How Prayer Can Help Parents Let Go Gracefully

The Firsts Lesson

Parents experience many “first” moments that require us to loosen the apron strings: first play date without mom, first day of school, first away camp, first solo bike ride, first sleepover, first date … At each step we allow our children more independence so they can to learn to fly into adulthood healthy and well adjusted.

But if you’re like me, many of those firsts cause great anxiety. I am convinced something will go wrong without me right by their side. By letting them go, we are forced to put our complete trust in God to watch over them, to believe his promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

I don’t know about you, but complete trust scares me because it means I have no control. If trusting in God—the invisible Creator of the Universe—scares you too, how do we banish the fear and instead find comfort in trusting the One who loves our babies infinitely more than we do?

Through prayer.

Praying Parents

Prayer is our way of holding onto our beloveds while letting them go, because the more we pray during those necessary moments of letting go, the more tangible God becomes to us. I believe one of the reasons He calls us to “devote ourselves in prayer” (1 Corinthians 7:5) is to experience Him no longer as an invisible force, but as a mighty and protective Father who watches over His beloveds.

Prayer forces us to give up control and surrender our children to God, to figuratively hand them over and say, “I trust You.”

Prayer engages and involves us in events that in reality are beyond our control. But when practiced consistently, prayer becomes our lifeline to stay attached not only to our children when they are away from us, but also to the One who longs to draw us nearer to him through every experience.

It’s no wonder then that most aspects of our children’s lives—in every stage of development—tend to produce a level of apprehension. God wants us to make prayer a habit, which by definition is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” God never intended for us to let go.

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah beautifully represents the role of a mother. She prayed for her child before he was born, and after being blessed with child, rendered him completely to God. Most of us won’t need to physically turn our children over to someone in the ministry, but we can mimic Hannah’s prayerful dedication on her son’s behalf.

Getting Started

If you aren’t already consistently praying for your child, how do you start?

  1. Search “How to Pray for your child” You’ll find a multitude of websites and articles that show ways for you to cover your child in prayer.
  2. Search Pinterest with “Pray for your kids,” and discover numerous boards with fantastic ideas and how to’s on praying for your children.
  3. Research the numerous books on praying for your children and prayer journals. Find the ones that are best suited for you.
  4. Seek consistent counsel from moms several steps ahead of you. How did they pray for their children and how did their prayers evolve as their kids aged? Have them pray for yours.

Above all, simply begin talking every day to your Father about your children, and remember Hannah’s words, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord” (1Samuel 1:27-28).