When I pray for my children, I almost always ask God to keep them under His wings, to guard and keep them from difficulties. My real hope is that they won't have trials and attacks to face, that God will give them an easy road.
I think I should be praying a lot more for my children to have the ability to face trials and attacks instead of not having problems. I don't like that idea, because I don't want my children to have a hard time. But, it might be what is best for them.
Let me give a few ideas from the Bible that show I may have been praying too much for an absence of difficulty and not enough for the ability to deal with them.
* From the writer of Hebrews: "For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (12:1-3, and read chapter 11 about heroes facing trials).
* From Peter: "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ..." (1:6-9).
* From James: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" 1:2-4).
* From Paul: "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...But in all things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:35 and 37, but read 8:18 through the end of chapter 8).
* From Jesus: "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, but read chapters 14-17).
* Moses,to Joshua, as he led Israel to take the Promised Land, "Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1). He doesn't pray for no enemies but to conquer them!
In none of these is the prayer to get rid of trials and foes. It is to endure, to trust, to be strong, to be courageous, to know that God is with you.
In all of these there are huge benefits to going through trials, for the person and for God's program and glory.
But, what about God's wings?
I got my idea of praying for my children to be protected by God's wings from Psalm 91:4: "He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark."
Here, in this safe place, under God's wings is a place of refuge, a place to rest and prepare. It is not an absence of problems, but a place to pause and feel His goodness and care. To be reassured.
The psalmist follows in verse 5: "You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that files by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon."
The problems are still there.
As much as I will probably keep praying for my children to not have problems, I need to get on board with God's approach and pray even more for their strength and courage to face the problems, to be bravehearts. That is the way they grow, the way they conquer, their part in God's story, the way they experience God's power and grace, the way they bring glory to Him.
What do you pray for your children? I need to change my prayers.