pray for your children
Parenting is not only hard work; it is also an awesome responsibility, terrifying at times. I can still clearly recall the feeling of great panic when I dropped my mother home after we arrived back in Singapore. My month-old baby girl, Ying, was sleeping quietly in her car seat. My mother had been with me all through the last months of pregnancy in Ithaca, New York. She had coddled me after childbirth and helped me with the baby, and now on the doorstep of my parents’ home, she was going to leave me to look after this tiny human being myself! How was I going to feed and care for my baby? Of course I dissolved into floods of tears!
As parents, the realization that we are responsible for the spiritual growth and wellbeing of our children often does not hit until much later. In my case, this occurred after Ying had been joined by a little brother, Neil, and they were eight and five years old respectively. I remember it was Christmas. Instead of our usual Christmas pageant, where all the children dressed up as shepherds and angels to re-enact the Christmas Story, we decided on Christmas Bible readings and carols. I gradually realized that by the time we had come to the last reading of John 1, all the children had quietly disappeared. Suddenly, the loud singing of a Christmas carol was heard from the bedroom – I was horrified that the words were about setting a teacher on fire! I stomped into the bedroom and dragged my sulky offenders back to the living room, after a blistering scolding. My husband and the other parents thought it extremely amusing but I was deeply disturbed in my spirit. What had gone wrong? We had faithfully prayed at bedtime and mealtimes with the children; we took them to Sunday school; we read them bible stories; I prayed for them myself and I knew that my husband prayed for them too. Did they love and fear the Lord? What more must I do in order for them to grow spiritually?
The Lord gave me the answer very clearly in the following week - as I spent time in prayer, I had the picture of a fast-running river with small boats headed towards a waterfall. There were people on the banks throwing ropes to the small boats to pull them to safety. I knew then that the small boats represented the children caught on the river of this world, with its values, computer games and the internet, and that destruction lay ahead if nothing was done to pull them to shore. We had to fight and struggle to pull them to shore. I knew in my heart what I had to do – I had to form a prayer group to pray for the children. We needed to have two or three gather in the name of the Lord. Much shaken by this warning, I immediately called up my good friends from church, mothers of young children, and told them of my vision.
Praying with other Mothers
We met and prayed every week for our children for many years. We prayed for their health, for exams, for problems they were facing. We prayed for good friends, for the Lord to lead them, for spiritual growth. We prayed desperate prayers for ourselves, dealing with the heartache and stress of bringing up children. It was during this time, we joined St. Andrew’s Cathedral and both my children attended Sunday school. Both of them later attended confirmation classes when they reached the age of 14. When each was baptized in the Holy Spirit during the lesson on the Holy Spirit, I knew that the Lord was answering my prayers for their spiritual growth. I was and am so grateful to the Lord for His mercy and grace.
Praying the Word of God
In 2000, my personal prayer life for the children was changed when my dear friend Serene gave me two books, “The Power of the Praying Parent,” and “The Power of the Praying Wife,” by Stormie Omartian. These books have written prayers based on Scriptures that can be prayed every day. As a born-and-bred Anglican, raised on collects and liturgies, this was a great joy because it took all the guesswork out of what and how to pray! What better way than to pray according to His Word.
Praying the Word of God with Mothers
In 2004, the Lord opened yet another door: Lyra from our Bridges worship team, felt led to ask me to mentor a prayer group to pray for children. This resulted in the starting of the Petals Prayer Group Ministry at SAC which collectively prays the Word of God into the lives of our children every fortnight.
I have seen the Lord’s faithfulness in answering our prayers, in the lives of my children. Even more wonderful is that as we intercede for our children, we ourselves draw close to our Heavenly Father and our faith is strengthened as we see how He works.
Author: Mrs Ang Su-Lin (Su-Lin, an intellectual property lawyer, is married to Dennis Ang and they have two children, Ying and Neil. Dennis and Su-Lin are in the Bridge of Judah worship team at the 9 am Sunday Service. Su-Lin is a member of the PETALS [Praying Effectively To Alter Lives] ministry in the Cathedral, a ladies intercessory group praying for children.)
First published in The Courier, April 2010.
Photo: Su-Lin with her husband, Dennis and their two children, Ying and Neil, 2010.