn't going to do it all Himself, because He couldn't continue to walk the earth as a man. So why didn't He just tell us to do what He was doing, and not involve other people? He did tell us to personally continue doing what He was doing (see Matthew 28:18–20, Mark 16:15, John 14:12).
But we can't always be where we need to be. There are needs that cannot be met at a distance, but require a live human being on the scene. Yes, Jesus wants us to personally continue doing what He was doing. But He also wants us to ask Him to send other people into a situation, when we cannot personally be there to help. And this would certainly apply to our children, when we cannot help them in a hands–on way. Let me illustrate:
Maybe we know what they need, but they won't receive that help from us. For example:
“Sally's parents clearly understand she needs to be living under the influence of God rather than under the influence of the culture. But Sally can only see her parents as Bible–toting church goers who tried to lock her into religion. So she sees life with Christ as a prison sentence. Her parents ask God to send an on–fire Christian into Sally's life—someone she can relate to.”
Maybe we know what they need, but we simply cannot help them in person. For example:
“Wes has one year of confinement left for his drug conviction. His daughter and grandson were recently abandoned by the boyfriend. Wes asks God to send a mature Christian woman or couple to encourage her and help her connect with a local church.”
But we are not limited to just the very serious needs. Maybe your retro‐hippie son has just graduated from business school, but he has no clue on how to dress for success. And he is certainly not going to listen to you. Ask God to send someone his way—someone he will listen to—who can help him with his appearance for those job interviews.
Another area of spiritual authority you have available for creating opportunities in your children's lives is to pray with the spirit over them. If you're not familiar with this terminology I will get you started, but I will save a detailed study until later. If you are either against or just uncomfortable with praying with the spirit, my hope is to give you a perspective from the Word that will stimulate your thinking.
Take a look at the following text and read it in its context in 1 Corinthians chapter 14:
What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. (1 Corinthians 14:15)
Please note: At this time I am only discussing praying with the spirit in private, or what Paul refers to as: “let him speak to himself, and to God (1 Corinthians 14:28b).” I will not get into the public manifestation because it doesn't apply to our discussion.
If you've ever had to deal with a serious issue in the life of one of your children, how long did it take you to run out of brain cells trying to think through the issue? How long did it take for your prayers to start sounding like a broken record? If you're like me… if you're like most of us… not very long.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23 you are a three–part being. Put into context with the rest of the Word: You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body.
You obviously cannot communicate with God through prayer with your physical body alone. Your body can speak to God, can raise its hands to God, can bow before God, but only if your soul is on duty.
Your soul consists of your mind, your will, and your emotions. When Paul says that he will pray with the understanding, his “understanding” is his mind forming an understandable prayer to his mind—influenced by both his will and his emotions. But your mind cannot grasp all the details of a situation in your child's life. Your mind can never come up with a full understanding of the situation. And your own will and your own feelings can add confusion, instead of clarity, to an already difficult situation.
You have another tool available that bypasses the limits of your mind. You can pray with your spirit. I am not talking about praying under the power or direction of the Holy Spirit as in Jude 20 and Ephesians 6:18. All forms of prayer, including praying with your spirit, should be directed by the Holy Spirit; (I certainly don't want my mind directing my prayers!) I am simply talking about communicating with God directly from your spirit—bypassing your mind.
Have you ever cried yourself to sleep as you were crying out to the Lord? Then you have prayed with the spirit.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26 NLT)
When we've run out of mind, we have nothing left but to groan before God. While groaning is not technically a “tongue” it is certainly a universally understood language.
But we do not have to be in deep despair to pray with our spirit. We can and should pray with our spirit as a part of our normal communication with God.
When you hear yourself pray with your spirit you will say, “This doesn't make any sense.” By definition it can't make any sense because it's circumventing your understanding (see 1 Corinthians 14:14). I pray every day of my life with my spirit (or “in the spirit” as is the commonly used term). I have prayed with my spirit (either out loud, or in my heart like Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:13) for years by speaking a language unknown to me, and my brain always tells me, “You're weird.” But I continue to pray with my spirit because I always get results.
If you already know about praying with the spirit, I encourage you to picture each of your children in your mind and pray with your spirit over them. Then listen with your mind, as you pray, for any understanding or instruction God may give you.
If I have stimulated your thinking about praying with the spirit, ask God to teach you. Study the references I have given you. I will go into more detail at a later date but this is all I have time for today. Please pay close attention if you do any studying outside the Bible; this subject is one the biggest hideouts for religion, and religion has seriously twisted what God intends to be a normal part of every Christian's day.
Just to stimulate your appetite, let me tell you (from my limited understanding) what happens when you pray with your spirit for your children: Your spirit is what has been born again. So your spirit is not corrupted by your human nature. Your spirit has no ulterior or selfish motives. Your spirit is not governed by your emotions. When you pray with your spirit for your child, you are covering “all” the bases. You are praying the perfect prayer.
God is literally coaching you in what you should pray as if He's telling you: “Ask Me to…. Ask Me to…. Ask Me to….” What a wonderful way to pray for your children.
We'll continue tomorrow.
Have a good day,