Reviewed by: Lisa Moelker
Prayers of a Parent, four-book series, by Kathleen Nielson. P&R, 2021. Paperbacks, 88 pages each, $7.50 per book. Reviewed by OP member Lisa Moelker.
Have you ever struggled to know how to pray for your children? Do you find that your prayers for your children are becoming stale? If so, I would like to wholeheartedly recommend to you a new collection of books by Kathleen Nielson, entitled Prayers of a Parent. The collection is divided into four age groups: young children, teens, young adults, and adult children. Each of the books is divided into thirty-one sections, with each section beginning with a Scripture passage and short meditation. This is then followed by a beautifully written prayer for your children. Some examples of the prayers in the Prayers of a Parent for Young Children are “For a Heart of Mercy” and “For My Child to Think on Jesus.” A few examples of the prayers in the Prayers of a Parent for Adult Children are “For Love of the Church” and “For Grace in Parenting.”
When we baptize our covenant children, one of the promises we make is to pray regularly with and for our children. The challenge I have faced in my twenty-five years of being a parent is that I don’t always know how to pray for my children (see Rom. 8:26). Through the years I have enjoyed using the prayers in Scripture for my children, which has definitely added depth to my prayers for them. As I have been using these books the last few months, I find that my prayers for my children have expanded greatly. Nielson has directed my thoughts and prayers for my children in new ways and new areas that I had not thought of before. For instance, in the book for young adults there is a prayer entitled “For a Heart to Pray.” The first line says, “May the first-person pronouns of the psalms come from her mouth and from her heart, O Lord. May she pour out these words herself” (31). What a beautiful way to pray that our children will pray!
These books are really a wonderful gift to parents as they serve as a very helpful guide while we “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) for our children. The prayers flow from the Scriptures and point us to Christ. The prayers help us to grow in our reliance and dependency on God as we become increasingly aware of areas of need for our children. Personally, as I read the prayers for adult children I also applied the prayers to myself, and it was very encouraging.
At a covenant baptism, the congregation is also challenged to pray for the church’s covenant children. These guides do not just have to be used by parents (and grandparents!) but by any members in the congregation who would like to grow in their ability to pray for children in their church family.
Nielson writes that her hope is that her prayers “might mingle profitably with yours, as we all lift up the next generations to the Lord who knows and loves them perfectly” (9, introduction of each book). These books will help us to do that.
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