HOW DO I DISCIPLE MY KIDS? PART 1: PRAY FOR THEM
"How do I disciple my kids toward Jesus?" That is one of the most frequent questions I get. So, I'd like to take a couple blogs to answer this question. The first thing you can do is pray for them. Before you talk to them about God, consider talking to God about them. Here are a few things that I've learned about praying for my kids. PRAY THROUGH THEIR SEASONS OF LIFE
I got this idea from a friend of mine named Alex Early. As he tucks his kids in bed at night he prays through the decades of their life. For instance, on Monday he'll pray for them between ages 0-10, Tuesday ages 10-20, Wednesday 20-30, etc. I've started doing this as well and it has been fun and helpful. I break it down to spans of 5 years instead of 10, but the idea is that your are praying for your kids' entire life, not just their current situation. This gives you the opportunity to pray for their future friends, school, temptations, joys, spouse, career, faith, perseverance and so on.
PRAY PRAYERS OF THANKFULNESS
Philippians 4:8 commands us to meditate not just on our problems, worries, or frustrations, but also on the things we are thankful for. Do this as you pray for your kids. Think of all the things about your kids that you love, and thank God for them. Like a water balloon filling with water, this will expand the capacity of your love toward your kids. It will also be encouraging for your kids to hear you thank God for specific things about them. More importantly, all good things come from God, and he deserves praise for all the good that he does.
PRAY THE TRUTHS OF THE BIBLE
It is easy to get into a rut and pray the same things for your kids over and over. While this isn't bad, you might be missing out on some of the breadth of God's genius. One way to counter this, is to pray scripture over them. I try to do this as often as I can. If something from the Bible gets my attention, I pray that for my whole family when we go down to bed. All you have to do is take a Biblical truth that you've recently read, or heard in a sermon, and simply pray that for your kids. Consider using the petitions of the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), or the truths of the Psalms to give you content for your prayers.
PRAY ACCORDING TO THEIR PERSONALITY
As your kids bloom into their own individuality, they will need different prayer according to their personalities. Every individual on the face of the planet has different gifts and weaknesses as it pertains to relating to God and others. Get to know your kids and pray for them accordingly. For me, my son Josiah seems to be a boy with a big heart and a gentle spirit. He seems to be mostly introverted and mechanically minded. I have a feeling that he will find it easy to have a few really close friends but might struggle putting himself out there with the crowds. So I thank God for his heart and loving spirit. I ask God to help me cultivate his creative and mechanical talents. I also pray that God will give him courage to make new friends and to be bold and courageous when he needs to be. My Daughter Penny on the other hand, is a social butterfly. She is funny, spunky and always has kids following her lead. She also can be quite emotional and dramatic. I have a feeling she will have lots of friends but will find it hard to develop close and intimate relationships. So I thank God for her joy, and the life that she brings to our family and this world. I ask that God would help her to be gentle and merciful if she gets the opportunity to lead. I pray that she will use her influence for good and not evil. I also ask God to give her the gift of a really close friend or two that will be by her side no matter what. As time goes on, and I get to know my kids more, I will pray for them accordingly. You can do the same.