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Praying For Your Kids

Most Christians struggle with being faithful to pray consistently. Scripture instructs us to pray for our families and children. In Colossians 1, we see Paul praying for a group of believers. Paul gives us characteristics of how our prayers should look when it comes to praying for believers or our children.

Parents, you have been given the responsibility to shepherd your children. Let’s pray for them with consistency and great faith. Let’s be thankful that God has allowed us the opportunity to raise our children in the admonition of the Lord. 

In this episode, Brody walks through Colossians 1 and characteristics that our prayers should consist of. 

  • Colossians 1
  • Colossians 3:20

Read the Transcript here!

Alright. Here’s the deal, I’m gonna record half of this now, then finish the note-taking process and record the other half. Now you’re gonna hear it all in one cut, one take. But just so you know this is gonna be in real time. Typically I prepare what I’m gonna share and then I share it all in one take, but I’m gonna do… I’ve got some thoughts put together over the last couple of mornings, and this has to do with prayer, and specifically I wanna talk about praying for our families, our kids. If you’re responsible for anybody as an employer, as a coach, as a teacher, then I think this would apply, as a pastor, as a student pastor. But several weeks ago, it’s been a couple of months back now, we had a conversation on an episode about parenting and just shared some thoughts on parenting, and I got a lot of feedback on that, people asking for more specific things. I’m not gonna totally get into some of those specifics today, parenting is gonna be an ongoing conversation. But what I wanna do is put an effective prayer tool in your hands today. As a parent of young children, grown children, grandkids, kids that are following Jesus, and even some principles for kids that are not following the Lord, that have walked away, that are apostate, I wanna give you some specific tools in your prayer life that I think will be really helpful and give you a sense of proactivity or pro-action when it comes to how we pray for our kids. I hope this is a good resource for you. It’s been really insightful for me to kind of unpack the way we do this little and I’m excited to share it with you. Welcome to No Sanity Required.

Welcome to No Sanity Required from the ministry of Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters, a podcast about the Bible, culture, and stories from around the globe.

One of the things that most Christians would admit that we struggle with is our prayer life. I’ll just speak for myself. I’ll just be honest in my kind of admission, be transparent with you. I’m pretty consistent to read my Bible, to sort of conversationally talk to the Lord, to mumble and utter sentences here and there throughout the day, kind of what my friend Jeff Martin, who’s a pastor in Johnson City, Tennessee, he calls them breath prayers. Just the amount that I can say in one exhale. I’m walking from point A to point B, from inside to my truck, and I say something like, “Lord, please let me experience your grace in my surroundings today.” As I’m looking around, today is beautiful here as I’m recording, it’s a blue bird day, it’s cold. It was in the 20s this morning, here in mid-March, late March, but that’s normal in the mountains, and so I’m walking and I’m just whispering a prayer like that. Maybe I’m whispering a declaration, the Heavens declare the glory of God, something like that.

Maybe I’m going for a walk. I try to go for a walk every day. A lot of times when you have a day where you’re sitting a lot and just need to get out, clear the fog, walk to the end of the road and back, thinking, praying, might work on some scripture memorization and pray specifically for my kids. I have a couple of times set aside where I specifically pray for my kids, a brief prayer at night over each one of them at bedtime, a prayer in the morning and then a prayer when I’m on my walk. Every time I go for that walk to the end of the road and back, which is, I think it’s a mile and a half down there and back, it takes less than half an hour. I think it takes me about 20 minutes, maybe 25 minutes. So 25 minutes I walk to the stop sign and back, so I think its ends up being a mile and a half. And in that walk, I’ll spend a good portion of that time praying for my kids. But I wanted to walk you through Scripture, and as a parent help you maybe see from the Scripture with like a specific way to pray for your kids. And I wanna read from Colossians Chapter 1 in doing this, and then share with you from some notes I’ve jotted down. This is Paul praying and giving thanks for the believers that he’s responsible for.

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints. “Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the Gospel, which has come to you as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and has made known to us your love in the spirit. And so from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord fully pleasing to Him bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy. Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:3-14

This is a powerful prayer. It’s a strong prayer. It’s a beautiful prayer, and it’s a prayer that we can learn a lot from specifically as parents. Now, I don’t wanna make this only something that’s for parents, because Paul was clearly not talking about his biological children or His adopted children, his actual kids, he’s clearly… He says, and we started in verse three of Colossians 1, but he says in verse two, “To the saints and Faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae, grace to you and peace from God our Father.” He’s speaking to and speaking about and praying for a group of believers in a specific church in the city called Colossae.

But I think… If you’ve got a couple of employees, you could pray this for your employees if they’re believers. But this is a prayer for believers, he’s praying for those who are believers. So today, I’ve got friends that have children who have walked away, turned away, but I think this prayer is still applicable, there’s things that we can pray for our wayward children. But also, as parents, we’ve been given this responsibility to shepherd and disciple our children. If you’ve got kids that are still in your care, say birth to 18, we’ll just use that number, assuming that at 18 they’re adults and they leave home, go off to college, go to work, whatever, even if they’re still living under your roof. And if they are, then obviously you’d extend that on out if you’ve got a kid that still lives at home, and they’re 19, 20, 21, whatever.

Then I would just extend this out and say in your care, but even for your kids that have left home, I got a couple of kids that are out of the house now, and I pray this for them. Let’s just walk through this, just give you some, Mom you’re stressed, you got three toddlers and one on the way, a four-year-old, a two-year-old, a nine-month old, and you’re overwhelmed. Or, Dad, you’re getting ready to navigate the teenage years with a daughter. You got a 14-year-old daughter and you’re starting to feel the weight and the pressure of that. Or you’ve got a 25-year-old child that’s left home and is questioning their faith, wherever you are, let’s walk through this prayer and let’s find some practical encouragement. First, I wanna consider like the stage or the setting, and I wanna share this in a way that if you wanted to listen to this with your notepad out and jot down notes, this is gonna be sort of in an expositional format, so the way I would teach or preach this same text, similar to that. That’s gonna kinda be the format. This one will be easy if you’re a note taker and you wanted to use.

I know a lot of you listen on your commute, but this might be when you sit down with a pen and paper or you use your notes app on your phone. Let’s walk through the text, let’s first consider sort of like the atmosphere of the prayer or the climate, the situation, the circumstance. Let’s use that word circumstance, the circumstance of the prayer. He says, “We always thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you.” The circumstances of the prayer are beginning in verse four, “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of this you’ve heard before in the word of the truth, the Gospel which has come to you as indeed in the whole world is bearing fruit and increasing.” The circumstances are, God is moving, God is working. We’re praying then for our children with great faith, because we are praying with thanksgiving. He says, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And then down in verse 12, he says, “Giving thanks to the Father.”

So the circumstances of our prayer are circumstances of thanksgiving. As parents, we need to be thankful that the Lord’s given us the responsibility as stressful and overwhelming as it can be, let’s be thankful. As a grand-dad, are you thankful for that grandchild or those grandchildren? And sure you are, I’m sure we all are, we’re thankful, but I think it’s important to keep that out in front of us to not get too far removed from it, where I forget to be thankful. If you’re a mom and you drop that little one off at day care, pre-K or child care, and then you head off to work, and it’s stressful and it’s hard, don’t forget to be thankful. The Lord blesses and inhabits the praise of his people and thanksgiving, I believe, biblically is, this is supported, and I can say definitely experientially, thanksgiving produces joy. Joy will come in the giving of thanks, not in the overwhelming exasperation of stress. It’s stressful to be a parent, I don’t know that there’s much else in this life that’s more stressful.

Raising a kid is more stressful than running a business. Marriage and child rearing are the two most stressful things. They’re also the two things that we have the potential to be sanctified and made mature in our own faith through these things. And it takes intentionality and our thanksgiving. The circumstances of my prayer for my kids will be circumstances of thanksgiving. Sometimes it’ll be circumstances of burden, sometimes I’m gonna be overwhelmed. But in this prayer, today that we’re considering, Paul’s circumstance is a circumstance of thanksgiving, he’s thankful. Now, we could have… We go into other… We’ll have other conversations in other episodes about how do you pray when your child has a terminal illness, or your child is going through a divorce, or your child is dealing with addiction, that’s different, we’re not gonna really drill into that today, you’ve got a kid that says, “Hey, I’m gonna transition. I no longer wanna be a man, I wanna be a woman.” Those are different conversations, and… But still there’s some application from this today that is good in those situations. But today we’re talking about thanksgiving because these are opportunities to pray for our kids who are exposed to the gospel, they’re hearing the truth, they’re being carried to church.

They’re worshiping with God’s people. And we give thanks for the opportunity to raise our children. We’re giving thanks for the opportunity to raise them in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. In fact, if you turn over to Chapter 3, same book, Colossians verse 20, He says, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” He says, he follows that by saying, “Fathers,” He tells dads, “Do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged.” He’s telling us, Hey, love each other and don’t provoke your children to anger and don’t discourage them, but take this opportunity to raise them in a way that glorifies the Lord. So rejoice, be thankful that you have this opportunity to be obedient to the Lord and His plan for something so specific as child rearing.

And so the first characteristic of the prayer is, and I would say an awareness, an awareness. This is where, characteristic number one, pray with awareness, be perceptive to the needs your children have. If you’ve got two kids, you know their two needs are not the same. They’re not the same. They’re not wired the same. They don’t behave the same. They don’t act the same, look the same they’re different, they’re very unique. Every kid’s unique, every kid’s different, and if you’ve got two kids, it’s important that you’re perceptive to their needs. And it’s helpful to know and freeing to know that I don’t have to pray exactly the same for two kids. I can be perceptive to their needs and pray for that. So be aware of where they are spiritually, where they are academically, working hard to not exasperate or frustrate them, but to encourage them so that’s… The first characteristic of prayer is an awareness.

We consider the circumstance of prayer thanksgiving for what God’s doing and giving us opportunity to parent and lead and teach and instruct. And then the first characteristic of that prayer is that characteristic of awareness. I’m aware. He says, in Verse 9, “From the day we heard,” so now we’re considering perception within that awareness. So the characteristic of awareness is, I’m perceiving, I’m discerning, I’m paying attention. And he says, “For this reason since the day we heard of it.” so what had Paul heard of? What had he heard of? What was he perceiving? What was his perception? Well, in verse 4, he had heard of their love for one another. Also in verse 4, he had heard of their faith. In verse 5, he had heard of their hope. In verse 6, he had heard of their witness for the Lord. In verse 8, he had heard of their love. As he was praying with an awareness and a perception and a perceptivity, is that a word? I don’t know. But he’s aware of these different things that are going on in their lives.

I’m gonna tell you something. To be aware, you might need to put your phone down, you might need to come home a little early, you might need to spend some focus time, restructure the way you do your evening and set aside your favorite show that you stream or binge or whatever. To be aware, you’re gonna have to be dialed in, that’s gonna require the hard work of conversation, of time spent. A lot of times when you’re dealing with teenagers, they don’t wanna talk, they don’t wanna interact, they’re kind of a closed book. You’re gonna have to work to be perceptive. You have to maybe work to understand and perceive what their needs are. Just pay attention. Alright, the next thing that I wanna think about is the constancy and consistency of prayer. Constancy and consistency of prayer. Now, why do I use those two words? Well, he says that since the day we heard, perception, perception, awareness, since the day we heard these things, we have not ceased to pray for you. He’s praying consistently in that there’s a cadence, there’s a rhythm. I think of now, this is not Webster’s definition, but from my understanding, this is also not from Strong’s Concordance, this is maybe not the best understanding of the Greek words or whatever, just staying kind of high level here. But consistency for me is something that fits into the rhythm of my life.

Okay, imagine every day there’s a rhythmic praying for my children. It’s not a chore, it’s not a… Or I got to figure out when to make this happen. It’s okay, I’ve got this time set aside in the discipline of my day, where half my day is pure chaos but at the same time, there’s order, there’s discipline. There’s not just chaos, there’s order and discipline. In the rhythm of my day, there are these moments that are wired in for prayer. For me, like I said, it’s during a walk, it’s in the early morning hours with that… This morning, it was so cold, I built the fire up. Get the fire going, start feeling the warmth come back into the main part of the house, having that coffee, but within the rhythm of the day, there’s a consistent pattern of prayer. Now, constancy to me is, again, hold these definitions loosely, this is my personal application of these two words, and neither one of these words are in the text, it doesn’t say constancy, it doesn’t say consistency. But there’s a constant applied pressure with parenting. You never are not a parent once you are. I think Most parents would agree with that.I have a hard time… Little and I were five years married before she got pregnant. I cannot remember what that’s like. Some of you are only married a year and then you had a kid. So for some people, it’s like, “I don’t remember life without being a parent. I’ve been a parent for well over two decades now, 23 years now, and I don’t remember what it was like to not be. So there’s a constant pressure that comes with parenting, and every part of your day is impacted by parenting. So the constancy of Paul’s prayer… I would say the constancy of prayer as a parent is that you’re always in an attitude of awareness and prayer and interaction with the Lord on behalf of your children.

So consistency is that set aside disciplined, flow of life, rhythm of life time of daily prayer at bed time or in the morning or whatever, when you go for your walk. And the constancy is, but I’m never far removed from being in prayer for my kids. Hopefully that makes sense. All right, let’s move to the next characteristic of prayer, which is petition. So if you follow the prayer in Colossians 1, after we see that it is a perceptive and then it is constant, consistent, so he says, “We have it ceased to pray for you, asking that… ” So asking is petitioning. Think about if you petition the court, you’re asking the court for something, so I ask that… Now, let’s look at the things that he prays for his people.

These are the things as a dad that I think I can pray for my kids every day, and it’d be really helpful, it’d be beneficial, be fruitful. And I think there’s two things here, two aspects of this asking that are helpful, one is, it’s very specific, there are specific prayer requests, and then it is very intentional. In other words, he doesn’t just kinda go and say, “Lord be to my kids. I pray they have a good day,” it’s very intentional. Or he doesn’t see my kids, Paul obviously is saying my people or these believers in Colossae. But as a dad, I’m gonna be specific and intentional, so sometimes I’m gonna say, “Lord, I pray You give Lailee a good day-to-day, man, she had a rough night last night. They lost a tough ball game, and then she had a situation she had to deal with with school or a friend or whatever, there’s been a couple rough couple of days,” whatever that looks like, and then I may just say, “Lord, I pray You’d give Lailee a… Just give her a good day today. Please be good.” That’s not general, that’s intentional, but it’s also not super specific where there’s also gonna be prayers of specificity, “Lord, please be with Lailee’s future husband.”

“I pray that you would protect him from the snares of the devil. I pray that he wouldn’t be entrapped by addiction to pornography or substances, I pray that he wouldn’t be sucked into and drawn into and dragged into relationships that are toxic and they create bad patterns for him. I pray that you would preserve and protect him.” Or, “Lord, I pray for Lailee’s future husband, whatever, he’s in the middle of right now I pray You’d bring him out of it, and he would learn and mature and grow.” So now that’s very specific. I’m praying for my child, specifically for my child’s future spouse, and then specifically for things within that future spouse’s life. So intentional, which can look general at times, but it’s intentional, give Lailee a good day, I pray she has a good day with joy and has a good day. Sometimes it’s very specific, I pray for that test, she’s taking the ACT tomorrow, please be with her and guide her and give her what she needs to do well on that test, or something like that. But Paul’s prayer, it’s specific, but Paul’s prayer is specific but it’s also very spiritual. And so look at the things he’s focusing on, and these the things I wanna focus on as a dad, asking that you may first be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So I want my child to grow in wisdom, knowledge that bears fruit, maturity that brings discernment.

I’m not just praying that they know more Bible, but that the knowledge of the Word of God grows them in wisdom, so I would even drill into that and pray that they would have a love for the Word of the Lord, the Word of God. They’d have a love for God’s people and for church and things like that, that they would grow in their wisdom, that they would be discerning. A 15-year-old can only be so wise, there’s so much of wisdom comes from life experience, but they can be wise beyond their years and experience, they can be discerning. One of the evidences of a person who’s mature and is that they grow in discernment, Hebrews 5:14. So I pray that for the knowledge of their will and spiritual wisdom, understanding. So I’m praying that they would have understanding and discernment and wisdom, and that that would bear fruit. Knowledge that bears fruit, not just knowledge that is stagnant. Then he says so as to… “So I want them to grow in their knowledge and wisdom and discernment, so that they would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. So they would then be pleasing to the Lord, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

So he starts with I want them to grow in knowledge, he ends with I want them to grow in knowledge, and in the middle, he’s describing the journey of knowledge. I want them to learn and grow and experience and grow in wisdom and discernment, maturity, understanding. I want them to then… For that to translate to a manner of life that is worthy of being called Christ followers, I want them to please the Lord and bear fruit in their lives. Those are all really good… Now, you can break that down and really get even more specific with that prayer for your kids. Then he says, “Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might,” I want them to have the strength of the Lord, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, is one of Paul’s prayers and challenges to Christians in the New Testament. So being strengthened with power “God, please strengthen my child, give them your power, your grace, your strength, strength of character, strength of mind, give them emotional stability, help them to deal with the pressures that come and do that according to your glorious might.” If they have the strength of the Lord, then they’re gonna be strong.

And he gives a purpose for that strength “For all endurance” Help them to endure the eighth grade, help them endure high school or college or grad school, or parenthood with patience and with joy. For all endurance and patience with joy. Help them to endure patiently and have joy in the process and in the journey. So help them to be joyful. I pray for my kid’s joy all the time, I pray they’d be joyful people. The joy of the Lord would be their strength. Then he says, verse 12, “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” So he goes back to thanks giving. So we go from in that section on petition, the petition is, he asks with specificity that they would have knowledge and grow in discernment, he’s asking for spiritual growth and that they would understand the will of God, they would grow in maturity and that they would grow in joy and endurance and patience, having awareness of and a practical application of scripture. Then he goes praying-for-your-children back to thanks giving, so he’s like, “I wanna give thanks for them Lord.” This is something we can do. And give thanks for our little ones, give thanks for our big ones, give thanks what the Lord has done.

Give thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light, in light. So give thanks for their, for my kids inheritance, thank you God that you’ve given them eternal life. Thank you, Lord, that you’ve called them on it, or if they’re not a believer thank you, Lord, I’m believing in the name of Jesus that you’re gonna save them, you’re gonna bring them from death to life. I’ve got one of those that I’m praying for right now. And then we end with worship and recognition and declaration or confession, you might say. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,” and then he goes… At Colossians 20, he goes into that passage on the preeminence of Christ, it’s powerful. So we end with worship, with declaration, with recognition of all that the Lord has done. Thank you, Lord, for all that you’ve done. So that’s kind of like… I don’t wanna say a method or a road map to prayer, but it is something that’s helpful, it’s just the way that we can pray for our kids, and I think it’s super simple.

I don’t have to be creative. I can drill into that and go as deep as I want to when I start drilling into and thinking about specific needs at school tomorrow, on their sports team, or as they head off to college, or as they prepare for their wedding. I can get real specific. But I’m just being intentional and I’m praying and I’m doing it with constancy and consistency, man there’s power in that. I believe the Lord uses that in a mighty way, a powerful way, and so I encourage you to do it, and it’s easy to get caught up in the frustrations of trying to parent day-to-day-to-day-to-day, but in that regard, I think the day-to-day-to-day constancy and consistency of praying the Scripture, praying the scripture… Even with praying that scripture, you can be creative and bring personal application to your situation, or you’re a kid situation, but don’t be discouraged to pray, don’t be discouraged to pray. Hope it’s beneficial. I hope you would be able to implement some of that this week. We’re gonna do some more over the next months, I’ve got a couple of more sessions on prayer outlined as we’re preparing for a sermon series later this year on prayer. And look at some other specific prayers and scripture. One of them being the prayer of Hannah, who’s asking God for a child.

Yep anyway, I wanted to close our time with an update from Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters. It’s an exciting time because we have just partnered with a company called Third Lens, a group called Third Lens, and what they will do is they will come in as we think about and try to figure out how we’re gonna grow over these next two years, five years, 10 years, there’s a constant and growing demand for what we do here at SWO and what we offer. And I believe that going forward into the future, the darker things feel and seem to get the more oppressive the prevalence of societal evil is the more I think there’s gonna be a need in a place… I think God has been preparing Snowbird to rise up in this cultural moment and for SWO to be a place where people can come to be filled up, refreshed, encouraged, equipped, to be engaged with other believers, relationally to connect to people that can be a source of encouragement, to then go back into the darkness and carry the light to be salt and light in the world as we move forward, and we develop the new 40 acres that God has given us, 37 acres that God gave us last year.

We wanna develop it strategically, we wanna use now the 100-ish acres that we’ve got to really maximize the property, the layout and the potential that we have to grow, we have some goals set that we wanna grow from where we are now, which is 12,000 people a year, 6000-ish in our summer program. Actually, I think this summer about 5700, and we wanna see that… We wanna grow that by about 40-50% over the next few years, we’ve got some goals and I won’t get too specific with that. But we need an outside company to come in to help guide us with an objective. So we’ve partnered with a company called Third Lens, our board of directors really encouraged us to find someone that could help us with this and guide this process. And so that’s the company we’re using, and we’ll be putting out some updates and some… You’ll see some stuff on social media in the days, weeks and months ahead. We’ve got a six-month project lined up to kind of… Over the next six months plan for the next six to 10 years actually, and specifically the next two to five years, and with the ability to then re-evaluate when we get… When we hit some milestones on the journey, how do we grow about 40%, that’s the plan to meet the demanding and increasing need that people seem to have for what SWO does.

This weekend is our Be Strong men’s conference, I’m really excited about that. And I know a lot of you are coming, we are over-booked by about 100 people, and so we got a 100 guys coming that aren’t even gonna be on the property, they’re gonna be staying in local Airbnb and cabin rentals and bringing RVs and things like that. We’re not over-booked for our main meeting venue, we got plenty of room in there, but we are at capacity, beyond capacity as far as housing, and so we got guys saying, “Hey, we wanna come for the teaching sessions, what if we stay off-campus?” This thing, our men’s minds just keep blowing up, and so excited. I’ll report back next Monday and give you an update on how that goes. I’m excited about it. A lot of our listeners will be here, we’ll see you this weekend and excited to see you. Hope you guys have a good week praying for you, and I really am, I mean it, grateful for you and thankful that you would partner with us by supporting this piece of what Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters does. And I pray that you’d share it with your friends, and I ask you to do so. And to give us some feedback. And we’ll see you next week, right here at No Sanity Required

March 20, 2023

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