Worrying less, praying more: Feeling powerless as a parent

Despite the endless amount of energy and worrying that we pour into our children, we still have moments when we feel absolutely powerless. Or maybe I should speak for myself: I have moments when I feel powerless.

For example, I feel like I'm constantly fighting to impress upon them the importance of screen-free time. And I don't feel like I'm winning that fight. Yes, I can snatch a cell phone or turn off the WiFi. But a big part of me wants my children to want to experience life outside of their devices. I want them to enjoy reading books and magazines, going outside and finding something to do, playing board games and doing other creative activities.

Bullying is another area that has stripped many parents of their power. I heard a mom friend recently express that seeing your child hurting and knowing you can't do anything about it is the worst feeling in the world.

My third biggest day-to-day worry is totally out of my control: the state of our country and world. Racism, drug abuse, sex trafficking, terrorism ... I could go on and on. It's enough to make a parent throw up their hands in defeat.

This is one of those topics that I wish I had my mom around to discuss. While the details of our parental worries have likely changed in the past few decades, I'm sure worrying itself has not. I think about how crazy it must have made my mother for me to go out for hours and hours -- with no cell phone -- in a community where age-appropriate activities were scarce and violence was commonplace. Although she can no longer tell me how she coped, I am confident that I know exactly what she would say. She would tell me that she prayed.

Prayer. It's the parenting tool that I know I should keep sharpened, but that I admittedly do not utilize consistently. In my busyness as a working mom in this fast-paced culture, I run and run, not taking the time I should to present my worries to the only One capable of handling them. Yes, I pray daily. But if I compared the amount of time I spend praying for my children with the amount of time I spend worrying, I'm sure worrying would win.

I need to change this, not only for myself and my own sanity, but, more importantly, for my children. I wonder where I would be today -- who I would be today -- had it not been for the prayers of my mom, dad and others who cared. Looking back at some of the situations I walked away from, I am thoroughly convinced that God's angels protected me. And I strongly believe those angels were dispatched as a result of prayer.

My plan to pray more for my children includes the following:

  • Just pray. In the words of the Nike slogan, just do it
  • Build your skills. A search for "praying for your children" will result in more resources than you can imagine. How to Pray for Your Children by Mark Batterson is a great article  with specific strategies on how to pray.
  • Write your prayers. For me, personally, I find that writing my prayers in a journal also keeps me focused. So, I'm going to grab a blank journal and designated it for this purpose.
  • Read other people's prayers. Pray the prayers of others. I'm sure God will listen to them, even if you didn't write them yourself. I ordered The Power of a Praying Mom (you can order from the affiliate link below), and I plan to use it to help me stay on track.

How do you pray for your children? What strategies and resources do you use? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Let's encourage each other to keep our kids lifted in prayer.


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