Families come through the office doors every day looking for answers to help their children feel better, do better, act better, behave better, sleep better, etc. I carefully listen to their heart ache as they recount incident after incident that is troubling the family. Listening is an extraordinary tool as you have the privilege of being invited into the family’s life to gain some understanding of what is happening. Not only do I inquire about the troubles, I ask what has been practiced in the past to manage the situation. This is where it gets shaky.
I was one such parent when my oldest was a toddler. I walked into work one morning and I must have looked a hot mess because my co-worker asked me, “What is wrong?” I must have been waiting for someone to check on me because i opened my mouth and told her everything. Our toddler son, who had been sleeping through the night since I introduced him to the concoction (that’s a story for another time), had suddenly changed his pattern over the last week or so. He would not sleep through the night for anything. His room was across the hall from ours so we could hear him clearly. The first couple of nights, one of us stumbled to his room and laid him down. Sometimes, he would fall back asleep, most times not. We may have even brought him into our bed just to get some sleep. Well, naturally, we thought we had spoiled him just that quickly because he awakened every night after that whining and crying.
Uh oh! Everything we had worked on was now out the door about independent sleeping for the child. He would not sleep in his room. He was still in a crib so he had learned how to crawl out of the crib and walk straight out of his door. That’s okay, up goes the gate. From him, that’s okay – he crawled the gate. Well, up goes two gates! This is where it gets ugly.
The first night with two gates up started out routine. I gave him his bath with lavender to help him relax while he played with his toys. We read a couple of books while we sat on the floor and then we did his bedtime prayer. Nothing out of the routine. He even watched me put up the gates as he sucked his fingers while laying in his crib. I have no idea what time he started crying but he did. My husband and I listened intent on practicing this method I read about in some book. We heard him climb out of the crib, we heard him at the gate, we heard him crying. After a while, he settled down, and we thought – okay – it worked. He went back to sleep. The book was right.
Whatever!!!! I woke up the next morning and went straight to his room. My baby boy was laying on the floor in front the gate with his pillow and blanket. I was so upset that I cried. I was mad at the books, I was mad at myself, and I was mad at my husband (don’t ask me why). This anger carried over until I walked into the work that morning. My colleague was a very wise older woman who had ministered to me on numerous occasions about many things. She pulled me to the back and talked to me about spiritual warfare. I believed in spiritual warfare but I had never considered children would be involved. It’s like I had told myself Satan would understand that children were off limits – like in war or something. Foolish – I know.
When I got home that evening (my husband worked at night), I packed up every stuffed toy he had with the exception of the one I had from childhood. I placed them down in the garage and locked the door. I was scared, I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t. It was dark. My son and I were home alone. And this woman had been talking to me about demons. With every single light (including closets) on, my son and I went to his room. I sat in the middle of the floor with him in my lap sitting criss cross applesauce and I prayed. I prayed for protection over him. I prayed for comfort. I prayed for understanding as a mother. I prayed until I could not think of anything else to say and he was squirming in my lap. After that prayer, we got about the business of our routine – including putting him in his crib.
The boy slept all night! Nothing happened all night. A couple of times through the night we tiptoed over to check on him and he was sleeping soundly. I was amazed when I woke up the next morning. I went in his room to get him and he was just sitting there waiting. Everything my work friend shared with me popped into my head at that moment, “Baby, Satan is after our children. He will use any means necessary to get to them – even things that they hold dear – favorite toys, items, etc.” She went on to explain how much parents are unknowingly introducing to their children and it is opening a gateway to sin. She cautioned me to be very careful about what I allow him to play with, watch, and use because Satan is crafty.
My husband and I constantly pray over our children and for our children because Satan constantly preys over them. So, when I begin working with new families, I eventually ask about the beliefs of the family and spiritual training of the children. Oftentimes, they are looking for a miracle for their child, but they aren’t praying for their child.
My sentiment is, if you are not praying over your children, don’t expect a miracle. This is not a putting a limit on God, this is putting a limit on the parent. God can do absolutely anything he wants to do despite what we do. In praying over our children, we are committing another level of parenting that surpasses all understanding. The prayer may be to address the matter or it may be to send someone who can help with the matter. The prayers may be for teachers, principals, or doctors who encounter your children. The prayers may be for the peers of your children – that they are Godly and of good countenance. Take it even further, pray for the future spouses of your children. The list is endless.
I can not think of a single well-meaning parent who does not want miracles for their children. You work on providing for so many other areas of their lives, spend some time in prayer over them too. If you are not willing to pray over them, Satan is more than happy to prey over them.