By Todd Kangas, MPE President
“Prayerfully raised children” – I’m making a play on words here to draw your attention to the importance of prayer in parenting. Maybe you’ve read different books on how to raise your children and win their hearts. You’ve followed all of these principles to the best of your ability.
Things seem to be going well. But then you begin to see a few chinks in the armor. Utopia no longer exists and character flaws appear. Relationships are strained. The questioning floods our hearts and minds, what have I done wrong? Battles with condemnation ensue. So what’s next?
The next thing is the same thing that should have been the first thing. Parenting should begin on a foundation of prayer. We pray because we recognize we are simply stewards of the children God has entrusted to us. We pray because we need His wisdom in how to raise His children. We pray because we know that apart from Him we can do nothing.
We pray because He has invited us to ask for His assistance in times of need. We pray before those times of need because we love and adore Him for trusting us with these treasures.
Moses was the spiritual father of Israel in the wilderness. He was dealing with a challenging, rebellious nation. I noticed some prayer principles in his life that might encourage you.
In Exodus 32:7-10, God told Moses to go down at once so He could wipe out the nation and start over with Moses. God showed a vulnerability here. Moses knew the promise of God and His heart. He didn’t go down, but interceded in verses 11-14.
God was vulnerable to one so close to Him, praying so wisely. Moses stayed near God and moved His heart with his intercession. So the Lord changed His mind.
Today is a day of hope if you feel your prayer life for your children hasn’t produced the fruit you want. Remember Moses. He drew near to God even though the circumstances may have dictated the opposite. God even told him to go. Moses knew the importance of nearness to God to be effective in prayer.
Moses was very well grounded in what God had said to that time. He was well aware of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses was a Levite. The Messiah was to come from the tribe of Judah. To improve our prayer life, study God’s word in such a way that you understand His promises to you for your family. Moses prayed God’s covenant promise back to Him. God responded with mercy.
As a leader Moses confessed the sins of his nation. He didn’t sugarcoat it. He wasn’t vague. Exodus 32:31-32, “Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, ‘Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin — and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!’ ”
We need to confess our sins and the sins of our family for God to show mercy. Moses also took responsibility for his spiritual family and put his life on the line for Israel.
In Exodus 33 we can see Moses understand that leadership required God’s presence (vv 12-16). After inquiring of the Lord who was going with him, God said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Are you leading in your own strength or are you inviting God to go with you in your daily battles? We need God’s presence for leadership and rest.
Exodus 33:17 sums up the reason for Moses’ effectiveness, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.'” You are God’s favorite child, because of what Jesus did for you. This means, you can be even more effective in prayer than Moses.
Pray now. Pray tomorrow. Pray often. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you for help in your time of need.