I remember well weary nights of rocking and nursing and praying my infant sons would “please just go to sleep.” There were bumps and bruises and scraped knees and one incident of some tiny burned fingers during the toddling years. I prayed courage for me and for their relief. Academic success, good friendships, purity of mind and heart and safety driving a car called for time on my knees while my sons grew up and I survived their teens. Now the stakes are higher and just when I think the job of parenting growing boys is reaching an end, I discover the far greater responsibility of praying for my adult children.
My mom is still on the clock for me and joins me as we pray for her grandsons. A dear friend shares my burden and I her's as we lift one another's adult children daily before the Lord. I still pray for safety and healthy relationships. I plead for direction and ask God to lead them straight to the center of His will. I understand like never before the power of prayer.
Still, it amazes me when I witness God's hand on their lives, both in blessings and challenges He lavishes and allows. And always I remember how critical the calloused knees of a mother at every stage in life. There is much to cover, much to anticipate, much to hope for and much to fear. The job of a praying parent is without end.
Hannah, the mother of Samuel, sets the standard for dedicated prayer. We hear her faithfulness in 1 Samuel 1:27-28a.
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”
I, like Hannah, prayed for my children before they ever were conceived. I prayed for their healthy arrival. I was blessed with two bouncing boys three years and three months apart. In between, I was blessed to carry a small life but a matter of weeks. That child I'll one day meet. The gift of healthy babies and the heartache of a baby unborn can never be fully understood. One is a miracle, the other covered in mercy to endure and accept that God knows best. Each, given over to the Lord in life and death.
As a praying parent, I have to revisit the concept of “giving over” over and over again. To entrust these whom I have nursed, clothed, fed, loved, sheltered, tutored, laughed with and cried over for the greater part of my life on earth is no easy calling. But I can't carry them in a back pack or hover over them in a cradle as I once did. I have to watch from a distance and surrender them to the One whose hands are big enough to hold them no matter how big and burley they get. He is able to speak peace to their hearts when their mother needs to be silent. The Lord Almighty counsels them with far better advice than this wise woman who thinks she knows them best. And God loves them more than I could ever muster because, though I carried them in a womb, He knit them together and placed His fingerprint on their hearts and heads.
So I just pray. And pray. And pray without end. And I have the pleasure of watching the Lord at work in two men. I see how He leads them and provides for them; how He teaches and guides them. I watch how they recognize more quickly the peace and joy that is theirs for the asking. I weep when I hear them give God their thanks and praise because it means their dad and I have done something right in this world: We've pointed them and prayed them to the Lord.
Parenting is many things. Painful. Pleasurable. Surprising. Challenging. Exciting. Demanding. Rewarding. Parenting is supposed to be filled with love and sacrifice and promise. Most importantly, parenting is a test of faith and calls for active prayer.
Especially when the kids grow up, parents need to look up for the Heavenly Father's will, for no child should ever doubt that they are loved or lifted at any age.