Parents urged to battle for kids in prayer war
___Editor's note: This is second in a series of reports.
___By Mark Wingfield
___GLORIETA, N.M.--Christian parents should pray for their children to become Christians, but that's only half the battle, speakers said at the Glorieta Prayer Conference Aug. 1-5.
___"A lot of adults seem to think once a child is saved, that's it, we've done it," said Debra Hochgraber, a prayer consultant with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, co-sponsor of the national prayer conference at LifeWay's Glorieta Conference Center.
___Parents must engage in "spiritual warfare" not just for the eternal salvation of their children but for protection from the immediate attacks of Satan on their lives from birth to death, Hochgraber said in a small-group seminar. "Our kids, their salvation cannot be robbed from them. But it's about praying that Satan will not steal their ability to be the fragrant aroma of Christ in the world."
___Even though Satan is "dumping tons of impure stuff" into the minds of parents and children alike, parents can prevail against this onslaught by intentional, focused prayer for their children, Hochgraber and others said at the conference.
___"The evil one is after our kids," she declared. "He is battling for their minds. ... We must pray that our children will keep God's Spirit alive in them so his new life will push off the sin in their lives."
___This is not to suggest that parents are responsible for all the decisions their children make, Hochgraber said. "We cannot make them make the decisions we wish, but we can influence them."
___Prayer is a powerful tool available to parents and grandparents, regardless of whether they live in the same city as their children or grandchildren, she said.
___The place to begin in praying for children is to ask God how to pray for them, Hochgraber said. "Ask the Lord, 'What is your will for my daughter?' Then seek that will. Pray that will back to him.
___"Prayer is as much listening in my life as it is talking."
___While encouraging parents to focus on the uniqueness of each child's needs in prayer, Hochgraber also noted that some things are biblical truths all parents should pray for their children. For example, "God wants all children to be saved," she said.
___That sentiment was echoed by Kappie Coffee, a mother of two and lay leader in First Baptist Church of San Antonio.
___"The fervent and effectual prayer of a mom availeth much," she said in a paraphrase of James 5:16.
___Praying for the salvation of a child must be part of a consistent lifestyle that demonstrates the love of God, Coffee said. This begins with what children see their parents doing and what values are clearly communicated to children by their parents, she added.
___"Identify, define what's most important to you as a family," she advised. "Make it known early on, not just when questions arise."
___Then set an example of prayer for children, Coffee suggested, by the way you pray at mealtimes, bedtime and other times. "We have opportunities to pray things into our children."
___These parental prayers must extend beyond the times of family interaction to times of intense intercession in private with God, she said.
___"Prayer for our children is not always going to be convenient. I must make a very conscious decision to pray for my children," Coffee said. "You can pour yourself into your children through prayer."
___While this is true of all children at any time, it may be especially true for parents of prodigal children, said Rick and Tracy Lineberger of Grapevine, who led a session on praying for prodigals.
___"Praying for a prodigal can be very discouraging, and results often are slow," said Lineberger, pastor of First Baptist Church of Grapevine.
___"We have to keep the conversation open with God," he advised, recalling the old-fashioned terminology to "pray through" some crisis or event.
___He cited Jesus' admonition to his disciples to "pray and never give up." Regardless of how hopeless the situation may seem or how long a prayer appears to be unanswered, the Christian must keep praying, he said. "The one thing we persist in is we're always going to pray."
___The Linebergers told part of their own experience with a son who strayed from the faith and eventually was arrested and placed in jail. Though at first Lineberger was convinced this family tragedy would derail his own ministry and wreck their family, that child eventually was restored.
___"I want to tell you it can happen," Lineberger insisted. "Don't give up."
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