When it comes to prayers for our kids, it helps to remember this truth:
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
When my children were little, I thought about Jesus’ mom quite often. I imagined Mary as a young mother, like myself, holding her tiny baby in her arms and leaning down to smell that new-baby smell. When I nursed my oldest, I wondered if Mary, too, held her baby’s gaze until He became full and drowsy with milk. Did she love hugging a warm sleepy toddler-age Jesus goodnight just as much as I did my own? I like to think that she did.
Yes. I thought about her a lot. I most often thought of her though during the quiet moments of parenting–the 2am feedings, afternoon nap times, or the times when my daughters would fall asleep in the car–because in those moments, I prayed for my girls.
I prayed for their futures. I prayed for their health. I prayed for them to know God. I prayed for the lives I hoped they would lead as adults and all the milestones that I thought they would need to reach along the way. Through my prayers, I made plans for them.
Did Mary do the same? What prayers did she lift to the Father for her child? Did she pray for a specific type of wife or an abundance of sons, both a sign of blessing in the Jewish culture? Did she pray for a long and healthy life for Jesus? Did she, too, pray for specific milestones that she thought He would need to reach along the way?
Of course, we don’t know what prayers she lifted for her son, but as a mom, I believe she didn’t pray for Him to endure what He did on our behalf–the pain, the suffering, the sacrifice. Yet, those were the exact steps the Father called Jesus to take on our behalf. Two thousand years later we know why.
As parents, we make plans and hold hopes for our children. We form those plans and hopes into prayers for our kids. Yet, the Lord determines their steps. It’s His will, not our own. We often won’t know this side of heaven why our children endure pain and suffering of any kind or why sometimes the milestones we set for their lives differ from His milestones for them. In those moments, instead of thinking of Mary, I turn my thoughts towards the Father and ask for His help in releasing my own plans and surrendering to His will. Just like Mary may have done at the foot of the cross.
Lord, I thank You for this child you entrusted to my care. I am in awe of Your creation. I know you bend down to hear my prayers for my child’s present and future. Thank you for listening to the prayers for our kids. I pray my child comes to know and follow You. God, You know the hopes and dreams I carry for this child. I lift and release those hopes and dreams to You. Help me to fully trust the steps and milestones You will determine for my child. Even though I don’t always understand, I know in my heart your path is best. Help me to remember and fully surrender to Your will and be the parent my child needs me to be. Amen.
What hopes and dreams for your child do you need to lift and release to the Lord? How would your prayers for your current circumstances and your child’s future change if you did lift and release them to Him?