Newborn photo by Rachel Yearick at rachelyearick.com
"And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7
There are so many important prayers we should be, and can be, praying over our children. I pray for their safety, for their security, for freedom from fear, that they feel loved and accepted, for their friendships and for their relationships with their siblings and us as their parents.
I pray for their emotions and that they have a sound mind grounded in the Truth of Christ. My husband and I have taken oil and prayed over our children's rooms; that nothing would be allowed in that is of the devil. We pray for the breaking of strongholds in our lives, that they wouldn't affect our children, and for strongholds to not spring up in their lives. I mean, the list is endless!
I think the absolute most important job as a parent is praying for our kids. We can read every parenting book on the planet, but unless we are rooted in Christ with the Bible as our guide, praying for them and ourselves, our efforts will be futile.
Praying For Our Children Daily
When I first had Skylar 3 years ago, I bought The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. It's a fantastic book, and one I recommend that every parent has in their arsenal! There are 32 chapters in the book, and the first chapter is beginning with praying for me as the parent, that I would become a praying parent.
I believe praying that for myself has made a huge difference in being receptive to the words God wants me to pray over my kids. Learning how to pray for our kids first starts in us being malleable and teachable in the ways of the Lord.
I also love that each chapter focuses on a different area in our kids' lives that we can be praying for. It's not an accident that she does her chapters so that we can be praying each day for a new topic, effectively covering them in prayer every single day of the month throughout the year.
But, there is one prayer that I started praying for my kids that stands out above all others. It has not only shown me that they are grasping who Jesus is, and that Jesus is teaching their hearts in ways I don't even realize, but this prayer has also humbled me when my daughter has spoken Truth back to me.
The Number One Prayer
Of all the prayers I pray for my children, the prayer for wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of Christ is my number one prayer. I want them to grow in their faith and knowledge of Jesus.
The most important thing we can do is teach them about Jesus, what His death on the cross did for us and how we are redeemed through His death and resurrection. I want them to know wisdom. To have understanding that is beyond human comprehension.
Wisdom is a gift, but when it's paired with understanding in how and when to use that wisdom, it is life-giving. I want them to have an understanding of the wisdom God has given them, that their spiritual eyes would be opened to Jesus. So I pray Ephesians 1:17-18 over my children every night before bed.
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" Ephesians 1:17-18
I pray this verse over myself and Mikael too. In fact, I have it written on a notecard in my Bible, and every time I open my Bible, I pray this over our family.
How God Gives Wisdom To Our Children
I started praying Ephesians 1 over my kids sometime this spring, after listening to a sermon about why this is such an important prayer for us as Christians. Just like most prayers we pray, we almost never see how it's actively working or affecting our lives for many months, or even years. It takes time for prayer to cultivate in our hearts.
When we plant the seeds of a new prayer, and water it by praying that prayer over and over, it takes hold and roots begin to grow. But just like a real plant, it takes awhile for those roots to deepen and for the plant to sprout forth above ground. All that to say, it was probably 5 or so months before I saw the fruit of this prayer taking place.
One particular afternoon, I was having a challenging day with my kids. Both of the twins were going through a developmental leap, and on top of that, they were both teething and working on getting some molars through. So, to say they were whiny for most of the day, would be an understatement. By the time I got them down for a nap and sat down with my daughter, I was spent. I was emotionally and physically spent. I don't say that as an excuse for what happened next with my behavior, but to give context for the day as a whole.
I made my daughter and myself lunch, and we sat down together. Part way through she decided she didn't want her lunch anymore. She started demanding a different lunch. I explained that no, I wasn't making her a different lunch, because I had already given her a choice and she didn't choose that option when she had a choice.
She got angry with me, and flipped her plate up. Peanut butter and jelly flew all over the kitchen, and y'all, I was pissed. It had been a tough morning, and my daughter could feel it.
In that moment, I angrily told her to clean it up, and we were done. I put her in time-out and left the room to take a breather. Before I left the room, I looked back at her one last time, and there was anger in my eyes, and she felt it when I looked at her. Her little face fell and I know she could feel how upset I was. I'm definitely not proud of losing my temper, or the anger that she felt.
I went back to where she was in time-out after I had cooled down and prayed over the situation. I sat down next to her and she looked up at me and said "Mommy has evil anger in her eyes, it makes me sad." Oof.
I felt like I had been sucker-punched in the gut. In my spirit, the Holy Spirit confirmed what she had said. There had been evil in my anger toward her. I hugged her and apologized for my behavior in my anger, and we talked about her behavior and how she had acted. I used that moment to speak to her about how what I did was wrong, and what she did was wrong. It was a definite teaching moment, and I believe I was the one being taught.
I wasn't really sure what to do with that knowledge when she spoke those words to me in that moment. She had spoken wisdom to me, and I realized immediately that the Holy Spirit had given her a special discernment regarding my behavior and my anger.
I think she saw something in the spiritual realm. Am I certain of that? No, but there was something in the way that she said it, and the way the Holy Spirit confirmed her words to me internally. I knew there was evil surrounding my anger that day.
For a few weeks after, that day swirled in my mind and I prayed about it and talked with the Lord about it. I received a visual picture from the Lord while I was in church one Sunday, showing me the stronghold anger has had on my family for many generations.
In the Spirit, I saw my grandmother, and her anger toward my father. I saw my father in turn, choosing not to break that cycle of anger when he accepted Christ, but instead gave in to the spirit of anger over and over. I remember being on the brunt end of angry words many times while I was growing up.
In that moment in church, I realized that this stronghold was a generational one, cursing my family line. I saw what my daughter had seen that day, that a spirit of anger sometimes took over and spewed hatred through me. I saw that there was a line from my grandmother, connecting to my father, which connected to me, and I realized in that moment that if I did nothing, if I sat aside, it would connect from me to my children as well.
I Refuse To Do Nothing
As soon as the Lord gave me that vision while we were worshipping in church, I realized what needed to happen next. I began praying. I prayed that the blood of Jesus would cover this generational chord connecting back to my ancestors, and that it would be broken. I prayed that the stronghold Satan had had on our lives, would be demolished into fine dust.
I saw myself in the Spirit, picking up the Sword, and using the Truth of God's Word to bring down this demonic scheme. Ephesians 6:10-18 came to my mind and realized how I needed to pray.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Anger is nothing more than a demonic ploy; just like alcoholism, or pornography, or pride, or depression, or fear, or bitterness. That is not to say that it isn't damaging or that it isn't powerful. It absolutely is. But when our eyes are opened to the ways of the devil, the tools he is using to bind us, then we can deal with it using the weapons that God has given us.
However, our eyes need to be opened to the lies first. God used my little girl to open my eyes and truly see the generational curse for what it really is; a Satanic tool to keep me bound in a stronghold. The devil is hoping I do nothing to combat his fiery darts, and that I pass that anger on to my children.
So, That Day, I Prayed
I took up the sword of the Spirit, and I recognized, I am a daughter of the King. I have been given all power of heaven and earth to combat the lies of the enemy, and the evil one. I am no longer a slave to my anger!
While the worship surrounded me and God's people sang his praises, I prayed in my heart, that the generational curse of anger that had been in my family line for (I don't know how long) would be broken that day right then and there.
I prayed the blood of Jesus and His finished work at the cross would cover me, my children, and my family, and I told the spirit of anger it was no longer welcome in my home. I would not give it any more energy or attention, for I have been set apart by God, made righteous by the death of His son. I declared myself set free from the bondage of anger.
Friends, we have been given every spiritual blessing that exists in the heavenly realms because of Christ! (Ephesians 1:3) So we must walk worthy of our calling! What does that mean? It means to take up the Sword of the Spirit.
All that means, is that we wage war against darkness using the Word of God. We don't have to come up with fancy or eloquent speech, or worry that don't have the words to say. God has given us every single word we could ever need in His Word.
He has given us the power to stand strong against the evil one, if we will simply use His Word to wage the war. I didn't use my words, I used the Truth of God's Word to declare that this Satanic stronghold no longer had power over me, and I declared the blood of Jesus over myself, my family, my anger, my situation, and over this stronghold.
When we wage war like this, the devil has no choice but to flee. The blood of Jesus and His finished work sets us free!
I don't know if that was the end of the war or not, but I will be using the same tactics if that evil anger comes into my heart again. Before my eyes betray what my heart feels, I will be waging war against the principalities of darkness and against the schemes of the devil.
Anger is not welcome here any more. I don't care how many times I need to pick up the Sword and remind myself of my standing in Christ to pull this stronghold down; it is worth it to break the bondage for future generations.
Let Us Not Be Too Proud To Learn From The Weak
I have never seen myself as "mighty" in the way the world values might. Maybe it's because I'm so short that I don't view myself that way 😉. But in the eyes of my daughter, I am mighty, and she is weak. And yet, God used the "weak" things of this world to take down my might. (1 Corinthians 1:27)
He used my little girl to humble me. I pray I never become so proud, that I am beyond being humbled by the "weak". I pray that I remain teachable, no matter who is the one doing the teaching. For when I am weak, then I am made strong.
"And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
My weakness, my anger, became the catalyst and reason for me waging war against this stronghold. In that moment, I fully understood this verse in Corinthians. I fully realized that only Christ, his power, his grace, would defeat the schemes of the devil, and I used the Word of God, to confound Satan and his demons.
Anger is nothing more than a demonic spirit, and what power does it have over Christ and His sanctifying blood that washes me clean? Who can come against the power of God and His Might?? Nothing I say! Nothing can stand when God is on our side!
So pick up the Sword of the Spirit! Whatever you are wrestling with today, tell that thing who you are! You are made righteous by the power and blood of Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:17) You are sanctified and made perfect in the beloved!
I promise you, that you will taste and see the goodness of the Lord as your enemies flee and strongholds come crumbling down. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can stand against the Word of God. Whatever you are dealing with today, find your verse, or verses, that you can hold onto.
God has already given you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, just for believing in Him and accepting His Son's death as Truth! So grab on to your blessings. Tell yourself over and over, that by His stripes you are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) Whatever you need from Him, talk with Him, and then declare His Word over your life and situation. He tells us over and over in His Word that He is our God. We need to pick up the Sword and act like He is our God.
Oh, How Jesus Loves His Children!
When Jesus walked on this earth He used little children to illustrate over and over how we should be and act as Christians. Little children have no pretenses when they approach Him, they just come! They come just as they are, and they don't pretend to be something they are not. They know God loves them for who they are, not because of what they do, or how they behave, or how they act.
Jesus tells us to be like them. He uses them to teach us that when we are made least, then we will be great. Not that we will be great in and of ourselves, but that in us becoming less, then He can become MORE.
As we die to ourselves, as each part of ourselves becomes burned in the fire, or is put to death by the Sword of Truth, or is laid at the feet of Jesus and left there, more of Him fills our beings making us whole and Holy. So as we become least, he becomes great in us. His greatness fills us and shines from us.
Paul said he takes pleasure in His weaknesses. I don't think I'm at a place yet where I can say I take pleasure in my weaknesses, but I pray some day I will be. What I do know, is that I experienced a true joy in my Spirit in that church service as part of my self died to make way for a new creation in Christ to rise up.
Leading up to that day though, I was very aware of my weakness, and I did not enjoy it. I was humbled by my daughter, but I am thankful that I kept pressing into God and I didn't ignore the teaching He had for me. I know that in my prayers, strongholds are crumbling around me, and Satan no longer has a hold on my anger like he once did. I see anger for what it really is, a demonic tool. But I see myself made righteous through Christ (Romans 3:22), and now I can all the more boldly declare that in my weakness, I am made strong!
The next time an evil spirit with it's angry ideas and words comes at me, (if it even dares to 😉), I will wage war by picking up the Word. I know how much damage the fiery darts of the evil one can do to us as humans, I can only imagine what the cleansing water of Jesus' blood and His Word do to those who come against us.
I don't know how much God's Word stings or hurts the devil, but I know this, his fire is put out when we speak the Truth, and Satan doesn't hang around long when we wage war. That which is in us, is greater than that which is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
So pick up God's Word my beloved! And let's wage war and not only act like the daughters and sons we are, but possess the inheritance we have received through Christ.
God declares that we are joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). That means, we are a royal priesthood and kings! (Revelation 1:6) When a priest prays, heaven hears and mountains are moved. When a king commands, people jump to do their bidding. God says that we are as His Son is, let's walk in our inheritance and break down those strongholds.
As always, I'm ready to pray for you and jump into the battle with you. We're all in this together!