“He never dismisses a parent’s prayer. Keep giving your child to God, and in the right time and the right way, God will give your child back to you.” Max Lucado – Fearless
Parents pray for the health and safety of their kids.
Sometimes we just ask for God’s help in raising them.
“God, please guide us. Help us to be the best mom and dad we can be.”
We may not know exactly what we’re asking for.
And more often than not, we are clueless about what an answered prayer even looks like.
Sometimes we stumble along in the dark with poor decisions and reactions, without purpose or direction.
We forget what we even prayed for.
Every now and then, we remember that our children belong to God.
Just a small dose of surrender and a nudging from the Holy Spirit and cool things happen.
Big sister is into her 3rd week away at college. Little 8 year-old brother decides to start sleeping in her bed (DirecTV in her room).
As bedtime nears, he starts babbling to his mother and me, ” you know how I wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning and come to your bed sometimes……I have a great idea. The next time I do that, I’m just gonna get up and make me some coffee (Macy left a coffe-maker in her room).
What runs through my mind is this, “blah blah blah. That’s about the goofiest thing I’ve heard all day. Sure son, whatever.”
At bedtime, I have dozed off in my recliner. I’m awakened by Kal asking me to help him carry his coffee fixings upstairs to Macy’s room.
My initial irritation fades a bit when I walk into the kitchen and see his efforts that followed his big idea. Coffee scooped into a glass jar. Bottle of water.
“Dad, can you carry the sugar up for me?” (the whole cannister)
A nudging…….and I’m in. “Hey Kal, let’s put the sugar in a smaller container.” More chattering comes about creamer and milk, and I patiently explain that they need to stay in the fridge.
The first trip up leads to another trip back downstairs to search the kitchen for a missing part to the coffee maker.
Once he finally gets everything arranged (for the coffee that most likely will never be brewed), the big moment comes.
“Thanks dad, you’re the best.”
I didn’t do anything. I just went along.
But I realized almost immediately that this is what an answered prayer looks like sometimes.
When that first reaction goes away and the right path is taken.
And the gentle reminders come pouring in at a time when they are needed most:
1) Always listen to the words of your children like it’s the most important conversation you’ve ever had in your life. If you don’t listen to them when they’re small, they won’t bother talking to you when they get older.
2) Encourage them to dream and create. Their ideas don’t have to be great. But if they choose to share them with you with a degree of excitement……….share the excitement.
3) When they invite you into their world, don’t miss the invitation. If we are to influence our children in great ways, we have to find ways to get into their world……..their mind isn’t stirred or concerned with our grown-up world or the stresses of life that distract us. Don’t allow your worlds to be separate. Sometimes this may require parents to learn to carry on an informed conversation about Mario, Pokemon, WWE, or Zelda (no matter how goofy it may seem to us).
4) Don’t forget to pray. Don’t forget what you prayed for.
Be ready to be nudged.
Learn from the things that don’t go right.
Learn from the things that do go well, even if it seems by accident.
Give thanks for answered prayers, even if it takes a while to recognize them.