Monday, August 1, 2011

Praying for your Children

parent praying

 

We, as parents, have so many sacred responsibilities to the little ones that our Father in Heaven has lovingly placed in our care. One of the greatest tools He has given us is prayer. We can’t raise these precious children alone, we need His guidance. A lot of time I will have my personal prayer time and  I will pray for my children’s health and safety, but in reality, I need to be praying for them specifically and individually. Heavenly Father knows exactly what each child needs at that time. We have been given many quotes and articles etc, from prophets and scriptures and people who have great knowledge in this area. The following are a few of those quotes to get us started.

President Thomas S. Monson:

“To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon your Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them.

(Italics added) ( ensign august 2011 p 4)

“ Pray for them that they may be able to withstand the evils of the world. Pray that they may grow in faith and testimony. Pray that they may pursue lives of goodness and of service to others. “

(ensign august 2011 p 4) ( end quotes)

As we pray for our children, we need to remember that like Christ did, we need to teach thru example. Pray by the side of your child. Let them “catch” you praying.

Howard W. Hunter stated:

“ The greatest training that can be given to a child is that which comes from the example of parents. Parents need to set the example for young people to follow. Great strength comes from the home where righteous principles are taught, where there is love and respect for each other, where prayer has been an influence in the family life, and where there is respect for those things that pertain to God.” ( The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter p 146)

There is a beautiful story that I would like to share for you, about a father who prayed for his son. It is found in the book “ Raising up a Family to the Lord, by Gene R Cook and it’s found on page 130 and it’s told from the father’s perspective.

“ I knew he was discouraged , so before I went to work I called to him in his bedroom. “Son, what do you say we pray together. Do you remember the day I was having such a hard day and you prayed for me five times during the day?”

He said he did.

I said, “ Well, I’m going to do that for you today. I’m going to pray my hardest that you’ll have an excellent day. Why don’t we start off with you praying right now, and then I’ll pray.” This approach totally softened his heart and changed his feelings about the day. The fact that he knew I was going to pray for him meant a lot to him.

I did pray for him six or seven times during the day. When I got home from work, the first thing I asked was, “ Son, how did your day go?” He answered, “Just great. It’s been one of the best days of my life.” ……….It gave me a chance to teach again the idea that the Lord really will help us if we will pray to Him. “ (end quote)

One of the things that is most important when we pray, is to be specific. Really talk to your Father in Heaven. He wants to hear specifically what your problems are and how He can help you.

“ Be sure to pray specifically for your family and attempt to receive direction from the Lord regularly about the needs of the individuals in your family and your family as a whole.”

( Raising up a Family to the Lord page 274)

“ Pray with your children alone-just father and son or daughter, or mother and son or daughter. “ ( Raising up a Family to the Lord page 274)

The scriptures teach us to pray without ceasing ( 1 Thess. 5:17). This should include prayers for our individual children. He hears our thoughts and prayers, even the ones we whisper in our heads as we go about our daily lives, raising our children. I want to share in closing a beautiful quote from President Thomas S. Monson, our living prophet. It is just what we need to hear!

“ Will you join me as we observe a typical Latter-Day Saint family offering prayers to the Lord? Father, mother, and each of the children kneel, bow their heads, and close their eyes. A sweet spirit of love, unity, and peace fills the home. As father hears his tiny son pray unto God that his dad will do the right things and be obedient to the Lord’s bidding , do you think that such a father would find it difficult to honor the prayer of his precious son? As a teenage daughter hears her sweet mother plead unto God that her daughter will be inspired in the selection of her companions, that she will prepare herself for a temple marriage, don’t you believe that such a daughter will seek to honor this humble, pleading petition of her mother whom she so dearly loves? When father, mother, and each of the children earnestly pray that the fine sons in the family will live worthily, that they may in due time receive a call to serve as ambassadors of the Lord in the mission field of the Church, don’t we begin to see how such sons grow to young manhood with an overwhelming desire to serve as missionaries? “ ( Heavenly Homes-Forever Families Ensign June 1986 p4-5)

Let us each remember to pray earnestly for our children, individually and specifically pray for our children, daily, and help us to remember that we can’t raise these precious gifts alone, we MUST ask our Father to help us!