When my older two children were a preschooler and a toddler, I came across Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Parent. Up until that point, I had been what I would consider a "praying mother," but after I read that book I became much more convinced of how vital a parent's prayers are for a child, and how intentional I needed to be about it. After I read the book, I took some post-it tabs and tabbed each prayer, 1-30. That way, I could pray through each area of each child's life one day per month. Over the course of a month, I could completely cover every area of my child's life in prayer. In a year's time, each and every part of their life would've been prayed for at least 12 times. What a vital part of my prayer life this book has become! I began to realize that I needed to "camp out" on certain areas for awhile... like, attracting godly friends and role models, desiring the things of God, or enjoying freedom from fear. Whatever issue they seem to be dealing with, there are scriptural prayers in this book that address it... and these prayers have served as a springboard for many heartfelt conversations between this mother's heart and my Heavenly Father as I "pour out my heart like water before the face of the Lord, lifting my hands toward Him for the life of my young children" (Lamentations 2:19). I have small photos of each of my children that I use as bookmarks in this book, not only to mark what I am praying for, but so that as I am praying I can look at their precious faces. When we began the adoption process, I began praying these prayers for a child whose face and name were known only to God, but the process of praying for him or her in this way made me feel instantly connected to the child who would one day be mine, and it made me active in his or her life during a time when I felt helpless to do anything but wait.
When we realized Minte was our child, his photo immediately went into this book, and I began to bathe his life in prayer as I had for my other two for so long. In fact, praying specifically and thoroughly for him in this way has helped to eliminate some of the fear I had in adopting an older child. God has reminded me that He is not constrained by time. He has been at work in Minte's heart and life since before he was born! He is able to appropriate His grace in Minte's life into the past as well as into the future, not merely during the slice of time in which I am praying. He will go back into Minte's past and "work all things together for good." (Romans 8:28)
I remember as I began praying about adopting an older child, the Lord impressed upon me the story of Samuel, and how Hannah had so little "hands on" time with him as a young boy after she took him to live with Eli at the temple, as she had promised the Lord. During those annual visits with little Samuel, how she must have wanted to just soak up his presence, and how she must've fervently prayed for her son all those months in between, while she was carefully sewing the new clothes she would take to him. I believe with all my heart that she did pray for him faithfully, as scripture indicates in 1 Samuel 1:27- "...for this child I prayed." And I have no doubt that she prayed for him the rest of her life. As a result, she had a child whose heart was guarded when he was not in her care, and even in what most would consider less than optimal care living with Eli's wicked sons. (I feel certain Eli would not have passed a "home study!") She had a child who was able to clearly discern the voice of God at a young age. She had a child who was able to grow up with a strong faith and example that would lead others, impacting generations to come. As adoptive parents, especially those of us who have adopted kids whose ages are in the double digits, we have had less "hands on" time with our kids than children who have been with us since birth. But that should spur us on to greater prayer, and greater trust in a God Who has been with them from the beginning and Who ordained that they would join our families exactly when they did. Through prayer, I have asked God to "multiply my mothering" in Minte's life, as I believe He did for Hannah in the life of Samuel.
It is never too late to start praying for our children! I've heard it said that the best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago...the second best time is now! Whether or not you have been active in praying for your kids up until now, you can start today. You can stop right now and pray, and go throughout the rest of this day knowing that you have invited God's presence and power into their lives. Adoptive parent or not, systematically and thoroughly praying for our children is one of our highest callings. Adopted or not, our children are only with us for a short time, but we can entrust them to the One Who has been and will always be with them, even when we can't be, and He loves them even more than we do!