When You Feel Powerless to Influence Your Children
It wasn’t until my daughters were graduated and out of the house that I truly understood the power of prayer.
In the days leading up to their moves, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that I could no longer be a daily influence in their lives. How am I going to take care of them? I wondered. How can I continue to influence them when they’re so far away?
I felt powerless and afraid. Who’s going to stay awake to be sure they get home safely? What happens if they get sick? And the worse fear of all, what if they stop attending church and stray from the faith? These looming dangers easily eclipsed the more minor issues I had worried about when they were children.
More importantly, they revealed the lie I had believed—that my children were safe as long as I was nearby. And that I had the power to protect them from harm, bad influences, and spiritual apostasy. Without intending to, I had usurped God’s role, at least in my own mind, as their guardian and protector.
When they moved away, I came face to face with my own impotence. Simultaneously, I rediscovered the greatest power in the world—prayer.
Stormie Omartian, author of The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, says: “. . . when we take our concerns to the Lord—trusting that God hears our prayers and answers them on behalf of our adult children—it means our prayers have power to affect change in their lives. And that gives us a peace we can find no other way.”
While I already had an established prayer routine, something shifted significantly in my heart. Prior to their leaving, I’d stick prayer on my conscientious parenting efforts like a bow on a Christmas box. Now the Lord was showing me that the majority of my efforts needed to move away from physically and emotionally parenting my children and toward spiritually influencing my children through diligent prayer.
He helped me realize that while I couldn't be everywhere my children were, God could. And he cared for them even more than I did.
Some parents of adult children have the added burden of a strained or hostile relationship with their children. They feel doubly impotent and frustrated.
Evangelist D. L. Moody spoke to this when he shared how prayer is the stealth weapon able to penetrate even the thickest defenses. "People may resist our advice, spurn our appeals, reject our suggestions, and not accept our help,” he said, “but they are powerless against our prayers."
Pastor John Piper has often shared how he prays consistent, focused prayers on behalf of his sons. He transcribed one of his prayers in his book Taste and See: “Even in their sleep, Lord, turn their hearts to you.”
I love this picture—that God can and does work in the hearts of our children, even while they sleep. His influence is not limited by time, space, or daylight hours. His heart desires to draw them into a rich, full relationship with himself and those around them.
Are your children far away—relationally, physically, or spiritually? Take heart. You are not powerless. You have the greatest weapon in the world available to you. Through prayer, you can continue to affect your children for good no matter where are.
“The prayer of a righteous (wo)man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
Hungry for God is on Facebook! Will you take a moment and LIKE my page? CLICK HERE to help HFG share 5-minute devotions.