How do we pray for our children? We have all heard stories of the power in the prayers of a mother, as in the story of Hudson Taylor and other godly men.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how to be a praying mom. I went and studied the mothers’ prayers in the Bible. It surprised me how little the Word of God actually mentions their prayers for their own children, though we know many of them were loving mothers who did pray. Even so, we can glean much inspiration from these godly moms.
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Lessons From Hannah’s Prayer
Some of the most well-known Bible verses on a mother’s prayer come from the story of Hannah and Samuel. Her husband’s other wife teased her for being a barren woman and having no children. She was starting to get desperate and took her tears to God.
1 Samuel 1:9-289 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord.
10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.
11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.
13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.
16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.
20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.
21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever.
23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young.
25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord.
27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.
The Fervent Prayer for a Child
Here we see a praying woman asking the Lord God for a child. Many moms will understand this struggle and the tears and prayers Hannah models. While the gift of motherhood is just that, a gift, we can ask the Lord Jesus to fill the empty mother’s womb. King David, in one of the popular Psalms on the home (Psalm 127) says that ” the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
Our earnest prayer may not always be answered in the way we wish, but just as Eli told Hannah to “go in peace,” we can ask for the peace of God and the fruit of the Spirit to fill the ache in our hearts if we long for children.
I am sure that day in the temple was not Hannah’s first time asking for a child. God chose to give her the rich blessing of a child, and she went on to have additional children.
Pray for Your Unborn Children Too.
Our Heavenly Father uses our prayers any time, even in the future. I am sure Hannah kept praying for the baby in her womb. Ask God to bless your babies even before they are born, and help them grow up to be godly children.
Our Prayers Don’t Need to Always Look Put Together
When Hannah prayed, she was so distraught that Eli thought she was drunk. Sometimes we don’t look so put together when we pray. Our tears get messy before God. That is okay. He hears our hearts.
Give Your Children Back to God, and Keep Your Promises.
How it must have tugged at Hannah’s heartstrings to take Samuel back to the temple. While that is not required of us today, we still need to give our children back to God. They are His in the first place. We can surrender them into His hands, and trust that His unconditional love will guide them. This will look different for everyone, but we need to give up control of all the outcomes of our children’s lives.
Thank God for Answered Prayers
Hannah thanked God for answering her prayers, and we can too. He is there for us, and while He doesn’t always answer as we hoped, He gives us so many blessings to thank Him for if we just open our eyes.
Lessons from Hagar’s Tears
If you remember the story of Hagar, you will understand that she wasn’t living in an ideal situation. Her son Ishmael wasn’t very well behaved as Sarah saw him “mocking.” They were even sent away because of Sarah’s jealousy.
Genesis 21:14-1914 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water; and he gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15 And the water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
16 And she went and sat down apart from him a good way off, as it were, a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not see the death of the child.” And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice and wept.
17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said unto her, “What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
18 Arise; lift up the lad and hold him in thine hand, for I will make him a great nation.”
19 And God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
Pray in whatever circumstances, even if you don’t know what words to use.
When God saw Hagar’s tears, He cared for her and gave her a promise. Even in less-than-ideal situations, we can see the power of a praying mother. Sometimes we don’t have words, we just weep for our children. God hears that too.
Sometimes our children misbehave and we have to deal with the consequences of that. Sometimes life is unfair like Hagar and Ishmael getting sent away. But God goes with us, and He has a way of working out all things for good. He has a plan for our children.
Lessons from Mary
One of the most revered mothers in the Bible is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Of all the young women at the time, God chose her to be Jesus’ own mother. When the angel Gabriel came to talk to her, she said something beautiful.
Mary’s Words“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
A Lesson of Surrender
Mary shows us the beauty of surrender. Even if we are moms who love God and are led by the Holy Spirit, and even if our children love God with all their hearts, things won’t always be easy. Later in life, Mary had to suffer watching Jesus Christ suffer. That is one of the hardest things for moms to see, but as we surrender to God’s leading, He can do things with our lives and the lives of our children to bless others. Mary was the means through which God’s promise of a Saviour was fulfilled.
Lessons from a Woman of Canaan
This mother was having problems with her daughter, and she came to Christ Jesus for help.
Matthew 15: 22-2822 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Sometimes all we can do is pray “O God, help me” as this woman of great faith did. The power of prayer isn’t tied to how long your prayers are, and that is a good thing for us busy moms. Motherhood can make us feel like we are at the end of our rope. This prayer is one I have often needed to use. We can not be everything our children need, but Jesus will be there for us. We just need to be humble.
Save it for Later.
Another Wonderful Example of Godly Older Women
2 Timothy 1:5 says5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
While these verses don’t speak of the prayer life of Lois and Eunice, I am sure that they were praying women, and they were able to pass their great love for God on to Timothy. May we be mothers and grandmothers like them!
We can be praying mothers too.
I hope this simple study of praying mothers in the Bible can be an encouragement to you. I didn’t cover quite all of them, but these are some of the ones that stood out to me.
We can be moms who also pray for our children. In the hard, in the desperate, and in the beautiful moments of motherhood, our powerful prayers can rise to God, who hears and loves us and our children more than we can imagine.
Your Turn to Share!
What stood out to you from these mothers? Do you have other lessons you have learned that you could share with me?