Oceans: A Parent’s Prayer

Early this morning, before everyone else was awake, I was having my quiet time. I turned on some worship music and I was journaling out my prayers and I got to a point that I was praying for my children. 2020 has brought new parenting challenges with homeschooling, friendships, racism, politics and other social issues.

I wrote, “Lord, I pray that you would give them your wisdom and discernment. I pray that you would strengthen their faith and trust in you and that it would be greater than the pull of the world. May their faith become their own and not ours.” 

As I was journaling these prayers, the thought crossed my mind that 30 years ago, my mom was sitting in her quiet time, praying these same things over me and my siblings. And yet, some of my siblings have chosen to walk away from the Christian faith. “Praying for them doesn’t ensure anything,” was whispering in my head. I started getting overwhelmed with the future and everything that my children could face or choose.

In that moment, “Oceans” by Hillsong United began playing. A song that has meant so much to us in our transitions and moves. But today, I heard the words differently. I listened to them from a parent’s point of view and it brought peace and perspective.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail

Parenting is nothing but the unknown. There are no manuals and each child is different. Rilyn, being our oldest, is the trailblazer into parenting. Every stage is new for us and brings challenges we’ve never had to deal with so we are winging it the best we can. But just because we’ve dealt with something with Rilyn, doesn’t mean what we’ve learned will necessarily apply to Landon because he is so different from her. What may have worked with her doesn’t work for him. And then there’s the different stages of sending them off – to Kindergarten, to middle school, to high school and off to college. Each one is new and unknown.

And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

“God wanted his people throughout the world to know the glorious riches of this mystery–which is Christ living in you, giving you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) No matter what we face, no matter the struggle we have Christ living in us. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. We can stand firm in that even when we are standing on shaky ground.

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves

This is key in parenting as Christians. We need to constantly be calling upon the name of Jesus to give us wisdom, discernment, empathy and compassion. When the waves of uncertainty or hard things begin to crash around us, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. I think this is also important for our kids learning to make their faith their own. When they see us leaning on Jesus and seeking him out, they learn to do that themselves.

When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace

My mom often quotes Jennifer Rothschild when she says, “It may not be well with my circumstances, but it is well with my soul.” This is what hope in Jesus looks like! Jesus never promises easy. Jesus never promises we won’t face pain. But he does promise peace. He does promise joy. He does promise rest and hope. It is possible to experience pain and peace. Suffering and strength. Heartache and hope.

Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide

This is where spending time in the Bible and prayer is so important! God shows us how to live with wisdom and discernment. He teaches us how to treat our children and others. The Bible is full of wisdom and practical applications. We just need to spend time reading it to know God’s heart! The Bible app is a great resource and has lots of great studies and devotionals. My mom’s book No More Perfect Moms has a study on the Bible app. Another good place to start is reading a chapter of Proverbs each day. Whatever day of the month it is, read that chapter. Or read through Luke to learn more about Jesus.

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

This line is what gives me so much hope! God has never failed. He’s the creator of all things and triumphs over all hardships. Yes, bad things happen but that’s part of living in a fallen world. That’s not because of God’s character. 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

We need to rely on the Holy Spirit as we walk through the challenges and unknowns of parenting our children. Trusting that God loves our children more than we can, which is so hard to imagine! Often times, we are prompted to say “Yes” to something that may seem impossible on our own – but that’s exactly what we need sometimes! Because it’s when we can’t do it on our own that God’s glory is made known!

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger

I think this is the most daring prayer and, to be honest, one I’m scared to pray at times. As a 6 on the enneagram, I make decisions based on safety. I think of all of the possible outcomes and choose the safest one. Praying “take me deeper than my feet could ever wander” takes courage. Moving into territory that I may not be able to control takes trust. Trusting in the One who has all things under control. And that’s exactly what we do as parents. We send them off into life, hoping they make good friends and make good choices. When we face difficult or overwhelming situations, we have two choices: trust that God is in control and his goodness will prevail or try to manage it all in our own strength. Our faith has the opportunity to grow stronger in those times.

I am Yours and You are mine

This truth is most important. Our children’s choices are not a reflection of who we are. We are children of God first and foremost. That is where our identity rests. It’s important that we not take their choices personally. Does that mean we don’t redirect or discipline? Absolutely not! But when correction is called for, it’s more about their character and not about how it made us feel or look as parents.

This song caused my prayer time to move from a place of anxiety and fear of what is to come to a place of peace, trust and hope. It gave me fresh perspective about parenting with purpose and I hope it does the same for you!

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