I wish I’d read this quote years ago…
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”Anne Frank
She certainly shared a lot of wisdom for her young age … and for someone who never lived long enough to have children of her own.
When I was a young parent and my children were young I believed that good parents had good successful children … that great input always resulted in great outcomes.
I’ve grown up and so have my children.
I’m both older and wiser now than I was then.
And today, as I look around at our peers and their grown children … I can honestly say, “that ain’t necessarily so.”
I’ve known many great parents whose children decided to ignore their parent’s helpful advice and example as they chose to live a more challenging path. Ones that were difficult and sometimes painful for them and for their parents. I now fully believe the truth of Anne’s words.
And I’m sorry. I know that if you are the young parent with young children that’s not very encouraging. But…
I’m not saying you should throw your hands in the air and give up. I still believe parents should give the important job of parenting everything they’ve got.
But I also believe…
That you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. There is no such thing as a perfect parent and there are no perfect children. But you probably knew that already!
We celebrated Mother’s Day a couple of weeks ago and for many it’s a day full of emotions and one of them that rises up often is guilt.
Mom guilt is something that goes with the job. But they’re not completely alone, I believe dads suffer from feelings of guilt, too.
Today I want to encourage you and give you a little of what I believe is helpful advice for being a better parent.
The two most important things to remember as you live out the parenting adventure are:
- Always remember you are covered by God’s grace.
- Pray more than you believe is necessary and then pray again.
And because I believe prayer is the most important part of parenting … I’m sharing a few prayers to help you get started.
Simple Prayers That will Help You be a Better Parent
1. Lord, Thank You for My Children.
Children are a gift from the Lord. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!Psalm 127:3,5
Father, Thank you so much for my children. Help me to celebrate this awesome blessing every day, even the hard days. Help me celebrate each of my children’s unique personality and abilities.
I believe You made them exactly the way You wanted and that You will use them for Your plans and purposes. Thank you. I am humbled that you would entrust these precious children to me. Give me a grateful heart and help me show them and You how thankful I am for them … even when I’m exhausted and having to repeat myself for the millionth time. Thank you for the grace and mercy You show me. Please help me love as You love me.
2. Lord, I want to be a better parent. Please forgive me.
Remember there are no perfect parents or children. Everyone needs forgiveness parents and children. Praise God…
He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.Psalm 103:10–11
Father, please forgive me. I want to guide my children according to Your perfect will but I know I fall short every day.
I lose patience, I get angry, and I miss opportunities to show them Your love. Please help me, Father, I want to honor this awesome responsibility You’ve given me. Help me to be the parent You want me to be … the parent my children need. Help me raise them by Your grace and for Your glory.
Help me ask my children for forgiveness when I hurt them and help me quickly forgive them when they misbehave. We all sin. We all need forgiveness. You say you have removed our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) Thank you for Your merciful forgiveness. Help me forgive as I have been forgiven.
3. Lord, Give me the courage I need today.
Almost every day comes with at least one difficult parenting decision. Ask God for wisdom and courage to obey His will and to encourage your children to do the same.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9
Father, yesterday was hard and today’s not starting out well. It would so much easier if I could just pull the covers over my head and ignore this problem. But my children need me to stand strong on Your truth. They need to be strong and courageous. They don’t always see the potential consequences of their choices. It’s hard to let them try new things. It’s hard to think about the possibility of my children having to live out the consequences of their foolish choices. Please give me the courage I need to remain strong when I’m worn out and hard days continue.
4. Lord, Please help me guide my children with wisdom according to your will.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in GodJames 1:5º6
Father, Please give me the wisdom I need to guide my children according to Your will. I so wish I had an individualized set of parenting instructions. It seems like some things work with one child and they don’t with another. I need Your help. I need to know the wise thing to say and do with each of my children. I want to parent these wonderfully made gifts You’ve given me well, not for me but for their good and Your glory. Amen.
5. Lord, Please help me parent my child with patience.
Parents and children need patience and goodness, it’s easy to run short of it in the moments when we need it most.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.Romans 15:5
Father, I need patience and I need it right now!
I’ll admit that I sometimes pause before asking for patience because I really don’t want any more challenging learning opportunities to put it into practice. I just want You to magically give me all that I need today and again tomorrow … the next day would be good too.
Please help me remember that You are always with me and that You are willing to give me all I need. You say You are willing to help me carry my burdens … even impatience. You even say that the Spirit is able to give me the patience I need to love my child well. Please help me. Make me slow to anger and remind me pause and laugh as often as possible.
6. Lord, Fill our home with respect and kindness.
We all want peace-filled homes and need God’s help to make speaking with kindness and respect a priority.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.Colossians 3:!2
Father, forgive me for the times I’ve allowed snarkiness in my home. Especially my own. Please help me measure my words and speak with respect to my spouse and my children. Please help us remember how we honor and glorify You when we show kindness, humility, mercy, and patience.
By Your grace, please help me model this for my children and lovingly remind them when they forget. May we faithfully love each other as You have loved us with Your help and for Your glory.
7. Lord, Fill our home with peace, joy, and love.
A happy loving family. Everyone wants one … we need God’s help to fill our homes with His peace, joy, and love.
Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.2 Corinthians 13:11
Father, Fill our home with joy. Help us remember and celebrate Your many blessings … big and small. You have been so good to us.
We surrender ourselves to You and ask You to give us all we need. Please bless us with the gift of contentment. Please help us to keep our focus on You … to SEEK You and Your Kingdom above everything and anything else. May we faithfully study Your Word, join together in prayer, and worship and praise You for who You are and all You’ve done. Your grace is sufficient for our every need. May Your love be the foundation of our home. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
If you want to be a better parent – PRAY!
Friend – parenting is an adventure. Anyone who has been a parent for more than 30 seconds, knows it can feel like you’re traveling an unknown journey with a surprise around every corner.
And from someone who has traveled the unexpected and emotional highs and lows of parenting, I’d like to tell you the one thing I wish I’d done more along the way…
While I prayed a lot … I wish I had prayed more!
You just can’t possibly pray too much for those precious gifts God has entrusted to your care.
I’m praying for you today and asking God to bless your family … to fill Your home with His love, to cover you with His grace and help you live each day for His glory.
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