Parent Devotion: Covering Our Kids in Prayer
Despite being proud as parents of kids who are growing up, there’s almost always a heartache that comes along from watching them leave the nest and learn to fly.
- Sometimes the heart ache comes from feeling a growing distance from them and yearning for connection.
- Sometimes the heartache comes from feeling helpless and worried about the world they’re entering, the challenges they’re facing or the choices they’re making and wanting to protect them and guide their path.
- Sometimes the heart ache comes noticing the emptiness in the house and simply missing them in our day-to-day existence.
For me, it’s a combination of all of these things that makes me burst into tears in the cereal aisle of the grocery store the day after my college kids go back for second semester.
Related: The Difference in the Second Semester Goodbye
Recently I bumped into a friend (just a few minutes after my melt down in the grocery store.) She had also just dropped her son off at college for spring semester, and we chatted about our mutual and mysterious feelings of melancholy that had resurfaced in their departure.
“Let’s go get coffee and pray for our kids,” she suggested.
Never one to turn down an excuse for lingering at Starbucks, I agreed and we headed out on what I discovered was truly a mama mission.
I learned that she was a true prayer warrior—someone who didn’t just fit prayer into her day when it was convenient or urgent—but rather someone who fit the day in around her prayer.
As we huddled over our coffee, we took turns praying and interceding on behalf of own kids, and for each other’s kids. Words tumbled from my heart that I hadn’t even known how to articulate before this moment. And a feeling of peace and the presence of the Holy Spirit slowly seeped into my soul.
It's comforting to know that wherever we are gathered and praying, Jesus is in our midst: "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:19-20).
An hour later I was pulling into my driveway, and instead of usual feeling sadness wash over me in the emptiness of my home, I felt a deep sense of empowerment and connection. I realized God was present with my kids—and also present with me—and somehow in my time of prayer the distance between all of us was erased.
And I also knew I was still able to do one of the most important jobs a parent can ever do for their kids, which is cover them in prayer.
They were grown and gone, as were the days of bedtime prayers together as I tucked them into bed.
But my yearning to nurture them and cover them in my love and God’s embrace could continue through a mother’s prayers.
And they would never outgrow the need.
One of the most active roles a parent can continue to play in their children’s lives is through prayer. Regardless of the distance of years or miles, our love—and God’s love—endures forever. Continuing to place our kids before God and his will is a powerful way to remember that we’re not alone and neither are our kids.
Read and reflect on the following Bible verses
"He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Romans 8:26-27
Sometimes we can get into a rut by turning to God with a laundry list of requests to present in prayer. (Especially when we’re concerned about a certain situation with our kids.) As our kids’ lives get more independent and distant from our own, it can be tough to sometimes even know what specifically to pray for!
Consider this: cover your kids in prayer by entering into a conversation and asking the Holy Spirit to intercede on your behalf to reach for words unformed and for needs unknown—simply seeking God’s will and presence for your kids. Trust in the greatness of his love for them, and for his plan and purpose to unfold in their life.
Prayer prompt: “Heavenly Father, today I’m bringing my child to you whom you love with a greatness even beyond my comprehension. I’m standing in the gap on their behalf—asking for your presence to be known, your love to be felt, and your will to be done in their life. I invite the Holy Spirit to intercede in my silence and petition for needs I may not know, but that I offer to you in accordance of your will.”
Up for a Challenge?
Reach out to other parents who are in the same season of life with kids leaving the nest, and initiate an invitation to pray together. Perhaps it might be a one-time gathering to cover your kids in prayer as they head off at the beginning of each semester, or perhaps it will become a consistent occurrence to come together on behalf of your kids. Regardless, you’ll be making an impact on their life through prayer, and you’ll remember that you are not alone in this!
By Kami Gilmour, mom of 5 teen and young adult kids. She's the author of a best-selling book Release My Grip, Hope for a Parent's Heart as Kids Leave the Nest and Learn to Fly.