Speaking Life Over Your Kids

Death and life are in the power of the tongue…
Proverbs 18:21

Our words have power. The words that we say can either lift someone up or tear them down. Words can hurt and they can completely completely crush someone’s spirit. But they can also be used to mend and bring encouragement. Parents, this is especially true about the words we use when we are talking to or about our children. When I’m out and about, I often hear parents talking about their kids in passive conversations with comments like, “Oh, she’s never going to understand math.” or “He’s just being a brat today.” While these remarks might not be said intentionally, they speak negativity and express a low level of expectations for their children.

Almost immediately after announcing our pregnancy, my husband and I were swarmed with advice from so many well-meaning people. Most people advised Jimbob and I to expect the worst out of our new little bundle of joy. They would “prepare” us with stories that included all the negative aspects of raising kids. In particular, we were told many horror stories about the awful things that toddlers do in the “terrible twos” stage. Before I even became a mama, I made the promise to never call the toddler stage the “terrible twos”. Long ago, God laid it on my heart to be conscious of the words that I used when talk about my family. I wanted to speak life over my kids and always communicate messages that lifted them up. Instead of the “terrible twos”, I started calling this stage of life the “terrific twos”.

Now, our daughter is two and a half. She is a ball of energy, constantly exploring, and just overall full of life. She does throw fits pretty regularly when she doesn’t get her way. She gets cranky when she needs a nap. When she is frustrated she yells – loudly. At any given point, she can be everything that the term “terrible twos” encompasses. BUT – she is also so compassionate. She is kind and loving. When she sees someone crying or hurt, she always wants to help them. She is so silly and can make her daddy and mommy laugh like no one else can. She is creative, imaginative, and brave. She loves Jesus and knows that He loves and saved her. I would be devastated if someone saw her in the middle of a meltdown and labeled her as a “terrible” two-year-old. She is so much more than her difficult moments, and so are the kids in your life.

Any time that I think about the words that I use, I am reminded of Psalm 19:14. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. I often use this verse as a prayer. May everything I say about others, especially my children, be pleasing to the Lord. It is my prayer that God would be happy with what I have to say when I talk to or about my kids.

I say all of that to tell you this: our words have power. The things that we choose to say to and about our kids matter. I am not saying we should sugar-coat parenthood. I know it’s not all a walk in the park. I’m just saying that it isn’t all awful, either. Raising children is challenging, but it is also rewarding. Our kids have really terrible days sometimes, but they also have really wonderful days. Friends, it’s our job as parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians, etc.) to speak life over our kids. Expect the best from them, and then respond with grace and love when they fall short (because they will). Next time you are tempted to say something negative about your children, try to say something positive instead. Let’s give our kids a good example of how to use words to breathe life over others by starting with how we talk about them. Let’s be intentional in what we say to our precious children. After all, their Heavenly Father made them to be pretty terrific.

Raising Kids Who Pray For Others

Being consistent in prayer is a spiritual discipline that is crucial to every Christian’s life. One of the ways that I teach about prayer to the kids in my ministry is by asking them how they would feel if they had to go months without talking to their best friend. Most of them normally say something about how they would feel disconnected in that friendship without communication. Just like we need to talk to one another, Christians need communication with God. The need for communication with our Heavenly Father is fulfilled through prayer. As we teach the children in our lives how to pray, it is important that we are also providing clear instructions of what to pray for. Kids of any age can praise God, petition for their own needs, and lift others up in prayer.
Writing this blog post has been on my heart lately as I have noticed a trend among the kids in my life. I have found that most children know that they should pray for others, but they seem to either be uncomfortable doing it or aren’t sure where to start. The best way for our children to learn about praying for others is to see and hear the adults in their lives lifting others up in prayer. In thinking about my own prayer life and how it can have an impact on the children around me, I am brought to these questions: Why is praying for others such a big deal, anyways? Do I pray for others as often and as consistently as I should be?

One of my favorite chapters of scripture is John 17. In this passage, we see Jesus praying for all believers – both His current disciples and those who will believe in the future. Take a look at verses 20-26:
20 “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. 21 May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. 22 I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation. 25 Righteous Father, the world has not known you. However, I have known you, and they have known that you sent me. 26 I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
Jesus is about to be betrayed, arrested, and taken to his death. He prays for himself, but he does not stop there. He spends his last free moments praying protection, joy, sanctification, unity, and love over His disciples and over all future believers. Rather than being concerned only with what was about to happen to Him, Jesus spent time praying for others. Before the most painful events of His life, Jesus spent time in prayer for me. Friend, if you are a believer, He was also praying for you. This is a truth that almost renders me speechless every time I think about it. This passage provides such a powerful picture of the incredible love that Jesus has for us. Jesus gives us the ultimate example of how essential it is that we should pray for one another.

Another verse that comes to mind when I think about praying for others is James 5:16. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” In the last part of his letter, James wants his readers to know the importance of prayer. He urges them to pray, no matter what their circumstances might be. James knew that a big part of effective prayer is confessing to and lifting up one another. He knew that going to the Father on behalf of someone else can cover a multitude of sins.

Both of these biblical passages show us that praying for others is a big deal for believers. We can see that we should be lifting others up every time we pray. One of the biggest ways that you can bless the children in your life is to teach them the importance of praying for others. You can teach your kids that they can show someone that they love them by praying for them. Kids can learn that they can pray for anyone at any time. As you disciple your children, ask God to help them be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in their prayers. When you pray as a family, pray for one another and for other friends and family members. Ask God to heal those who are sick and thank Him for the people He has placed in your family’s life.
Whether your child is 5 or 15, they can be a strong prayer warrior. In learning to pray for others, children can come to realize that the gospel is for everyone. Jesus’ love is for everyone. Prayer is for everyone.

These are a few questions for you to ponder or to use as discussion-starters with the kids in your life. I hope you find them helpful!

  1. When you are facing troubles of your own, is your first reaction to include others in your prayers, or do you only pray for yourself? 
  2. Why is it important to pray?
  3. How have you seen prayer make a difference in someone’s life?
  4. How does it make you feel when you know that someone else is praying for you?
  5. Who can you pray for today?