By Matt Haviland, Crosswalk.com
Words fall utterly short on how important it is for parents to spiritually lead their children—whether they live with us full-time or not. Praying for your children’s stepparent may or may not be easy to apply in your own life, but the long-term blessings can have tremendous impact on the raising of your son or daughter. Here are some examples of how you can pray—on your own and with your children:
Let me start off by saying each point below may not apply directly to your life, at least not yet. Despite how this person came into your child’s life, the fact is they are there now. Even if you were caught in the crossfire, and perhaps the victim of someone else’s actions, then all the more reason to forgive now instead of letting it consume you. Anger and bitterness can quickly kill your joy; maybe even your relationship with your children if you are not careful. Healing begins by laying it down at the cross, sometimes even daily.
Look at it this way: If your children are living in a home a good amount of time with their stepmom or stepdad, then why wouldn’t you pray for that house to be covered? God has given us a spiritual authority over our kids that cannot be denied by man. To pray for protection for your children’s stepparent and their home is not a sign of weakness—but spiritual maturity.
Yes, I realize I am speaking about the relationship between this person and your ex. Your kids have probably been through plenty by this point and you don’t want to do anything that may cause them more despair. Pray for their marriage to be Christ-centered and not fall into the traps that lead to destruction. Children learn by observation to love unconditionally and be humble. Whether they ever realize the sacrifices we made for them and the hurts we endured along the way doesn’t really matter—being a godly parent does.
I am continually reminding single parents: If there is inconsistency in the other home, that makes consistency in our own house that much more important. If in fact your children’s stepfather or stepmother isn’t leading in their family the way they should be, then the Christ-like move would be to intercede on their behalf. Ask the Lord to pull at their heart to step up and lead at home in the way he or she is called to. Remember, “The effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Whether we are a new believer or have been walking with God for years, Paul writes that we are all work in progress (Philippians 1:6). God desires for all to come to repentance, and that should be our prayer as well. Big or small, your children’s stepparent now has influence in their lives. Would you rather that influence comes from and reflects the ways of the world—or Christ? If they are already a Christian, keep praying for him or her and that they will continue to grow in their faith and relationship with the Lord.
Moms and dads, we need strong, godly parents to help change the course for the next generation and lead them in the Lord. That means breaking the norm and setting an example that honors God through our actions. It can start today, with you. Be that sort of parent.
“Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always.” (1 Chronicles 16:11)
A Prayer for Your Child’s Stepparent
Father, I pray for my children’s stepfather/stepmother. Lord I ask that You strengthen him/her that he/she may walk in all Your ways. Help him/her to be a godly influence in my children’s lives and for them to honor and respect him/her. Cover their home with Your protection and bless their family. God teach me to have a soft heart towards him/her and to reflect You and Your love, even when I don’t feel like expressing it. Help me to raise godly children by modeling selfless sacrifice. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry, the coauthor of The Daddy Gap, and the cofounder of the Midwest Single Parenting Summit. He is an ordinary guy who chases after an extraordinary God. Matt lives with his wife and daughter in Grand Rapids, MI. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.
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