Prayers from the Empty Nest

photo 1“You are reading your own book?” Virginia asked, pulling up short as she burst into my bedroom and saw me sitting up in bed, my dog-eared copy of Praying the Scriptures for Your Children open in my lap.  “Mom,” she continued, “That is just so…sad.”

I can understand why a 13-year-old girl would consider my actions pathetic. Teenaged girls tend to be embarrassed by a lot of what their moms do—or, in my case, wear.  Or say.  But it wouldn’t be the last time Virginia (or any of my kids) would catch my nose in the pages of my own book.  And happily, as they have grown, all four children have learned to appreciate the value—the power—of praying the scriptures.  Now, at age 20, Virginia will actually ask me to do so, on her behalf or for one of her friends.

Which is why I took a page right out of the book (or at least a picture of a page) and texted it to all four kids a few weeks ago, hoping that they would join me in prayer.  I had just dropped Robbie—our youngest—off at college, and my heart ached.  Not only is Sewanee a million miles from Virginia Beach (okay, so I don’t know the exact mileage, but it takes about 11 hours to drive there), my husband and I know almost no one at the school.  The way I saw it, I might as well have been sending my baby boy to China.  

Using the Bible as the basis for my prayers—putting my kids’ names, or other people’s names, right into a verse so that it becomes a personalized promise—is probably my favorite way to pray.  Not only does praying this way tap into the power of Scripture (see, for example Hebrews 4:12 and John 15:7-8), but when we allow God’s Word to shape our prayers, it also shapes our perspective—a transformation that, as a mom, I need more often than not. 

Enable Robbie to be strong and courageous…let him know you will be with him wherever he goes.  A prayer like that, lifted right out of Joshua 1:9, does wonders for my anxious heart.  And it’s the perfect “ask” for any college kid; what more could we—or they—want than to know that God is with them, wherever they go? 

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