I raised three sons. All are grown and married with families of their own. Each son has his own unique personality and approach to life. I used to describe my three sons like this (though each has matured into a responsible man): Kennedy always has his ducks in a row. Brantley can’t find his ducks. Stinson doesn’t know there are ducks.
Nothing cookie-cutter about them. An approach that reaches one son alienates another.
The challenge of raising children is that there is no hard-and-fast formula to be applied to every child in every circumstance. Certainly, there are underlying principles, but how those principles are applied in any given situation with each different learning style requires that we have access to higher wisdom than we possess. The good news is that we do. If we learn to live with our hearts synced to the Jesus who knows each of your children inside and out, then we can parent each as he or she needs to be parented.
God has picked you out to be the parent to the children whom He has entrusted to your care. You’re His chosen one for this exact assignment, and He knows everything you will need to know as you parent. He knows, and He is delighted to reveal to you everything you need every time you need it. You just need to have your heart synchronized with His and live in sync with His indwelling Spirit.
Jesus demonstrated what it was like to live synced to the Father’s heart, the same way He invites us to live synced to His heart. For many years I have been teaching this as the definition of a praying life. Living in the flow of His power and provision. Instead of having a prayer life—packaging words between Dear God and Amen—you can live a praying life—a life synced to the heart of Jesus so that His life flows through you like the vine’s life through the branch.
A praying life is a life lived on earth in the power of heaven.
The earthly life of Jesus demonstrates this. The Son of Man lived every earthly moment in the power from on high. He lived a praying life. In Him, through Him, heaven invaded earth. His obedient praying life was the conduit through which heaven’s power changed earth’s circumstances. He lived and moved and had His being (Acts 17:28) in the atmosphere of the spiritual realm, though He walked out His life as a man tethered to earth just like we are. From the heavenly realms, He drew His energy and power, accessed wisdom and insight, secured peace and joy. He lived out of heaven’s resources for the daily demands of earth’s circumstances. He lived in the flow of God’s power and provision.
As you parent, you can live a praying life. You can parent out of the resources of heaven. The most important parenting skill you can hone is how to live synced to the heart of Jesus. “He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge” (Proverbs 14:26).
As you grow in Christ, your descendants will be the beneficiaries. Your children will be enriched because your heart is connected to the heart of Jesus. Your children will have the advantage of being parented out of the Storehouse of all wisdom (Colossians 2:3). The best parenting advice I can give is this: Live synced to the heart of Jesus.
A Prayer for Wisdom in Parenting
Jesus, I look to You for the wisdom I need in any moment. What takes me by surprise does not take You by surprise. You are always ready to make a direct deposit from Your heart to mine. Teach me to live so synced to Your heart that heaven’s resources are always at my disposal. Amen.
Jennifer Kennedy Dean is executive director of the Praying Life Foundation and a respected author and speaker. The author of numerous books, studies, and magazine articles specializing in prayer and spiritual formation, her book Heart’s Cry has been named National Day of Prayer’s signature book, while her book Live a Praying Life® has been called a flagship work on prayer. Her latest book is Synced: Living Connected to the Heart of Jesus.
Find out more about Jennifer at www.prayinglife.org.