I began to notice a trend in our mornings. After the mumbled good mornings were spoken, one boy would begin telling me about a dream he had. Often this would spark another boy to share his dream. At first, I paid little attention. Until one morning I found my eyes rolling inside my head.
I just wanted to start our school day, but I was listening to details of dreams. They were persistent in sharing with me. Almost as if they couldn’t move on until they got it off their chest. They sensed my impatience as they often began with, “It’s real fast, Mom.”
The day I felt my inner-self exasperated at the chore of listening to dreams, the Lord spoke, and I stopped what I was doing and audibly gasped.
This is what you’ve been praying for.
I immediately began thinking back to what I’ve been praying.
There are certain scriptures I will pray each night before they go to sleep. In addition to scripture, there are specific phrases I pray consistently.
Recently, I read Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson. He termed these types of prayers as prayer mantras. I realized I had a list of prayer mantras. Many were developed from scripture, but some were not.
My Prayer Mantras for our kids:
- Lord, give them a heart like David’s, one who has a heart after your own heart. Give them a spirit like Caleb’s, one that follows you wholeheartedly.
- Lord, tonight may they lie down and sleep in peace, knowing you alone, O Lord, make them dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
- Use them in mighty ways for your kingdom and let them strike fear in the eyes of the enemy.
- Let them determine in their mind and heart to seek You, their God. (1 Chron 22:19)
- Plant your Word deep in their hearts that they might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
- Instruct their hearts with truth even as they sleep. (from Psalm 16:7)
That last one. Instruct their hearts with truth even as they sleep. When they sleep, and their bodies and minds are at rest, I desire that God uses that time to keep speaking to them. When nothing is competing for attention, when nothing distracts, may they lie in sleep and allow God to mold and shape their hearts while instructing their minds and hearts.
God is at work in times and areas we are completely unaware of. Our tendency is to limit what God can do or focus on what we can see.
God is at work deep in the heart. His arms can reach into the places no man’s hands can go. Man can repair a heart and make it function. But God can purify a heart and make it beat with true life again.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
It’s the area we as parents can influence but can’t actually change. However, God can. This type of work happens over time. Often gradually, slowly. If we watch with alert eyes, we can see the changes that happen little bit by little bit.
I think many times we fail to see what God is doing in those deep places because we are looking for the instant gratification of an immediate, miraculous change, a road to Damascus moment.
While that can happen and absolutely does, sometimes what God is doing is massaging a heart. He is softening it. He is growing and stretching them. He is bringing together multiple layers and purposes.
We see mere glimpses of the inner hearts of our children. But if we are praying for God to do the deep heart surgery, we can rest knowing He is at work. Even when we can’t see it.
So maybe we stop and ask God to give us eyes to see glimpses. Maybe we praise Him for the glimpse. Praise Him for the slow work.
Maybe we stop wringing our hands and instead lift them to heaven.
Psalm 134:2 Lift up your hands in the holy place and praise the LORD!
Praising God brings forth the miracles. Try it and wait. Miracles rain from Heaven when a heart turns to praise. Something shifts in the spiritual world.
You see when we praise Him, the miracle first happens in our own lives. Inside of us, in deep crevices, something bursts forth. This is the first miracle.
Andrew hopped himself onto the kitchen counter and began telling me details of a dream. We were all going to a carnival where Andrew had been the day before. He watched as carnival goers followed the carnival workers into games and attractions only to find themselves tricked by their persuasive speech and promises. Once inside the attraction, they never came out again. Andrew saw the true colors of these workers and had warnings for the rest of us.
As we all arrived at the carnival, he begged and pleaded with us not to fall for the deception. He urged us to trust him that these people weren’t who they said they were. In his dream he said he warned over and over again that while they said the right things and put a big smile on their face, they were really tricking people to get them to follow them. And once they went with them they never returned.
Only days before Andrew shared this dream, another boy heard in a dream to “Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
And another son that same week had a very detailed dream. He and one of his brothers were martyred in Rome by being thrown out of a window. In the next scene they stood in Heaven and he watched Jesus approach each person who stood at the gate. He said he saw Bible greats like David and he was so excited to see them. He watched Jesus approach his brother and tell him well done. He watched his brother enter the gates of heaven. Then Jesus went to another man to deliver the message that he wouldn’t be entering heaven. The man began to plead and explain that ‘he didn’t know’. The man held up a Bible and said, “I had the wrong Bible. I didn’t know.”
After hearing all of these dreams in the span of days, I saw instruction that could be taken and applied. I saw themes of wisdom and deception. After putting the three dreams together, I landed at Matthew 7:14-16.
14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME
While I don’t know exactly what all these dreams might mean, what I do know is they are a sampling of many others they have shared with me. Dreams that hold Biblical applications the boys could apply.
I believe God placed in their hearts the desire to share many of these with me as a reminder that I often pray and forget I’ve even prayed the very things God is doing.
The Lord reminded me that He is speaking to my kids at times and in ways I cannot. And He is speaking to me through my kids. He’s got us in His hands.
I can trust my kids to the Father who created them and will never leave or forsake them.
I can trust Him to change hearts like water to wine.
I can trust Him to feed their 5,000 needs out of the crumbs I see with my eyes.
I can trust Him to open their eyes so that they see how many are on their side.
I can trust Him to take their sin and wash them clean.
I can trust Him to use them in ways I’m too fearful to fathom.
I can trust Him to mend and repair the pains created when He rips the weeds from their hearts.
I can trust Him to fix what is broken.
I can trust Him to part the Red Sea and make their impossible way miraculously possible.
And I can trust Him to do what ONLY He can do.
Trusting God is a choice. Today I choose trust.
When I choose trust, I choose freedom. I choose rest. I choose to release anxiety and let it go back to hell where it came from.
God has given me a choice. I can choose to trust Him with my children. Or I can white knuckle through our days. I’m running to Him. It’s a choice.
And when I tuck my body tightly under His Wings, I whisper these words. God, I choose to trust You. If you are holding me this tight and secure, I believe you are doing the same for my kids. I’m asking for miracles to rain down on my kids. Miracles that leave them speechless before a Holy God. And Lord, like I pray for my kids, I pray the same for me. I declare the truth of your Word that I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. I can rest because I’ve chosen to trust you with every second of the lives of my children. Even their sleeping moments that I thought went unused and wasted. You waste nothing. I praise you for you are the God who speaks. May we have ears to hear you speaking.