Shoot High in Prayer
Glynnis Whitwer

"'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.' And he worshiped the LORD there." I Samuel 1:27-28 (NIV)

As a mother of five teenagers, I find my prayers for them have a resounding similarity: "Father, please protect (insert child's name) at (insert location)." I usually elaborate on why that particular child needs protection, and move on to the next request for help.

You might call me a worrier. Statistics don't help to curb my worry. I know that if 99% of people don't get hurt walking to McDonalds, there is 1% that do. And, you guessed it, I'm certain someone I love will be in that 1%.

Over the years, God has addressed this issue in my life, and revealed my lack of faith in His ability to protect. God has also brought miraculous healing over paralyzing fear. Nevertheless, I still found my prayers focusing on keeping my children safe. Until I heard a pastor challenge parents to shoot high for their children in prayer.

It didn't take a detailed self-assessment to realize I'd reduced my prayers to the common denominator of safety. While that is critically important, I realized I had replaced my vision for their futures with worry about their presents. I've been caring for the needs of children for 18 years, and I find myself consumed at times with just making it through the day.

While I know I should be praying for more than that, I sometimes find it hard to rise above the daily needs and routines, and cast a vision for the future. Thankfully, the Bible tells the story of one mother who had a wonderful vision for her child's future. Her name was Hannah.

Hannah's story is told in First Samuel. She was the beloved wife of Elkanah, but she could not conceive a child. Hannah prayed for God to give her a child, and promised to give her child back to the Lord all the days of his life (1 Samuel 1:11). God heard that prayer and promise, and blessed Hannah with a son, whom she named Samuel.

Hannah kept true to her oath to offer her son to the Lord, and after she had weaned him, she took Samuel to Eli the priest for training. Hannah continued to bless her son's calling, and every year made him a linen ephod (robe) and took it to him when she and her husband offered sacrifices.

Hannah could have stopped her prayers at the gift of a baby. Anyone who has ever struggled with infertility knows that it can be all consuming. Yet Hannah wanted more than a baby to treasure and love. Her plan wasn't for a child she could keep to herself. Hannah had a vision for a child who would serve the Lord all the days of his life. God heard and answered that prayer.

Praying like Hannah pushes me out of my routine. Most nights as I fall into bed, I'm thankful my children have made it through another day. I've lost a niece in a car accident, and so I'm particularly grateful for every breath. And yet, I'm missing a powerful opportunity to partner with God for their futures when I stop my prayers at protection.

As we start a new school year, I'm challenged to expand my prayers for my children. I want to re-dedicate my three sons and two daughters to God for His service. I'm committing to pray boldly for God to use them in a mighty way, and for them to be lights in the darkness. Oh, I'll continue to pray for their safety. But I won't stop there. Once I've taken the limits off my prayers, there's no telling what God will do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for inviting me to approach You in prayer. Sometimes I forget that You are willing and longing to do more in my life and the lives of my children. Help me to remove the limits I've put on my prayers and to allow Your Spirit to lead and guide me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
When Your Child is Hurting by Glynnis Whitwer. This is a great resource for ideas on areas in your child’s life that need prayer.

Visit Glynnis’ blog where she shares some ways to pray for our children at the start of school.

Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents by Susanne Sheppmann

Application Steps:
Take a moment and dream about the future for a child you know. It could be your own, a neighbor or someone at church. Don't let "reality" hinder your dream. Now pray for that child, asking God to use him or her.

Reflections:
What limits you from praying bold prayers for others? Or for yourself?

What are some specific things you could begin to pray for a child you know?

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:27, 33, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)

Psalm 103:17-18, "But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children - with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts." (NIV)

© 2010 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could't believe your devotion today...it was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. My son turned 16 a few weeks ago and got his drivers license last friday. Today is the first day he is driving to school alone!!!! I know that God was speaking to me through your devotion. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was just what I needed to hear this morning as I sent my two kids off to a great Christian school for their first day of school. God gently reminds me that it's not just about the daily duties of raising kids but the lifetime of love and service to Him with the precious gifts He has given me. They start out another year of school and I start out another year of dedicating them back to the Lord for His great pleasure. Thank you God for you are good.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you. As always these devotions hit their mark in my heart. As the mother of three and grandmother of eight, I confess I spend a lot of time worrying about safety for this day. As the grandkids start school and my youngest son prepares to deploy with the Marines, I will continue to pray for safety but will add the prayer of growth in their relationship with God and in their service to others in His name.

Anonymous Amy C said...

I loved it and it deeply spoke to my heart of fear and worry.

Thanks so much!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Devotion! One thing I have always done with my kids is pray with them on the way to school. I always ask prayer that God's love will shine through them and that others will see a difference in them. We must clothe our children in prayer everyday.

Blogger Mindy said...

Thank you! I think the start of a new school year always brings up the start of "worry" issues for those of us who are so inclined. I'm trying to do more than "just today" praying - thanks for the encouragement!

Blogger From Tracie said...

Great reminder. Thank you....I think this applies to my husband as well. He works a dangerous job, and after reading this I realized that I spend so much time praying for his safety that I often neglect praying for his other needs.

Blogger Elaine said...

Great reminder to pray big! I once heard Esther Burroughs share how she prayed for her grandson to become the next Billy Graham. Now that's shooting high in prayer. Sadly I'd forgotten that message, so your devotion was a great reminder.

Anonymous Chandler said...

Wow! I truely believe God is trying to tell me something! For two weeks my pastor has preached on "worry" during youth group! And today's devotions had some of the same verses from Matthew that he preached from! God has showed me that I'll be fine as long as I keep my faith in Him! :)

Blogger Leah said...

This was perfectly timed for me. I have twin daughters entering 7th grade, 12 1/2 years old. Monday night we bought them purity rings and have made a pact with them to stay pure before God while they enter these teen years and more trying school days.

I find myself worrying a bit about what will be, but I know I will pray for more than their daily needs now. I will pray that they will be beacons of light in a school that contains so many walking around in darkness.

Thank you for sharing these devotionals!

Blogger JMom said...

What a wonderful post. I am going to link here from my blog.

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