Preparing for Parenthood
Inspired by Parenting With Purpose & African Wisdom by Gladys K. Mwiti
As many current mothers and fathers would claim, parenting is one of the most terrifying (yet rewarding) journeys of life. From a young age, we are taught to prepare for the future. We go to school to learn how to be as successful as possible in the future. We invest in our future by reading books and watching videos created by people who have walked the path before us. We save money for the future. We make future plans. We center decisions not only around present circumstances, but also future possibilities.
There are plenty of ways to prepare for parenthood. There are thousands of parenting books, classes, videos, seminars, etc. that are chopped full of useful information about the stages and process of parenting. There are products available for purchase that are specifically designed to make parenting easier. There are mentorship programs that pair an experienced couple with an expecting couple in hopes of easing the anxiety that often comes with first-time parenting. However, the most important aspect of preparation for parenting is often pushed to the side in light of more “helpful” resources that seem to provide a sense of immediate relief and accomplishment: prayer.
Prayer in Christ-centred parenting is irreplaceable. No African proverb will ever fully capture the true definition of proper parenting because it doesn’t exist. There’s no right or wrong way to parent because there is no room for opinion. There is THE way and that’s God’s way. Where African proverbs fail, what the Holy Bible says about biblical parenting will always work within God’s Will for his glory. Although the Bible is not a “How to Parent for Dummies” manual, it is full of commands for Christ followers. Jesus said, “WHEN you pray”, not IF you pray (Matthew 5:6a). Therefore, prayer is necessary for biblical parenting. Here are five reasons why:
- Prayer exceeds any wishes, hopes, dreams, etc. that you may have for your child. If you were given the chance to see your child’s future displayed before your eyes, wouldn’t you take it? Unfortunately, that is not possible due to human finity. We do, however, have the opportunity to be in loving communion with the One who fully knows and holds our child’s future in his hands. We can talk to him and ask him for wisdom and guidance when it comes to our children. After all, he knows best!
- Prayer equals love and stewardship. We pray for someone often because we love and care for them. Praying for our children is one way to express love for the gift that God has given in a child. A child is a big responsibility that God has entrusted to us. By praying for our kids, we are showing responsibility and good stewardship of the heart that we get to disciple on the earth.
- Prayer establishes trust between parents and God before the child’s birth. (1 Samuel 1:27) Once a woman finds out that she is pregnant, both the mother and father immediately develop a deep love for the unborn child. The amount of concern around the baby’s health, development, and birth is immeasurable. Once the child finally arrives, there is nothing that a loving parent wouldn’t do for their baby. Parents are often protective of the child that they spent so long protecting and growing for 9 months. It’s never easy to let go. There is always a sliver of worry in the back of a parent’s mind that something bad will happen, the child won’t make the right choice, and the list goes on. However, beginning to pray consistently before a child’s birth establishes a trust between God and parent that will only grow stronger. Note that in the above verse, prayed is in the past tense.
- Prayer is a habitual posture that the child will observe and adopt as they grow. If we as parents don’t trust God, then we cannot expect our children to do the same. If they don’t see us pray, they will never understand its importance. It has been proven that children copy their parents. So, let us pass on a habit that will not only influence your child’s life, but others as well. We see the current heart state of the world now, but it will only get worse. We have the chance to prepare our children for spiritual warfare from a young age. Prayer produces warriors.
- Prayer is vital for the marital relationship, too. Having a stable, healthy, loving marriage is key is every child’s life. Psychologists and healthcare professionals have seen the daunting effects of an ungodly marriage on a child’s mental and physical health. Prayer is not only necessary for a parental relationship, but also a marital relationship, both of which have full influence on a child. Taking time to pray over and invest in your marriage will set you down the right path when it comes to parenting your children. Praying together builds an unbreakable bond between spouses and God. Decision-making becomes easier when prayer has already been completed.
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