Mark Batterson wants to be one great parent. It’s the deepest desire of his heart, the greatest challenge of his life. He believes that parenting their three children is far more difficult—and far more important—than pastoring thousands of people. Compared to parenting, every other challenge to Mark is child’s play. At the end of the day, he wants those who know him best to respect him most is his family. And that’s his definition of success. The key? Prayer! It’s a grace to welcome Mark to the farm’s front porch today…
You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent.
No matter how many things you get wrong as a parent, there is one thing you must get right—
and that one thing makes all the difference in the world —
Make sure our Heavenly Father hears about your kids every day!
Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destinies of their children, grandchildren, and every generation that follows.
Our prayers don’t have expiration dates— they don’t die when we do. God will keep answering them long after we are long gone.
My grandfather Elmer Johnson died when I was just six years old, but his prayers did not. Some of the most poignant and providential moments in my life have been the moments when the Spirit of God has whispered to my spirit, Mark, the prayers of your grandfather are being answered in your life right now!
My Grandpa Johnson had a habit of kneeling by his bed at night, taking off his hearing aid, and praying for his family.
He couldn’t hear himself, but everyone else in the house could.
Few things are more powerful than hearing someone intercede on your behalf.
His voiceprint left an imprint on my soul.
I’m trying to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps by getting on my knees and praying next to my bed.
It’s the best way to start the day.
My first thoughts and words are directed toward God. I also pray for my sleeping beauty lying a few feet away.
I realize that not everyone inherited a prayer legacy from their parents or grandparents as I did, but you can leave a legacy for future generations. You can start a new tradition. You can begin a new prayer genealogy.
In Praying Circles Around the Lives of your Children, I share seven prayer habits for parents:
1. Circling the Promises of God
2. Making Prayer Lists
3. Creating Prayer Refrains
4. Praying a Hedge of Protection
5. Forming Prayer Circles
6. Praying Through the Bible
7. Passing on the Blessing.
Let me touch on three of them?
Pray The Promises
If you aren’t sure how to start praying, start with the Bible. It wasn’t just meant to be read, it was meant to be prayed.
And when you pray the word, you can stand on Jeremiah 1:12—God is watching over His word to perform it in the lives of your children.
Here’s an idea: turn the promises of God into prayers for your children. I’ve circled lots of promises over the years, but none more than Luke 2:52. I’ve circled it thousands of times, praying it over the lives of my children:
May you grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with man.
Make a Prayer List
If I don’t have a list, I’m in trouble! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a to-do list, grocery list or prayer list. A list keeps me on task, on time.
Next to my Bible, nothing is more sacred to me than my prayer journal. That’s where I keep my prayer list. It also doubles as my gratitude journal—and I number my gratitudes thanks to Ann!
The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.
If you don’t write down your prayers, you’ll forget. And if you forget what you prayed for, you won’t be able to praise God when He answers them.
Journal like a journalist, because that’s what you are to your children. I have a friend whose father journaled prayers for her without her even knowing it. In fact, my friend didn’t find out about the prayer journals until after her father died.
Those journals are one of her most treasured possessions.
Posterize Your Prayers
Our friends Dennis and Donna, who pastor a neighboring church on Capitol Hill, told us about something God had impressed on them to do for their children.
They identified words that were descriptive and prescriptive of their kids, had these words framed, and hung them on the walls in their rooms. We loved that idea so much that we adapted it for our daughter, Summer.
Prior to Summer’s thirteenth birthday, Lora recruited two of Summer’s aunts to help her come up with a list of nine prophetic words to speak into Summer’s life. Each of them took three words, discussing them with Summer over a special birthday dinner. Then we had a graphic designer turn those nine words into a poster. Each word is rendered in a different font, and these different fonts represent nine different dimensions of her identity, her destiny.
That’s the tip of the iceberg, but let me leave you with one last exhortation.
Rise during the night and cry out.
Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children.
Lamentations 2:19, NLT
Resource: the lamb “He Gently Leads” print from Gracelaced Shoppe
Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church—one church with seven campuses in Washington, DC. His New York Times bestseller, The Circle Maker, has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children—Parker (19), Summer (17), and Josiah (13). They live on Capitol Hill.
In Praying Circles Around Your Children, Mark teaches us how to create prayer lists unique to our family, claim God-inspired promises for our children, turn our family circle into a prayer circle, and discover our child’s life themes. Our prayers have the power to shape the destiny of our children and our children’s children. It’s time to start praying! Highly recommending Praying Circles Around Your Children for every parent.
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership of today’s devotion ]