Throughout the years, I’ve realized that I am barely adept at changing minds in my household and even less so, changing hearts. I have finally come to realize that in terms of shepherding a child’s heart, prayer is the real heavy lifting – lifting the burdens off of me and handing them to God, allowing Him to do what only He can do.
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Prayer is what gets us close to the heart of God as we shepherd our children’s hearts. After more than 20 years of legitimately seeking the Lord, 18 years of parenting, and thousands of prayers, I have realized three fundamental things:
- There is no manipulation in prayer. We cannot compel the Lord to do anything for us through prayer.
- There is great mystery in prayer. Sometimes our prayers are answered in a way that there is no human explanation for it.
- There is spiritual movement in prayer. I have seen the Lord move in hearts when the outside seems totally hard.
We cannot change a child’s heart, but we can try to shepherd it. So, whenever you feel overburdened and powerless, needing to pray, but at a loss for words, here are four prayers from scripture that you can pray for your family members:
Finally, let me share with you some tools that have helped me in my prayer journey.
- Movement, coffee, and chocolate. When I get up in the morning, I need to move so I can start to pray intentionally. When my legs are moving, it helps my mind move and it keeps my spirit intact. A cup of coffee and some chocolate is my little reward after prayer. Prayer is the most spiritually rewarding thing that you can do, but I need to train my body to feel that reward too, with a treat of coffee and chocolate.
- Prayermate App. This free app helps me keep track of prayers and prayer requests for the important people in my life.
- Levenger 5-Year Journal. I’m now on my fourth cycle through my daily journal. It helps me look back on the past few years and see all the things I used to worry about that God has answered.
- Northumbria Prayer Community. I sometimes find it helpful to submit myself to some prayers that have been around for a long period of time. It helps especially if you feel like your prayer life is stagnant and you need a bit more discipline in your daily prayers.
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