I find myself in an odd stage of motherhood — both of my sons are young career adults; one is married; I’m not yet a grandmother. It’s sort of an in-between time. I feel as close to, and as far away from, motherhood as the miles (2 and 380) my sons are from me. By all accounts, they are doing well. And perhaps most importantly for me, they have not walked away from their Christian faith.

When I turn 59 this July, I will have lived six years longer than my own mother did. While I have raised my boys without her presence, I have not raised them without her legacy of service and leadership. Thankfully, my boys had my paternal grandmother in their lives when they were younger.

That grandmother was a praying grandmother. Her example and influence, coupled with God’s call on my life, have made me the praying mom I am today. It’s perhaps the legacy I most hope to leave my sons. A rich prayer life can be one of the greatest legacies you leave for your children. Click To Tweet

If you’ve read the Mama Bear Apologetics book, you might recognize my name. I co-wrote the first chapter with Hillary about the youth exodus from faith. I am passionate about helping reverse that tide through training in apologetics and strategic prayer. That is why I also wrote all of the prayers that conclude each cultural lie chapter. And it is why, along with Rebecca Dikeman, I am helping start a prayer ministry for Mama Bear.

The seed for prayer that my grandmother planted in my life took root and blossomed while I was in college, which partially explains my current role with Moms in Prayer (MIP) as their College Groups Liaison.

I have been praying for my boys and their schools since my oldest entered first grade. Interestingly, the year I started this legacy of prayer I hope to pass to my boys is the same year my prayer legacy, my grandmother, passed away. It’s as if God took the baton from my grandmothers’ hand and placed it into mine.

Establishing a habit of prayer for my boys and being on the far side of many of those answered prayers is one of the reasons I wanted to introduce Mama Bears to praying strategically and scripturally. The four steps of prayer from MIP are what I used to create the Mama Bear “PAWS for Prayer”:

  1. Praise
  2. Admit
  3. Worship with Thanksgiving
  4. Supplication (a fancy way of saying submitting your requests to God)

So, as a mom a little farther down the road, I would love to share with you lessons and blessings from praying for my kids in this way, hoping that you too can leave a legacy of prayer with your own children.

Getting Started: Be Prayerful

Begin a discipline of prayer—both individual and shoulder-to-shoulder corporate prayer with other moms. Find a time, a place, and a method that works for you. After being in various roles of MIP leadership and training hundreds of women in prayer, I have heard numerous stories of how blessed they have been to use these four steps. Is it the only way to pray? No. However, one of my hopes in writing the Mama Bear prayers was for moms to see how to use this format to pray strategically and even whet the appetite for more prayer and encourage moms to join or start a MIP group. The wisdom our readers gained about spotting cultural lies, the chew and spit method, and discernment, would help them be able to pray more astute, strategic prayers about the worldviews behind their children’s education and in their culture.

A Helpful Hint Before You Start: Be Patient

As you develop your prayer discipline, be patient with yourself and with others. Just because it’s hard to find time between the feedings and fistfights (no judgment here) — don’t use that as an excuse. As you try to find time, make time, do time in prayer, you are modeling to your kids that this is important to you. You will be able to speak truth to experience when they complain to you as a teen, as a young adult, or as a new parent that they “don’t have time for prayer.” “Mom, you just don’t understand.” Even if you must ask God to wake you up in the middle of the night or extra early in the morning or use nap time as prayer time — even if you have a bazillion things to do, please develop a discipline of intentional prayer. Squeeze it in just like you do your post-pregnancy belly into a pair of Spanx.Even if you have a bazillion things to do, develop a discipline of intentional prayer. Squeeze it in just like you do your post-pregnancy belly into a pair of Spanx. Click To Tweet

Yes, arrow prayers shot to heaven on the fly are necessary. But honing that arrow and drawing the bow back slowly with focused, scriptural, specific prayer is where you come to hit the mark of knowing your Father better. And that will change your prayer life.

One final note about patience: be patient in finding another mom or moms to pray with. Corporate prayer is such a blessing. Having moms pray for your child in a way only the Spirit can lead them to pray for, things you did not even know to voice, is a kiss from heaven. All those years ago, it took me a year to find another mom to start a MIP group with and another semester to get started while we figured out what to do with our preschoolers while we prayed. But it was worth it.

Putting the Four Steps into Action

Start with praise, learning his attributes and characteristics. Be willing to confront your own sin, admit, receive the sweet release of forgiveness, and move forward with the now unclogged lines of communication. Spend time worshipping with thanksgiving so you develop a grateful heart for the intricate ways God is working. You will be encouraged that even when you are not seeing answers they will come. Your eyes will be lifted off your circumstances to your great God. And then, when you come to supplication, standing in the gap for your children and their needs, you can call on God intimately, deeply, according to His nature and His word and you can leave it in His able hands. Intentional, focused prayer is where you are changed as your desires are molded to match His will. And for goodness sake, if for no other reason, do it for your own sanity as a mother! If you miss a day, or two, or ten — don’t berate yourself. Just begin again and again.

Be purposeful

Theologian and philosopher Francis Shaeffer wrote, “It is important to remember, first of all, that we cannot separate true apologetics from the work of the Holy Spirit, nor from a living relationship in prayer to the Lord on the part of the Christian. We must understand that eventually, the battle is not just against flesh and blood.”[1]

This prayer battle for our children, which is spiritual, will be won in conjunction with what is done in the natural. We work in the natural realm training ourselves and our children in apologetics. The tandem effort here is prayer and apologetics — engaging the enemy on all fronts — in the spiritual realm through prayer and in the natural realm through apologetics tools applied to the worldview conflict in education and in culture.

Proverbs 19:2 (NIV) says, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge.” Our Lord commands us in Matthew 22:37 to love the Lord your God with (depending on your translation) all your passion and prayer and intelligence; whole mind; thy understanding; mind and intellect.

Strategic prayer must be informed by Scripture, tempered by knowledge of the culture, and applied with wisdom. Engage the enemy on all fronts — in the spiritual realm through prayer and in the natural realm through apologetics tools applied to the worldview conflicts in education and culture. #Apologetics #prayer Click To Tweet

Be Prepared

If you’re a Mama Bear, you’re probably already moving in the right direction with this process. When I started studying apologetics, it made me a better prayer warrior, especially when it came to my kids and their education. As I was learning about differing worldviews and arguments against God and Christianity, it enabled me to be more specific in my prayers. What I learned informed my prayers. It helped me pray pre-emptive prayers as well as present-day prayers. It opened my eyes more to the spiritual battles behind the earthly manifestations. When you read the Mama Bear book, you will hone your discernment detection device, and you will be more in tune with things to pray for and pray against. How can #apologetics help you pray better? Click To Tweet

As you read Scripture, take notes. Mark Scripture you want to pray over your child’s life. Mark God’s Word as it applies to truth and deception.

Learn to identify ways to praise God through the names, attributes, and character traits you learn. Identify the sins revealed in thought, word, deed, and attitude; ones of commission and omission. Confess and ask forgiveness. Be prepared to watch for answers to your prayers. Ask God to give you spiritual eyes and ears so you never miss something for which you need to give Him thanks. Name or journal those thanksgivings so you have a record of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Then identify issues you need to pray for yourself or others. One should not engage the enemy unprepared.

Be Persevering

Full disclosure: There will be dry seasons when you don’t feel like praying. Pray anyway. There will be seasons of smooth sailing when you will not feel the “need” to pray—pray anyway. There will be frustrating seasons where you feel like you are praying for the same thing over and over. And over. Be steadfast. Even when there appear to be no answers to prayer — persevere. Even if you must pray out of a sense of duty, do it! Soon it will turn to delight as you concentrate on the character of God more than the charity of God.

Be Perceptive

Watch. Listen. Read. When volunteering in the classroom at your child’s school. When overhearing moms talk at the bus stop. When attending school board and PTO meetings. During playdates. Listen to how your child talks about classmates and teachers. Ask God for insight into your child’s personality, his bent, his struggles. Develop your spiritual antenna to be as attuned as your child is when you think you got up without waking anyone else in the house.Develop your spiritual antenna to be as attuned as your child is when you think you got up without waking anyone else in the house. Click To Tweet

Have a Long-Term Perspective 

I have no idea how many answered prayers that were prayed over me years ago that I am walking in the blessing of. I have no idea how many prayers I’ve prayed, over the years, which might not be answered until long after I’ve left this earth. Maybe I will be able to see those answers from heaven. But even if I can’t, even if we don’t see all the answers while here on earth, am I, are you, still willing to pray? Do we have a long-term, eternal perspective? Do you believe that what we are doing matters for the kingdom?

When Jesus prayed His prayer in John 17, He prayed for us—before we were on this earth. We can pray for the here. For the now. And for the eternal.

I am so thankful for the prayer legacy of my grandmother. I am blessed to carry the mantle of prayer. No matter your stage of motherhood. Whether you have a baton to pick up from your past, we all have a baton to pass. Will you start your own prayer legacy today?

[1] Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 153 (emphasis added).


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