When to stop praying for our kids

Sep 13, 2016 by

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“I’ve quit praying for my kids,” she said. “It’s no use. God hasn’t answered my prayers, so there’s no use in keeping on. If I’m honest,” she continued, “I have to say that I’m kind of mad at God right now because he hasn’t answered my prayers.”

So how long do we pray for our kids? Once they’re out and on their own, is it time to stop?

Maybe they’ve settled in another community and have jobs of their own. Possibly they are no longer dependent on us. It seems they no longer need (or want) our advice.

Besides, they’ve given us heartache and pain, pressure and disappointments. They’ve made their choices and their decisions, and they’re of age. We’ve taught and trained and talked and prayed.

Now it’s time to stop praying because it’s not doing any good. That’s what this mom felt.

After all, God hadn’t answered (or wasn’t answering), so why continue?

It is true that many times the prayers prayed for our kids go unanswered for years. Parents pray and see no light at the end of the tunnel of the choices their kids are making. They see consequences of those poor decisions from years past and there seems to be no turning back now.

I have friends who grapple with the fact that interceding for their children or grandchildren seems to be making no difference. Mothers and grandmothers weep over offspring for years, praying for their loved ones, asking God to change the hearts of their kids or grandkids. Yet sometimes, it seems God is silent. After all, it’s their choice, and we can’t force them to do otherwise.

So then, what’s the use to pray?

Why continue, when the frustration of unanswered prayers reminds us constantly that our prayers are having no effect? Why continue, when it’s just a reminder that God continues to say no to our requests?

Why bother, when a child continues his way to destruction — whether it’s physical or spiritual downfall?

You know the problem? The problem is that we want to see results and we want to see them now.

We think, as parents, we are entitled to have kids who do everything right when we ourselves are imperfect parents. We think, as parents, that we have worked so hard and so long to get the job done, that somehow things must turn out right. God owes that to us!

We forget that God, our true and heavenly Father, was the perfect parent. His children rebelled against him. If those children (Adam and Eve) rebelled against a perfect parent, why do we think ours would incapable of doing the same?

We forget that nearing his “deathbed,” Jesus prayed a prayer (John 17) for his disciples (which includes us). He prayed that God would make them one even as he (Jesus) and the Father are one. He prayed that the disciples would not be taken out of the world, but that they would be kept from the evil that is in the world. He prayed that prayer — not only for those living, but for those disciples not yet born. That’s us. We need to pray the same prayer for our children.

We forget that the Holy Spirit continues to draw and bring conviction (John 6:44) — even when it seems nothing is happening. When it appears that all is lost and that choices are being made that will make the spiral go deeper, we forget. Even then, the Holy Spirit is there — bringing conviction and calling their names.

Oh, how we forget. We cannot see behind the scenes of the spirit world. We can’t take the pulse of the inner workings of the hearts of our children and grandchildren. When we don’t see anything happening, we assume nothing is happening.

So we give up. We feel it’s no use. We don’t feel like talking to God because he should be changing things and people — and it doesn’t seem that he is. Nothing is happening in spite of all our prayers. So we just quit praying. We quit storming the gates of heaven. We quit claiming his promises. We quit praying Scripture back to God. We give up.

Biblically speaking, we are called to continue in prayer — always. We are called to pray without stopping (1 Thess. 5:17). We are called to bombard the gates of heaven in prayer.

We have only one choice. We need to pray and never stop (Romans 1:9).

Our perseverance proves our faith — or lack of it. Our persistence proves our love — or lack thereof.

When it seems like nothing is happening, realize that something is. God is always working. His Spirit continues to draw even though it might seem as though nothing is happening.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t stop.

There’s never a time when it’s time to stop praying for our kids.

Gert Slabach is a member of Faith Mennonite Church in South Boston, Va., which is part of Mountain Valley Mennonite Churches. She blogs at My Windowsill, where this post first appeared.


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