“What about your struggles with math?” I asked my son.
As part of a bible lesson on prayer, his task was to write a list of specific petitions to bring to God. So far he had written the names of people in his life who need salvation as well as his desire to grow in obedience to God.
He looked at me doubtfully.
“God cares about you learning your multiplication tables too. You can ask him for help for anything, both big and small,” I told him.
It’s not just a lesson my son’s learning though. Bringing all things to God in prayer is something I struggle with, especially when it comes to my children. I’ve always prayed for them, but most of my prayers have been for immediate concerns, such as their health and safety. I’ve also prayed for my patience in discipline and for their faith and growth in Christ.
But the longer I’m a parent, the more I realize just how dependent I am upon God in raising my children. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” In his famed work, Desiring God, John Piper describes prayer as utter dependency on God:
Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need. Prayer humbles us as needy, and exalts God as wealthy.
In our culture, an independent spirit is prized. But in the biblical economy, dependence is what produces fruit. When it comes to parenting, I tend to rely on books, strategies, and advice from others more than I rely on the grace of God. It’s usually only after those strategies fail that I turn to God in prayer. Yet God wants me to come to him in humble reliance, trusting him to help me with all aspects of raising my children, the big and small.
In fact, Jesus said to come to him like a child (Matthew 18:3). A child is completely dependent upon their parent’s for food, shelter, love, security — everything. Just as my own children depend upon me to meet their needs, I need to depend upon my Father in all aspects of parenting. The more I admit my weakness and helplessness, the more God strengthens me with his grace. And the more I abide in him through prayer, the more fruit I see growing in the lives of my children.
My son and I are learning together to depend on God for help in all things. After my conversation with him, we began praying for his struggles to learn his math facts. As he continues to improve, I’ve pointed out to him the way God is working through his prayers. With my own prayers, I too am bringing to God every care and concern about my children. Because as I’ve learned, God wants us to depend on him in all things — both the big and small.
Christina Fox (@toshowthemjesus) is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at To Show Them Jesus and on Facebook.