How is your prayer life for your children? Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, in their chapter on prayer in Give Them Grace, don’t scold or give more commands, rather they focus on the love of God the Father for us and for our children (Eph. 3:18-19).
Andrew Murray says this, “The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer.” In this chapter the authors provide tremendous encouragement and help in being a more effective pray-er for your children, and this effectiveness comes from knowing that the Father loves us as his children and delights to hear us talk with him. Murray continues,
This is the one chief thought on which Jesus dwells. He would have us see that the secret of effectual prayer is to have the heart filled with the father love of God… We must take the best earthly father we know; we must think of the tenderness and love with which he regards the request of his child, the love and joy with which he grants every reasonable desire. We must then… consider how with much more tenderness and joy he sees us come to him and gives us what we ask aright. And then, when we see how much this divine arithmetic is beyond our comprehension and feel how impossible it is for us to apprehend God’s readiness to hear us, he would have us come and open our heart for the Holy Spirit to shed abroad God’s father love there.
Prayer is not about proving ourselves to God, or fulfilling a quota of prayer time, it is about a desperate cry of a needy person to his heavenly Father.
In the light of this understanding, pray
- with thankfulness for your children;
- with fondness in your heart, as Paul prayed for even the wayward believers in the churches;
- in the light of what God has already done for them in Christ;
- with confidence that God will change them, not with vocalized unbelief that God cannot work in them;
- for God’s grace to change them, whether they are believers or unbelievers.
Go and tell your loving Father today of your love for him and for your desperate needs for your children and family. He will hear because he is about the same task of displaying his grace!