A Mother's Greatest Prayer


Things are getting tough around here. Both of my boys are now in middle school, with one soon to be in high school. They’re being exposed to varying viewpoints on all kinds of controversial issues, none of which are included in the foundation I’ve been building for them.

I think it’s perfectly natural for kids to push the boundaries and ask challenging questions. It’s how they personalize what we’ve been teaching them since they were young. That’s critical if they’re going to mature and build their own walls and roof on the foundation we’ve laid.

Although I want to give my kids freedom to build any way they see fit, I’m realizing I only do so if they choose to build a house exactly like mine. It’s how I know they’ll be safe.

But when I put a visual to that desire, all I see are cookie-cutter neighborhoods like in the old movie, The Stepford Wives: row upon row of identical homes, with no variation whatsoever. How could I ever really want such conformity and sameness for them?

So I give them more freedom, and completely panic every time they have an opinion different from mine, or make a risky choice. I fear the traps out there that have irreversible consequences.

So when do we let our kids fail and learn from their own mistakes? When do we step in and intervene so they aren’t damaged beyond repair? This conundrum feels like walking through a landmine: If we don’t get it right, things are going to blow up, leaving major casualties in their wake.

The only answer is God. He knows us, and He knows our kids, inside and out. He also knows every intricate aspect of our individual circumstances. He knows what difficult road will lead to our children’s growth and maturity, and what difficult road will lead to their demise.

Give your servant, therefore, a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. -1 Kings 3:9

In 1 Kings 3, God tells Solomon He will give him anything he asks for. Rather than asking for riches, or a long life, Solomon asks for a listening heart and the ability to judge between good and evil. In a word, he asks for wisdom.

We moms are just like Solomon. We’re being asked to lead our kids, our people. In order to do that well, we too need listening hearts. We need to be able to judge good from evil so we know when to intervene, and when to let our kids fail so they learn on their own. Doing so is a right of passage. If we don’t let our kids experience that learning process in the safety of our own home, they’ll do it outside of it, where safety isn’t a guarantee.

The key to it all is the same prayer Solomon had. Now, when God asks me in my prayer time what I seek, my request will be: “Please give me wisdom so I can lead my people, my kids. Amen!”

Copyright 2018 Claire McGarry


About Author

Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, These Days devotional, and the Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.


  1. Loretta Pehanich on

    Thank you for this reminder. When I thought about what was the best prayer for a mom before reading your post, the Memorare popped into my mind. The prayer for wisdom is right up there, too!

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Loretta! If God would grant me wisdom I do think I’d be a much better mom. But I suppose it’s a one-day-at-a-time thing, just like everything else. I hope spring has bloomed wherever you are. Blessings!

  2. Ellen Mongan on

    As a mom of many, now all adults, I do so appreciate your article, “ A Mom’s Greatest Prayer. “ it was stated well. Having wisdom to discern is the key of when to let go and when to say No ! This can be a bit hard to do when it comes to our children. The foundation will stand, when like you, have built it well. I now watch my children, now parents themselves, discern the path towards maturity for their children.

    • It must be so satisfying, Ellen, to see the fruit of your labor. I’m sure wisdom and God’s grace were the fertilizer that fed that fruit. Your comment gives me hope for my little family. Thank you!

  3. Tami Urcia on

    So true and such a real struggle! It is so tempting to be within an inch of them always, watching their every move, yet this is not really helping them to grow and make wise decisions. Thank you for your helpful post!

    • I agree completely, Tami! I hover WAY too much. My 13-year-old is on a week long trip to DC as we speak and I think it’s the best thing for him. I’m sure he’s flourishing away from me and he’s enjoying his freedom. I just wish he’d text once in a while… 🙂

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