Parent Prayer Warriors
By Kim Butts
The world is a dangerous place for children. Satan is using every opportunity to harm, ensnare, confuse and destroy children and young people. He is using poverty, illness, drugs, New Age, war, and exploitation in the form of prostitution and child labor. He is employing childcare workers, relatives, siblings, friends, and even parents to do harm to them. Children are being damaged physically, emotionally and spiritually at an alarming rate.
All over the world, parents are despairing over the rampant violence done to children, as well as increasingly violent acts done BY children. Yet, in the midst of all of this darkness and evil, the Lord prevails. He has given parents the strategy, the weapons, the protection, and the victory – through prayer. When we pray for children, dangers can be avoided or overcome, pain can be lessened or removed, rescue is possible, and lives can be completely changed and transformed. It is the only answer which makes sense or offers any hope.
Prayer is a critical line of defense which parents of today must not neglect, overlook or postpone. Our children are in danger every day of their lives as they face trials, temptations and treachery of every kind. Being a parent prayer warrior isn’t just a gift certain people have. God has empowered each of us with the same ability to spiritually protect, serve and guide our families through powerful, effective prayer. Here are some important things to consider as you prepare to do battle for your children:
1. Determine that your prayers will be driven by love. In this busy age, it is crucial to prioritize the things to which we give our precious time. God loved us so much that He gave us the ultimate Gift – Jesus Christ. His great love for us should be the force behind our prayers. If love is what urges us to intercede for our children, we will pray diligently and daily, even when we don’t feel like it or when it isn’t convenient – and we will never be "too busy." Stormie Omartian, in her book, The Power of a Praying Parent, said, "Whenever you pray for your child, do it as if you are interceding for his or her life – because that’s exactly what you are doing. Remember that while God has a perfect plan for our children’s lives, Satan has a plan for them too." When our prayers are driven by love, we will be compelled to fight the enemy on behalf of our children.
2. Be sure to find one or more like-minded prayer partners and pray in agreement. Preferably your spouse, but friends or relatives can also be valuable co-warriors. Pray with those who are in agreement with you for the lives of all of your children. "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matt. 18:19-20).
3. Prayerfully put on the armor of God daily and teach your children to do the same. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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" (Eph. 6:10-18).
4. Prepare for battle by daily dealing with things which can hinder your prayers: A. Unforgiveness – "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25).
B. Sin – "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…" (Psa. 66:18).
C. Wrong Motives (selfishness) – "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (Jam. 4:3).
D. Disobedience – "If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable" (Prov. 28:9).
E. Not being in a right relationship with your spouse – "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives…husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers" (1 Pet. 3:1-2, 7).
F. Pride – "Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor" (Prov. 18:12).
G. Indifference – "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered" (Prov. 21:13).
5. Remember that being a praying parent is more important than being a perfect parent. When things go wrong in our children’s lives, we usually blame ourselves. Remember that God is in control. If we will pray, He will defeat the enemy. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you" (Rom. 16:20).
6. Be willing to release your child into God’s capable hands, knowing that sometimes your prayers will be answered "differently" than you expect.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you"(1 Pet. 5:7).
7. Don’t become discouraged when your prayers aren’t answered as quickly as you hope – instead, be all the more diligent. "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him" (2 Sam. 22:31). "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" (Psa. 62:8). "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (2 Pet. 3:8).
8. Follow the example of Jesus – DEAL with the enemy, don’t DWELL on the enemy. It is very important always to look to Jesus when we are engaged in spiritual warfare. He never spent much time dwelling on the work of the devil. He simply dealt with demonic activity quickly and firmly and went right back to focusing on the Lord. Our eyes should always be firmly fixed on God – not on the enemy. It is ONLY in His strength that we should ever engage the devil in the first place. Our job is to pray – God’s job is to act on our behalf so that He will be honored and glorified in the midst of any circumstance. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).
9. Have faith in God’s ability to hear and to answer. "They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear" (Isa. 65:23-24). "But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thess. 3:3).
10. Be prepared to fast as the Lord leads. Sometimes our children go through difficult struggles that require intense times of focused prayer and fasting. If you are truly seeking the Lord on behalf of your children, and the Holy Spirit impresses your spirit to fast, be obedient! Ronnie Floyd, in his book, The Power of Prayer and Fasting, says, "God’s gateway to supernatural power can become ours when we come to our heavenly Father with contrite hearts and obedient spirits in fasting and prayer."
11. Remember that despite all of our prayers, our children are still free to make wrong decisions and choices.
· We are not fighting flesh and blood. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
· Our children are targets. We must be diligent to pray that they will be on the alert. "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
· Our children can be deceived. It is critical to pray for our children to see clearly. "Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:16-17). "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life" (Galatians 6:7-8).
12. "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). The Scripture is very clear: we are to be joyful always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances. When the enemy seems victorious, our response to his attacks must be prayer, which can rob him of his victory and give God the glory instead.
13. Incorporate God’s Word into your prayers. "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word will help you to pray God’s will into the lives of your children. "Father, show me what is on your heart for my children so that I can pray effectively for their lives."
The Word of God will help you to go on the offensive against the enemy, wielding the Lord’s power against the darkness that would seek to do them harm. Here are some Scriptures to pray daily and diligently for your children:
1. Protection from harm – "If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone" (Psalm 91:9-12).
2. Feeling that they are loved and accepted – "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us"(1 John 4:9-12). "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16).
3. For godly character – Quin Sherrer, in her book, "How to Pray for Your Children" listed several godly goals to pray for our children which will deflect the working of the enemy:
· That Jesus Christ be formed in our children – "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…" (Gal. 4:19). "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Eph. 5:1-2).
· That our children – the seed of the righteous – will be delivered from the evil one – "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matt. 6:13).
· That our children will be taught by the Lord and their peace will be great – "All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace" (Isa. 54:13).
· That they will learn to discern good from evil and have a good conscience toward God – "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Heb. 5:14). "Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it" (Psa. 34:14).
· That God’s laws will be in their minds and on their hearts – "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people" (Heb. 8:10).
· That they will choose companions who are wise – not fools, nor sexually immoral, nor drunkards, nor idolaters, nor slanderers, nor swindlers – "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm" (Prov. 13:20). "But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat" (1 Cor. 5:11).
· That they will remain sexually pure and keep themselves only for their spouses, asking God for His grace to keep such a commitment – "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people... For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh..." (Eph. 5:3, 31-33).
· That they will honor their parents – "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’–which is the first commandment with a promise–‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth’" (Eph. 6:1-3).
4. Health – "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones" (Prov. 3:7-8)."Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well" (3 John 1:2).
5. Freedom from fear – "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…" (Psa. 46:1-2). "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isa. 41:10).
6. Joy – "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:9-11).
There are times when the only thing standing between our children and the enemy is prayer – the key to winning the battle. No matter what the enemy determines to do in the lives of our children, he is no match for our Almighty Father. "The battle for our children’s lives is waged on our knees. When we don’t pray, it’s like sitting on the sidelines watching our children in a war zone getting shot at from every angle. When we DO pray, we’re in the battle alongside them, appropriating God’s power on their behalf" (Stormie Omartian).
* Remember – there are many children in the world who have no parents or loved ones to pray for them. Perhaps your family could begin to adopt them in prayer. A mighty God is waiting to hear, and to answer.