Parenting Help

Is Prayer Your First or Last Resort? 

Something happened to me recently, as I was giving a radio interview about my seminar, Where Are the Lines? 10 Practical Steps to Teach Values to Your Children. The interviewer asked a logical question: “What’s the first step?”

When I said the first step to talking with your kids about values should be prayer, he casually brushed it aside, “Yes, I’m certain our listeners already pray, but do you have some practical things we can do?”

I tried to be cute with my response, “Practically pray your brains out!” But I was deadly serious. What could possibly be more practical than prayer? His question is typical for today’s Christian parents. “Just tell me what I should do to bring my kid under my control again.”

It’s almost as if prayer is a Christian cliché. I’ll pray for you has become the way we say goodbye. But do we really pray? Do we see prayer as the most important thing we can do or has it become a polite way to say goodbye?

Christians must understand that if we spend more time talking to our kids about our concerns and their attitudes than we spend talking to the Lord about our kids, we need to change our priorities.

Remember, most of the values from today’s popular entertainment are spiritual problems that should first be approached through prayer. They are not merely worldly problems to be handled by worldly means.

I’d like to tell you the same thing I told that radio host: We must begin to see prayer for what it is—the most important action we can take to help our children. When a parent asks for my counsel about their children, I ask how much time has been spent in prayer for them. All my counsel is worthless unless parents are covering their children in prayer on a regular basis.

How should you pray? I’m glad you asked. Pray specifically for eternal issues. As Proverbs 17:24 says, “A fool’s goals are the ends of the earth!” (Menconi paraphrase). A good way to remember this verse is to think how a fool has goals that will end when his or her time on earth ends. Not so with the wise person.

What are your goals for your children? Are they eternal? Are you praying that they will change their entertainment choices? Their entertainment choices are symptoms of deeper needs. They are not themselves an eternal issue.

The issue we should be concerned with is the attitude that makes the wrong kind of entertainment attractive to your children. When their attitudes toward sin and worldliness change, their entertainment choices also will begin to change. When it comes to our children, prayer should always be the first step—not the last resort.

You just read the first section of this chapter. The complete chapter including the Reflection, Response, Scripture, and Application is one of 30 chapters from Al’s new book RECONNECT: When your kids are connected to everything but you. Find out how to order your own copy.

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Al Menconi

Al Menconi founded Al Menconi Ministries in 1982. Since that time, Al has spoken to more than a million people about entertainment and its influences. He has written numerous books and articles on the subject and provides free help for parents on his web site Al and his wife Janice have two grown daughters and reside in Carlsbad, CA.

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