I’m raising two rough and tumble, loud, aggressive, highly physical boys—and I affectionately refer to them as . . .
You know, the ones that often end up with letters behind their names like ADD, ADHD, or ODD? Some days I look at other boy moms raising quiet boys, and wish for days that aren’t so loud, hearts that acquiesce, a little more go with the flow, and a little less dig their heels in the ground. I would love just a few hours of less dramatic reactions to their problems—a day or two of having builders instead of crashers, tossers instead of throwers, hand shakes instead of tackles, and pouting instead of hitting.
At my website for mothers of boys, The MOB Society, we see it all the time—boy moms worn down from trying to raise godly men. I’m convinced that 99% of our moms come to us because they don’t have a clue what to do with their sons. Our culture is quick to label, quick to judge, and slow to give grace to boys who are more hyper, less focused, and generally harder to handle than the rest. We’re overwhelmed by the letters behind their names, and weary from worry.
I believe the most important way we can help our hard-to-handle boys, is by focusing less on the letters assigned to them by others, and more on the ones we pray for them.
The most important letters
A few months ago I was having one of the worst days I can remember with my sons. Their hearts seemed far from me and far from God. I was losing it, so I sent them to their rooms for a cool down period. As doors slammed, and voices screamed, “You’re so mean!” I sank to my knees on the stairs, put my head in my hands, and prayed, “Help me Jesus! I can’t do this without You. Please take my heart and theirs. Fill us up with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Thank You for coming when I call. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
I began praying Scripture over my boys when they were very little. Since then, it has become quite a passion of mine. I love to take the Word and wash it over my boys in prayer, substituting their names in when I can, and asking the Lord to bring it to fruition in their lives. That day, on the stairs of our home, I pondered the incredible access I had to the God who bends down to listen (Psalm 116:2, NLT), and wondered why it had taken me so long to pray for His help. I walked up the remaining stairs to our boys’ rooms, sat down in the hallway, placed my hands on their door frames, and began to pray the Scripture-based prayers I had made for them years ago.
“Lord, You alone change hearts of stone, to hearts of flesh. Place Your Spirit within my children and cause them to walk in Your statutes and to be careful to obey Your rules. For You know the plans You have for them; plans to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them a future and a hope. Let them fear You Lord, and thus have a foundation for wisdom and a heart for instruction. Let them receive wisdom and incline their hearts to understanding. Help them not to lean on their own limited understanding, but in all their ways to acknowledge You so that their paths will be straight . . .”
As I poured out my heart an amazing thing happened: my faith in the One who loves my boys more than I do, who died to set them free from sin, was restored. I took my eyes off of my ability to change their hearts and placed it back on the only One who truly can.
Maybe our boys will end up with letters assigned to the end of their names, but I firmly believe the letters (and numbers) their mamas pray for them each day will matter more in the end.
(The letters I prayed for my sons that day include: Ezekiel 36:26-27, Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 2, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 1:3, Psalm 91, Galatians 5:16 & 22, Philippians 4:8, Romans 12:2, Romans 12:9-10, Psalm 4:8, and Numbers 6:24).
Brooke McGlothlin MOB Society Editor, writer, word-prayer, photo-maker, and boy-raiser, Brooke is continuously surprised by life. She’s the author of the best-selling eBooks Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most, Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess and creator of the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge.