As homeschool parents, we “sacrifice” quite a bit. Putting aside our career, doing without luxuries, living on one salary, or giving up some hobbies is not considered unreasonable because we know our primary task as parents is to raise our children to know, love, and serve the Lord. But what if it is all in vain? What if we work hard at growing, maturing, and educating our children only to find we’ve missed one necessary ingredient in this process? Wouldn’t that be devastating? Our job is tough—and it cannot be accomplished successfully without prayer.

Prayer is the most important thing you can do for your children. Only God can draw them to Himself. Only He can put loving, caring attitudes within them. Only He can develop their character and lead them to the path for His plan for their lives.

Personal Prayer Time

I know you have a lot to do—and I’m not just talking about the laundry that may be sitting on your dining room table as you read this article. Parenthood is challenging. You need wisdom for everyday decisions, to make the words that come out of your mouth be grace-filled and loving, and to know how to guide your family. So, first off, Mama needs prayer. Do you have some prayer warriors in your life who can uphold you before the Father and fight spiritual battles alongside you? If not, pray and search for one. If you don’t reserve time to pray for yourself, perhaps your first step is to find that special time with the Lord to refuel and refresh you in your daily walk. Your spiritual health will be directly reflected in your children.

In your prayer time, be intentional and specific. You know your children better than anyone other than God. What do they need? Have you noticed your teenager being impatient or your preschoolers squabbling? Pray for each child and his specific needs and attitudes. Ask God to help you address these character flaws wisely. Pray for a heart change. Have you seen them struggling with schoolwork or in relationships? Pray specifically for victories in those areas.

Pray for, and write down a list of, character traits you would like to see in each of your children. Pray for those things to be developing in their lives. Pray for their future spouses, their future jobs, and future families. Make lists of things to pray about for each child and choose a few each day to focus on and pray over.

Low on time? Cultivate a habit of praying while doing dishes, folding laundry, and cooking.

Praying Together

Praying for your children during your prayer time is essential, but just as important is praying with your children and teaching them how to pray. When my children were young, I didn’t like to pray aloud, but I forced myself to, knowing that they needed prayer modeled daily. Praying before meals, when one has a scraped knee, or when someone has hurt feelings is a good way to start.

Another prayer time that is helpful for children is “in the moment” prayers. If your four-year-old throws a temper tantrum, pray for him silently. When he calms down, pray with him over whatever was frustrating. Ask God to help him have patience. If you catch your eight-year-old in a lie, pray together that God would help her stand up against temptation and tell the truth. Ask her to pray, confess her sin, and ask for forgiveness. These types of encounters can be brief. Sometimes sending a child off to pray on his own can be helpful, too, especially if the child is angry or argumentative. Ask him to talk to God about his anger or frustration. While he’s gone, pray for him.

Incorporate prayer into your everyday life. Make it a priority before bedtime. Ask your child where he is struggling and how you can pray for him. Encourage him to pray for himself and others. Ask God to show him the result of his prayers.

You are in a war, and so are your children. Your children need a mom to rear them, love them, correct them, and be there for them, but they also need a prayer warrior, someone to teach them how to pray. Some of my most satisfying moments as a mom were when we faced some sort of crisis and I heard one of my children say, “Let’s pray about it.” That makes it all worth it!

Copyright 2019, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.