Q1: How do you pray for your children? What do you ask for in their lives? Good health? Safety? Successful studies, careers, marriage? That they be happy and successful?
Q2: How do you pray for yourself as a parent? For wisdom? To do what?
Each time I think about these two questions, these are the key Bible verses that come to mind:
For my kids: to grow in wisdom and stature – in favour with God and man…
For myself: to train up a child in the way that he should go so that when he is old, he will not depart from it.
In the Bible, two children (one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament) were described like this in their growing years.. guess who…
And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the Lord and with people. (1 Sam 2:26)
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
Wisdom is more than intelligence in academic excellence or successful career. Wisdom is about discerning right and wrong and making the right choices in life. Stature is more than just physical growth. Stature means reputation, standing, position, prestige, distinction, eminence, prominence, importance, influence, renown, acclaim. Wisdom and stature that is both in God’s favour and rapport with man – this is the ultimate growth to strive for.
Prayer is one legacy we can give our children. We cannot be with them 24×7. We can only entrust them to the God whose eyes are always on them. As a parent, my prayers for my children are calls on God to help me be a good parent. Prayer is knocking on God’s throne of grace and mercy for our children to live a blessed life. It is not a life of sunshine with no rain. It is a life lived by faith in the God who calms the winds. It is also about trust in the God who sees us through the storm when the winds and waves persist.
What is my mom’s legacy to her children and grandchildren? If you were to ask Hannah, my eldest child, she’d say: ‘Guama (Hokkien for maternal grandma) always prayed for us.’ Yes, my mother’s prayer life is something precious to emulate.
Unfortunately, I do not practice prayer enough. Perhaps, things have been too easy for me, or maybe I just take it for granted God knows, He’s taking care of things – I don’t need to keep telling him. Or often, I just pray when anxiety begins to trouble me. Other times, I just give up praying and put it to one side. Persistence and perseverance at prayer is one thing I need to learn from mama. It is her habit to pray for each one of us everyday. Today, by God’s grace and mercy, I am who I am, where I am, how I am, what I am, why I am because my mother prayed for me.
I know she prayed for me and my future life partner. I can’t recall I prayed about a husband or what kind of man I wish him to be. One of my criteria (quite shallow/mababaw) is that he should be tall.. even though I am not.
My mom once told me my ninang (Filipino for godmother) wanted to ‘kai siao’ – (Hokkien phrase for referring me a boyfriend.) I told her “oh no, i don’t want kai siao.” Not knowing that Andrew was the one my godmother had in mind. God works in mysterious ways but He also allows man in partnership with Him through prayers and actions. My ninang referred Andrew a job in our godfather’s company where I worked. And the rest is history. There was no other more presentable and taller guy in the workplace who could make me laugh.
Enough of our love story. My point is that my mom prayed for me everyday. Prayer is her lasting legacy for her family and friends. I have heard her praying with friends on the phone. I asked her to pray with my mother-in-law on the phone. Prayer is one ministry she did even when she was sick and could not go out. Prayer is her one and only resort when she was sick and afraid and did not want to bother us or burden us with anxiety. Prayer got her through many deep valleys and dark shadows of life.
Now that I no longer have her with me, I often think about her legacy and I pray more often – telling God what I would have told her.
I’m sharing this, friends so that you will be encouraged to pray for yourself and for your children – just as I am reminding myself to persevere in this journey of intimate chat with our Father in heaven.
So dear parents, let us pray:
Lord, please grant me wisdom to train my children in the way that they should go so that until they are old, they will not depart from it. Let them stay on the right path, to always follow Jesus closely. As they go through life, let them grow like Jesus in wisdom and stature in favour with God and man. Amen.