by Tyler Quillet
If you are a dad, there is no doubt you’ve had to watch your child endure difficulty. Sometimes, it’s momentary, while, for others, it’s a life-long struggle. No matter the struggle and no matter the time of endurance, as a dad, it’s heartbreaking. To watch your child struggle is one of the most difficult things a parent can do.
Maybe it’s an illness that has your child and out of the hospital often. Maybe it’s mental illness. Many of you have children with special needs, some needing around the clock attention. Maybe, for your child, it’s anxiety, which can be debilitating at times. For your child, it might be addiction they battle with daily. Or, maybe it’s just one bad choice after another that they seem to make, which has made life increasingly difficult. Maybe it’s a broken relationship or break-up they are experiencing and it has rocked their world. For many, your child is being bullied and the fear of it consumes their day. Others are battling depression. If your child is grown, maybe it’s watching them struggle financially, in their marriage, or as a parent. I’ve only scratched the surface here, but you get the idea, and you’ve pinpointed what it is that your child is struggling with. And, as a dad, it breaks your heart.
So, as any man would do, what’s our first reaction to our hurting children? We try to fix it. That’s not all bad, it’s certainly our natural bent, but it typically doesn’t get anywhere. Why? Because we aren’t really capable of fixing much. I have good news. There is someone who is. Might I encourage us today to run to Jesus with our child’s needs? Here are four things to specifically pray for your kids in the midst of their difficulty..
- Ask God to remind your child of Himself. So often, life’s difficulties create blinders where we, in a way, forget about God. Ask God to make Himself known in your child’s difficult moments. That they’d be reminded of Him, His goodness, and His love for them.
- Ask God to comfort their hurting heart and to overwhelm them with His peace.Whatever difficulty your child is facing, odds are, it consumes their thoughts, which certainly does not bring any sort of peace. Ask the Giver of peace to overwhelm their thoughts and give them the comfort they need in this moment.
- Ask God to give your child His words and His wisdom as they endure this season.Often times, difficulty brings about attitude and decision-making that isn’t honoring to Christ. Ask the Lord to give your child wisdom in this season and that the Spirit would speak to and through them as they respond to their circumstances.
- Ask God, if it is His will, to heal them and/or the situation they are in.This is a hard one. Allow Jesus’ model in the garden to encourage and challenge you here. Jesus asked the Father if there was another way other than the cross. However, He asked that God’s will would be accomplished. Ask God the desires of your heart here, but do so in trust that His will may be (probably will be) different than yours. This is all a matter of trust. As you pray this, remember that He loves your child more than you could ever dream of doing so. You can trust Him, no matter how He may respond.
And, obviously, pray for your own heart as you walk this journey alongside (or maybe from a distance) with your child. Pray Colossians 1:9-14 for yourself, and for your child, that you’d not only grow in this season, but that you’d be fully dependant on Him.
I have seen dear friends over the years walk some difficult miles with their children. Through that time, they were faithful to pray for them. God was faithful to meet them where they were. Did the circumstances immediately change? Not always. However, I watched deepened trust both for parents and children simply by those parents going to the Throne on behalf of their kids. Dad, lead your family in this. The absolute best way you can love and serve your child as they hurt, is to run to Jesus. He’s got this. How do I know? I live each day with a child facing extreme difficulty. I live each day with a broken heart over what my 6-year-old son must endure, and I can’t fix it. Jesus has been faithful to us, and He will be to you as well. I promise!