Have you ever been in a snowstorm? I mean a white-out, a total blizzard. The wind pushes snow at you from every direction. Everything is the same color, but you can’t even see it because the snow keeps flying in your face. You’re not sure which way is home to safety or which way will lead you off to freeze in the cold. You get knocked down by the wind and forward progress is slow because of the deep, wet snow. It is cold, lonely and frightening.
It sounds a lot like parenting.
So many times I feel like I am fighting my way through a blizzard, not sure which way to go, and hardly able to think because of all the snow (soccer games, piano lessons, homework, doctor appointments, technology, etc) flying at me. And I’m not sure I’m making any forward progress through the daily routines of laundry, dishes, and cooking.
Oh, there are moments of joy, new hope, like a spring morning. I love my children with my whole heart. I love being a mom. I don’t want to do anything else right now. But
sometimes often, I don’t know which way to go or what choices to make. Parenting “experts” disagree on the best way to raise a child and if you ask three people what they think is the right way to parent, you’ll get six different answers.
BJ and I discovered a long time ago that we needed help and guidance with our children. We believe that God loves our children and wants the best for each of them. So we go to Him often in prayer, to ask for guidance and advice.
Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father.–Richard G. Scott, Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer
BJ and I pray individually, but we also pray together each night. This prayer focuses on our family. We pray in our room where we have privacy and quiet. We alternate who prays aloud. We will sometimes discuss issues before we pray. This allows us to be in sync about what we think should be brought to God.
At the beginning of every prayer, we thank our Heavenly Father for the blessings of family. Gratitude is vital. How can we receive more blessings and guidance if we don’t appreciate blessings that have already been given to us? So we express gratitude to God for our children, for previous guidance, and for blessings given.
I wish our prayers could end there, but hardly a day goes by without questions arising about how to handle a behavior, or what to do about a new problem. We ask for guidance about these issues.
Our prayer is one of the last things we do each night and I find great peace in this routine.
Answers to Prayers
I wish answers to prayers would come as easily as answers to text messages. That would be convenient.
BJ and I will often study out a problem and possible solutions before we pray about it. We will decide on a course of action and then take that before our Father in Heaven. If we feel good about our decision after praying, we continue on this path. But if we feel doubt, worry, and confusion BJ and I discuss the problem again and try another solution.
At other times, we will receive answers as an impression or feeling.
Recently I was worried about one of my children. This child was failing in school, he was defiant and argumentative, and every interaction ended in a battle of wills. As we prayed and pondered what to do, we felt like we needed to show him more love. God let me know that I needed to spend time with him strengthening our relationship. These interactions had to be positive with me seriously biting my tongue. So I chose things he liked to do and we spent time each day together.
It took a few weeks, but our relationship improved. I would have focused on correcting his behavior; God taught me to love him first. Then the behavior naturally improved.
What to Pray For
The short answer is . . . everything. I believe God will guide us in all aspects of our life. But here is a list of things BJ and I pray about for our family.
- Pray for protection. Ask God to protect your children from influences that may harm them.
- Pray for understanding. Ask God to give you clarity in understanding what your children are trying to communicate with you. Children aren’t always great at discussing their problems, but Heavenly Father can help you know what those problems might be.
- Pray for physical protection from harm or accidents.
- Pray for wisdom. We all need a bit of wisdom in our decisions.
- Pray for help with health issues. With three special needs children, we have prayed many times about which treatments, medications, and doctors to choose.
- Pray for patience. We all need a healthy dose of this. However, remember God will bless you with opportunities to practice patience. He wants us to “make weak things become strong.” (Ether 12:27)
- Pray for forgiveness. We all make mistakes as parents. Forgive yourself and ask God to forgive you as well. Then move on and do better.
As you help strengthen your family, prayer must be a consistent, daily part of your life. Prayer will protect you from the adversary, give you peace, and help your families love each other more.–Carol B. Thomas, Strengthen Home and Family
Have you included prayer in your parenting? What have you learned from prayer?
For more information about praying with your family, click here.