“Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me for one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41 NKJV
When I read Matthew 26:40-41, it’s hard for me to imagine that Peter would not listen and obey Jesus. Then I think, “Am I so different?” Do I always pray when the Lord leads me or when circumstances around me demand prayer? This verse took me back six years ago when my daughter entered her teen years. During this season in my life, I had a deep desire to take steps to really change my prayer life with the Lord. I wanted to be intentional with my prayer walk as my children were entering critical years where they would be exposed to many voices. My prayer was that the voice of Jesus would be the loudest in their life.
I entered a commitment that my days would have many moments of prayer. As I embarked on this journey, I was prompted to ask myself this question, “When my children look at me and my life, do they say ‘My mom is a Jesus follower?'”
The Lord was telling me to watch my steps before them and examine whether my walk with Him was aligned with His words. When you have teenagers (or really kids of any age), they pay more attention to how you act than what you say. They constantly question whether your words match your actions. In your prayer walk with the Lord, lead with asking God to show you where in your life as a mom you need to be more authentic and transparent. It’s easier to look outward and get distracted by the wrongdoing of our kids, than pay attention to ourselves and whether we are walking in the Spirit or flesh.
Who are you watching, and what are you praying for?
Prayer is surrendering our thoughts and feelings, allowing the Spirit to transform us. Prayer sharpens our senses, molds our heart, and unravels the truth so that we can adapt to the circumstances.
As we rely on the Lord, He will show us how to parent as He parents us with mercy, grace, and unconditional love. This type of parenting evolves from our personal relationship, daily walk, and worship of the Lord. Every time I choose to chart my own course rather than leaning into His wisdom, I am impulsive in my responses. Or worse, I get caught up in a parenting fad. Parents can experience peer pressure as intensely as teens. In my daily conversations with parents, I always ask them, “Where did you get this advice?” I always get the same response, “From another parent.” I am by no means suggesting that we should not listen to peer advice; just proceed with caution. Watching ourselves closely will also show how our children may be different or similar.
When I find myself upset or emotional about something in my children’s lives, one habit that has served me well is pausing to pray and share my concerns, fear, burdens, or hurt with the Lord. A new perspective comes from that prayer, allowing me to share my concerns with them in a different tone and insight. This is the verse that I use to prompt me to seek the Lord in my parenting journey:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6 NIV
In my life, my dependency on prayer has been transformative in my relationship with my children. Often we hear that children do not come with an instruction manual. I disagree. We have unlimited access to our Father that can lead, equip and show us to parent as He parents us.
Here is a prayer I often pray for my children. Please take and use it as your own:
Lord, redirect my eyes, heart, and mind to you. Open my eyes to my child’s needs. Lord, prompt my Spirit when a necessity in their life requires divine intervention. Give me the courage to surrender to you those matters in their life that require your power. Remind me of your unconditional love, grace, and mercy for all your children.
Watch and see all the Lord will do through your prayers!
Ana Anselma is founder of the Social Mind Center providing cognitive-based intervention to equip children and families with social communication skills to connect with peers and build relationships for life. Ana coaches and trains parents to be their child’s most influential advocate. She is married to Jon and has two teenagers Gabriela and Nicholas. Her greatest joy is her family and parenting both of her children.
Make sure to check out the Social Mind Center website: http://socialmindcenter.com