Some of the most interesting passages in the Old Testament are when the patriarchs blessed their children. The Bible never really tells us for sure if they were actually prophecies from God or just reflected the father’s wishes, but they had a lasting effect on the sons who heard them.
As parents, we don’t have (and probably don’t want) the power of blessing our child with a predictive blessing like those in the Old Testament. We can use prayer though, to bless our children in other ways. Ways that may effect them more than we realize.
This month in our challenge to teach our children to live more like Jesus, we are focusing on helping our children to develop a personal prayer life while we also work on strengthening our own. One idea I heard years ago rings true to me now as I encounter more and more adults who had damaging relationships with their parents. Our children need to hear us asking God to bless them in our prayers.
I know it sounds almost silly, but I have heard parents pray prayers around their children that are almost passive aggressive in their wording. They focus on asking God “to help” (i.e. “make”) their children behave the way the parent thinks they should behave. (Prayed with love and humility, those prayers can be healthier prayers.) Our children may have even heard us pray those prayers about them. How many of our children, though, have heard us praying blessings on them?
I want to challenge you the next time you have a private family prayer time to take the time to bless your children in prayer. Not just by asking for the physical things they need or are worried about, although that is important too. Our children need to hear us ask God to bless their relationship with Him. They need to hear us pray that they find the special path God has laid out for them to follow. Most importantly, they need to hear in our voices and in our prayer how very much we love them and what a blessing they are to us.
Childhood can be tough on everyone. There are times when it seems like our houses are full of punishments, restrictions, lectures and tears. Those are the times our children need to hear us thank God for them the most. The times when they are questioning if they have any value in life or will ever “get it right”. Hearing a parent talk to God about blessing them will not only help them through the rough patches, but will stay with your children forever.
So how are your efforts at focusing on your family’s prayer life working? Are your children beginning to develop a private prayer life? Is your prayer life becoming more focused? Have you been able to keep reading the Bible daily while also focusing on prayer? What are you doing to encourage your children to work on the challenge? I would love to hear your ideas and concerns in a comment below. Sharing what we learn with each other will help us all in our efforts to dedicate our children to God.