Praying Circles Around Your Children

A few weeks ago my wife came to me and told me she just read a book that was going to change our lives. The book is called Praying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson. Intrigued, I read the book and found it very helpful and challenging for a number of reasons.

I became a parent in my early twenties and didn’t know what I was doing (like most first time parents). My wife and I were determined to raise children who love Jesus and who love and obey their parents. We read parenting books and asked experienced parents what we should and shouldn’t do. Together, we sit down and discuss how we can strategically correct behaviors in our children. We read our kids the Bible and teach them the good news of the Gospel. Don’t get me wrong, we mess up all the time. We try to be good parents, but I have come to realize that sometimes being “good parents” isn’t enough.

I have always struggled with prayer. I pray, but they often lack depth. My prayers tend to be short and generic. I didn’t even pray for my kids everyday–and when I did, I would pray they would have a good day at school, or feel better from a cold, or that they would be kinder to their sister. In the book Praying Circles around Your Children, Batterson challenges his readers to pray specifically and intentionally.
“Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destiny’s of their children, grandchildren, and every generation that follows.” –Mark Batterson
I believe prayer is one of the most humbling things we can do. Prayer says “I can’t, I need God's help.” Millennials are often stereotyped as thinking they know everything. I am a millennial and I often find myself trying to do things without prayer. I believe God hears my prayers, and that he answers them, but I still find myself NOT praying for the most important things in my life. 

In the book Batterson said “You can’t choose Christ for your kids, but you can pray that they find Christ.” I often get stuck thinking that with the right strategy or methods, I can make it work. The truth is, great parents still have wayward children and I need to start interceding for my kids.

After I read this book, my wife and I discussed how we should be praying for our children. We asked our friends and family what strengths they see in them. We want to encourage and pray into these natural God given strengths. We are also actively looking for bible verses that speak truth into our kids' lives. Each of our children have different struggles, but God's word gives us promises that we can pray over our kids to remind them of his goodness.

Our biggest takeaway from this book is that our prayers need to be big and intentional. We will circle (identify) things in our kid’s lives, consistently pray, and believe that God will answer our prayers. Parenting is the hardest and most important job I will ever have. I can’t be successful without God's grace and favor. Moving forward I want to define what success looks like in my kids, and pray God's promises over their lives.
I encourage all parents to read Praying Circles around Your Children and start praying with intentionality. “You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent.”

-by Ryan Valentine

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