Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Power of a Praying (Adoptive) Parent

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!

9 comments:

The Lloyd Family said...

Wow. I have had that book for several years but haven't started it. Last week I came across it while unpacking and put it in my work bag (work is where most of my reading gets done .... LOVE my job). Anyway, I still haven't gotten around to reading it (last week work was busy) but you have inspired me (once again) and I am going to get busy soaking up that book. Hey, maybe I'll get me some tabs too .... I love that idea!

the voice of melody said...

That was so beautiful. I do pray for my son everyday but I thank you for the reminder, especially about how important it is. And you're right, as much as I love him, it's amazing to know that God loves him even more!

Many sweet blessings!

Tricia said...

I LOVE this book. This one and the Power of a Praying Wife stay on my bedside table. That makes it so easy to pick them up before I go to sleep and pray for my kids and husband. There is a new one out...The Power of Praying Through the Bible. I cannot wait to get it!

Daisy said...

Oh gosh, Cyndi...I've only read the first part of this post and will have to read it in it's entirety later, but once again, already my heart burns within me! I share the same passion to pray for my children. I LOVE that book as well as the Praying Wife one; I've always kept them by my bed and gone back to them every so often. It's always helpful to have a wonderful boost every now and then to keep carrying on! Thanks so much for the inspiration and reminder of the power of prayer! Your writings are VERY timely...

Alycia said...

This is a beautiful post Cyndi. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your strategy for bathing your children in prayer. I am really finding that the more invested prayer I make on behalf of my children, the better days we have in our current situation. I know this must be true for all aspects of their lives. I am definately going to find this book and start reading and I love the tab idea as well!

Maria said...

Amazing!! I usually just lurk and be inspired by your wonderful resources, blog, life, faith and family...but I feel compelled to just post my kudos to you and say how deeply you have touched my heart as I have often pondered "how can I truly pray for my kids"...God used you and this blog post to give me my answer!! I am so excited to "copy you"!!! I hope you don't mind! Thank you for posting this...and as always please continue with the amazingly inspiring blogging!!! When our journey comes to the point we act upon these feelings drawing us to an older child adoption, I am certain I will cling to your blog for inspiration, so thank you for all that you have shared!

Emily said...

I LOVE this book. But I need to be more systematic in using it. Isn't God's grace in our lives so amazing? Isn't it awesome how He works all things together for good, how He redeems even the yucky things in our lives!? God is so good, all the time.

Jill said...

Oh, Cyndi! You are such an inspiration to me. Just recently I made a mental list of questions for you about parenting as an ACTIVE, CHRISTIAN mother. And "a system" of prayer was one of my questions. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!!

I look up to you more than you know....thank you for sharing your wisdom! One of these days I'm gonna pack up and come to "Camp Cyndi" for all of my life lessons ;)

emily said...

This is so cool! I don't have kids yet, but I wish there was a "Power of a Praying Daughter" one :-) maybe I can write my own prayers to do daily for my parents, who are not yet believers.