I had a friend email me today asking me how to get God to answer her prayer about one of her children. With children, it can be very challenging to follow these principles Betty taught me, but the one thing I’ve learned is that I have to give all my problems to God, especially when it comes to my kids. If any part of me is trying to control them or the situation, God will let me handle it on my own. He is a gentleman and won’t violate my free will. It is not until I completely surrender that things change. Below is a spiritual direction session I had with my Aunt Betty. Her words are in red:
We can pray all we want for God to work on the hearts of our children, but we also have to back off and give room for their free will to operate. God won’t force grace on any of us. We force our will on each other. “Lord, teach me how to let go and trust you to do what you can with child X. I lift up what I’ve noticed that concerns me. I lift up those traits. “ Once you lift them up, then you have to back off, and let God do what He will in light of their free will. God respects our free will and won’t force people. Our job is to pray.
If it’s a serious issue, I will fast for that child. When my eldest son was going through Army Ranger School, I fasted and prayed. It made me feel closer to him, and the fasting made my prayers stronger and my surrender greater. My prayers were answered as he made it through Ranger School without recycling.
The Lord talked about the widow who kept harassing the judge until he came around, and so we should keep asking. But at the same time, we need to let go and let God be God. Some kids require more prayer than others. The controller in us dies hard. It’s a stubborn part of our being. “I want what I want when I want it.”
Be careful not to get into the role of redeemer, even unconsciously. If our ego gets involved, it can be an open door through which Satan gets in. It can be our need to redeem the person. We can get in the other person’s way. God is the only one who redeems. We can unconsciously start to fall into carrying our children’s burdens.
The more we let go and let God, the more He can get our children to the right place. If we have too much control on our kids, they may have to go into heavy rebellion in order to help the parent let go. One of the best ways to help our kids with their problems is to work on our own stuff. When we do our work, often our children get healed. Many times what goes on inside parents, the kids will act out. What parents don’t own and deal with their kids might act out externally.
“Lord, teach me how to let go, and let you be God, and stop trying to tell you how to do it.”
Be careful not to psychologically curse your children with your words. “I know what you’re going to do…” “You are the difficult one in the family.” “He always…” The Lord prefers that when we see a harmful tendency in another that we pray against it. Don’t deny it’s a possibility, but ask the Lord to protect them from it.
During this season of Lent, it’s a good opportunity for us to take a deeper look within. Are there any areas in our children’s lives that need healing? Could God be calling us to work on that area ourselves so as to better free up our children?