A Prayer for Our Children’s Hearts
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. - Psalm 119:36-37
I write this to you as a mama who is in the trenches of raising three kids in three different stages of life. And by trenches, I don’t mean the literal dirt tunnels in the ground. But I do mean that place of being low at times, weary, on the edge, preparing to fight the enemy and defend those I love. Trenches are mainly used in times of war, and while there are no earthly battles raging in my home, there is no question in my mind that we are in a spiritual battle for our children. The sights, sounds, and voices that they are bombarded with every day lead them to question so much. To wonder how what we, as Godly parents, are teaching them fits in with the rest of the world.
And y’all, there are days my tears flow, as I allow fear and worry and feelings of failure to wash over me. As I recall conversations and questions my children asked and wonder if I missed valuable opportunities to point to Him. As I recall times I did point to Him, but wonder if I did Him justice. It’s hard. It’s just hard.
But there is one thing I know. In those times, I so often hear the Lord say, “Give them to me, Maggie. Give them to me.” And I try. I lay them down... for a while. But next thing you know, I’ve picked them back up again. And I can feel it. I can feel the weight and the pressure I put on myself to carry them, to try and keep them turned toward Him. It happens most often as the “what-ifs” enter my mind. But the truth is, the turning isn’t mine to do.
Numerous times in the Bible, the Lord’s people turned away from Him or turned their backs on Him (Jeremiah 32:33, Psalm 95:10, Hosea 11:7). And if I really get down to it, that’s my worst fear. That my babies would turn away from the Lord... and toward the things and people of this world. Exchanging a hope in the One who will never leave them for hope in a world that will always disappoint.
So today, I simply come as a mama sharing her heart with you. Asking you to stand with me, prepared for battle, refusing to give in to fear and the “what-ifs.” Together, let’s pray without ceasing for our kids, pointing them to scripture, loving them well, and striving daily to lay them back at His feet. Because the truth is, they were His first. And He loves them even more than we do.
In our own pride and strength, we are powerless to turn their hearts to Him. But in our humility and weakness, as we model how much we need Him, the Lord can and will do more than we ever ask or imagine.
My heart is so overwhelmed right now. As I look at my beautiful children, there are times I just feel helpless. I want to protect them from the evil of this world. I want to help them make good choices and live up to all of their potential and be the men and women you made them to be. Oh, Lord, I want so badly to do all of those things, and I feel like many days I fail miserably. Please help me to remember that they aren’t really mine. They’re Yours... and You love them more than I ever could.
Oh, Jesus, help me to lay them at your feet and remember that you will not allow my heart and my tears and my longings and my prayers to go unanswered. Your word will not return to You empty (Isaiah 55:11). Help me remember that every prayer, every scripture, every attempt to point them to You is not for nothing. There will be a harvest one day (Galatians 6:9) and none of my work is useless if it’s done for You (1 Corinthians 15:58). Help me to stay strong and immovable and rooted in your word (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Help me model taking refuge in you, so that they will see it and run to you as well (Psalm 46:1). Help me study Your word, so they will recognize how powerful and valuable it is (Heb.4:12). Help me speak Your heart to them and love them well, even as I often feel so unequipped, so underqualified, and so weak (2 Cor. 4:7). Oh Lord, keep their hearts turned toward You.
In Your Mighty Name,
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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