Beseeching Babes: Praying for Our Children
It’s almost nine and I’m fussing. I’ve got the coffee dripping, water boiling for tea, and the fruit and muffins look delicious. The Babes are coming over and I can’t wait.
A few years ago, a good friend stopped me in the church lobby and asked if I’d be interested in joining her in praying for our kids. She mentioned a few other women who were both friends and also interested in praying. I was immediately overwhelmed, almost to the point of tears. I longed to be part of a group like this.
Young people have been leaving the church in huge and disheartening numbers. Statisticians tell us that 75-85% of kids raised in the church will question their beliefs and ultimately opt out of formal, organized religion. As a mother of four I have already experienced this sad reality in my home; three of my four children have given up their childhood commitments to Jesus—my family is a microcosm of what’s happening in the larger culture.
I have a long and sad list of young people who have left our congregation, not to worship somewhere else, but to pursue humanism, atheism or some other form of “spirituality.” I keep this list not to be morbid, but so I do not forget these kids; I pray for them regularly. I have organized Lenten prayer vigils for our youth, fasted on behalf of my kids and spent many, many hours in prayer, tearfully beseeching the Father for this lost generation. So, getting together with other like-minded moms to pray sounded amazing.
And so, the Beseeching Babes was born. We call ourselves that because we regularly beseech God for our children’s souls, and the “babe” part is because at our age—if we don’t call each other babe, nobody else will! We pray together in person once a month, but we have also covenanted to pray for each other’s children every day. When we get together we spend several hours catching up on everything going on in each other’s families and then we pray together for all the items we’ve shared.
We’ve prayed through marital issues, pregnancies, job losses, health troubles, teenage angst, drug abuse, drinking problems, boyfriend and girlfriend issues, house purchases, weddings, and all the other typical things encountered in life. God has answered as we’d hoped, sometimes He has said “wait,” and sometimes He has said “no.” We’ve celebrated one baptism and there are many other indications that God is at work. But still, most of our children remain stubbornly outside a relationship with Jesus.
One day, in a rather forlorn moment, I asked myself if these myriad prayers matter. After all, the kids we’re praying for haven’t returned to Jesus. Before the question left my lips, I realized that yes, of course, it matters. The main reason it matters is that our kids matter to God, and I will invite God again and again and again to intervene in any way He can in their lives.
I want Christian neighbors, teachers, hairdressers, in-laws, lawyers, doctors, and dentists looking after my kids, so I ask God to provide these. I want God to guide their footsteps so that even though they don’t acknowledge Him, one day they will look back and marvel at how He cared for them even though they didn’t believe. I want to hear of Damascus road experiences. I want hearts that remain restless until they find their rest in Him. And I want Him to allow whatever pain is required to turn their hearts to Him, but oh, I do also want Him to be gentle. I don’t have the power to effect any of the above-mentioned things, but God does. He loves these young people even more than their mothers do, and we are trusting that He is working, even though we don’t always see it.
The other reason these prayers matter is because of what they do in the hearts of us Babes. These years of prayer have changed me. I trust God more. I trust my Christian friends more. We have developed a tight bond that is not only temporal but eternal. I never walk a road alone; in addition to my Jesus, I have my friends. Many is the time I have sent or received an urgent text, and I’ve stopped everything to pray. My heart is comforted, and my fears are stilled when I know that others pray with me. We’ve laughed together, wept together, and stopped everything to hug and pray over a weeping sister. We’ve thrown showers, barbecues, potlucks and eaten lots of lunches together. I love these women fiercely and am grateful beyond words for their support of me and my family.
So, soon beloved Beseeching Babes will be here, and once again we will laugh and cry and beseech our loving Father for our children. Our greatest hope is that one day we will be seated together with our arms full of grandchildren, thanking God that all our children have returned to Him. I can think of no better day than one when each of our children will be serving the Lord and teaching another generation of His love and faithfulness. Oh Father, may it be so.