Today’s book review…. Praying Cirlces around your Children by Mark Batterson
If there are two topics that make me feel like a “loser” (with my hand on my forehead in the shape of an L), it would be child rearing (especially teens) and prayer. So it’s only fitting to read a book about praying for your children to show me just how “not up to par” I am. Right? Just kidding…. kind of.
In fact, every time my husband prays that we will be Christ-like (aka Lord, please prune us and help us grow to be more like you…) I remind him that Christ did not have children or teenagers. To which my husband replies, but those are tools that God uses as part of the pruning process. So, now I see my children as a pair of tree trimmers. How sweet and cuddly is that?
So anyway, this is a must read book. It’s short, sweet, and under $3. I especially found it encouraging because it said out loud certain things that I’ve only thought in my head or maybe had the nerve to tell my BFF. Which also reminded me that I am not alone in the frustrations associated with raising kids. Yep, we are all in this together. If you’re not there yet, just give it some time.
And I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t pray about things, I just want them fixed. For example, when I drop food on the floor, I don’t pray that the Lord will give me the patience to deal with my clumsiness, patience to handle living with a dirty floor, or pray that a miracle will occur and God will magically clean the floor for me. I get a paper towel and clean the floor myself. Likewise, in parenting, I tend to disregard praying for certain things because they need action. Like pick up your shoes and start your homework. How hard is that? Well, I’ve learned that some things are apparently just a lot more difficult for some LOL. And the only way I’ll ever survive is with God, prayer, patience, exercise, alone time, and cuddling my cute little dog doesn’t hurt either.
A few of my favorite book quotes by Mark Batterson are:
You’ll make a lot of mistakes. You’ll lose your patience. You’ll lose your temper. You might even lose your mind a time or two. If you feel like a failure at the end of most days, welcome to my world.
Parenting is the hardest thing you’ll ever do… it is spiritually, emotionally, and relationally taxing. And this challenge is multiplied for parents of children with special needs (and 4 of our 6 have had some type of special needs assistance throughout this journey including strokes/brain injury, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia & learning disabilities).
For the record, I don’t love my kids equally. No parent does. I love them uniquely.
To pray or not to pray – these are the only options.
Prayer is the way we take our hands off and place our children in the hands of God.
You can’t choose Christ for your kids but you can pray that they choose Christ.
It’s not praying for; it’s praying through. (Which reminds me that my trust in God is reflected most in how I behave while I’m waiting for a breakthrough. Faith is believing in the unseen is it not? We cannot allow our circumstances to steal our peace and joy!)
Prayer is the way we fight our battles.
Prayer is the way we write the future.
You need to speak words of comfort and encouragement to your children…. When you catch them doing something right, reinforce it. (Which reminds me – I heard that it takes 7 positive reinforcements to counteract each negative one. Yikes!)
Part of your role as prophet-historian … (I liked just chewing on that part for a few minutes).
And the most convicting sentence – drum roll please. “…you may even have to agonize in prayer for them like Jesus did in Gethsemane. This kind of prayer is part of parenting. You’ve got to pray the price…”. (But yes, I did need that gentle reminder that I have GOT to do better in that area.)
The book also gave great advice and suggestions that hubby and I intend to begin doing effective immediately. Well, after we have our family meeting this morning about manners and what constitutes appropriate body language (i.e. eye rolling, deep sighs and making loud grunting noises does NOT). Then we are going to begin making our prayer lists for each individual child, carving out prayer time on our daily schedule, seeking clarification and revelation about a vision for each child, and making our scripture cards to “circle” them in prayer while standing on a promise of scripture.
Two thumbs up on this book. Great practical advice. Loved it! You must buy it.