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A Prayer For the Difficult Child

Relationships | Cindy Branton | 5 mins

More than any other relationship, being a mom has taught me about the unconditional, sacrificial, and always-and-forever love God offers me. If I’m completely honest, that’s because parenting is difficult. And if I’m really transparent, some of my biggest failures have been when my less-than-stellar parenting meets the sin of my children. Each child has their own unique needs, struggles, and weaknesses. Some days, we have just what they need. And other days, we just don’t. 

We run out of ideas, tricks, tools, finesse, and honestly -- we run out of grace. Empty-handed and exhausted, we wonder when this season will end. Our hearts cry for easier times, but our reality keeps us anchored to something quite different. So instead of losing hope, we turn to the only source of true grace. We beg for love for our children from a God whose own love for us doesn’t make sense. Raising haggard hands, we tearfully ask for hope. 

For those of you with a difficult child, for those of you in a rough parenting season, and for those of you who need more than you have available, this prayer is for you: 

Dear Heavenly Father,

First, I want to thank you for the privilege and blessing it is to be a parent. I am so grateful that you have entrusted me to parent my precious child. God, this whole parenting thing is not for the faint of heart, and if I’m being honest, faint of heart is exactly how I’m feeling these days.

This has not been an easy parenting season. There seem to be constant struggles and difficulties, specifically with one of my children. I need you now more than ever before, Lord, because I can’t do this on my own.

As my child rebels, God, remind me of my own rebellion towards you. How many times have you clearly shown me what you ask of me, and I did just the opposite? However, your love for me did not change. Your grace did not run out. When my child resists my authority, allow me to show the same grace that I have experienced from you.

When I am feeling hopeless in my relationship with my child, please allow your loving hope to fill me. Give me glimpses of the great plans that you have for this child. Allow me to see how you can wield the strong will of this child into a force of greatness for your Kingdom. Following you is rarely easy, so may the persistence and determination that come so easily to this child form into a steadfastness in their relationship with you.

God, may kindness be on my lips towards this child and about this child. Reveal opportunities to praise and celebrate the good in their life. Let me be tireless in my desire to encourage them and speak truth over them. When I see them obeying, let my first instinct not be that of surprise but thankfulness.

Let my child see what honor looks like, because of the reverence I show to you. Let my child see what your patience looks like, because you supply me daily with what I need to show to them. Let your response be on my lips instead of my own selfish reactions to defiance, and in this may it move my child towards redemption. Let me demonstrate self-control in the midst of the barrage of insults, tantrums, or disobedience. 

When my child is struggling, I pray that you would be their refuge. Draw them to you and be their perfect Father. Allow your Spirit to soften their heart and make them like you. Remind me that this is your child. You created them and you know them more intimately than I could dream. 

Put Godly mentors in my life who inspire me and offer a safe refuge where I can share my internal struggles, fears, and parenting fails. Give me a guide who will offer hope when I cannot see it and someone who will be devoted to praying over the relationship between my child and me. 

Use this difficult season for your glory. I will choose joy in the midst of this hardship. 


Written By

Cindy Branton

Jesus lover, smitten wife, active mom, tenured teacher, and writer of words. 

Published on Oct 7, 2021