For my first ten years as a parent, I struggled to pray for my children. Oh, I did pray for them but not regularly, not every day.
This changed when someone gave me a list of twenty-three traits to pray for my children. The items included that they would fall in love with God’s word, have a heart for missions, love others, for their future spouse, and so forth.
Each morning I’d ask God to instill in them one of the characteristics on the list. After twenty-three days, I’d start over.
Just when the list started becoming routine, I bought a prayer card that provided thirty-one items, mostly different from the first list. For the past twenty years I’ve switched between these two resources, each day asking God to instill in my children one of the traits on the list.
But I didn’t just pray for my kids.
The first additions to the list were their friends. Not only did I desire God-honoring children, but I also wanted them in the company of godly friends. In later years, I likewise prayed for those they dated, and then college roommates, and finally their spouses.
With my kids’ marriages came the prospect of grandchildren, so I added my future grandkids to my daily prayers. It wasn’t that I urged God to rush them. Instead, I prayed that when they did arrive, they, too, would possess these same godly characteristics.
It’s one thing to pray in faith for future grandchildren, but soon God prompted me to expand my vision, to include my future great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren: the next four generations.
While it’s feasible I may one day see my great grandchildren, it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever see my great, great grandkids – at least not in the physical realm.
After my first grandson arrived, God prompted me for even more. Now my prayers are paving the way for the next ten generations. It’s hard to comprehend, but I pray by faith, expectant for amazing results.
Even more, I suspect that before my life is over, God will tell me to pray beyond the next ten generations.
In addition to praying for my offspring, I’ve also included my niece and nephews, my closest friends, people I mentor, and missionaries I support.
I share my prayer practices with much trepidation. I don’t want to call attention to myself, but I do want to encourage everyone to pray for their children, both those seen and those unseen.
May you pray it forward. Start today.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.