The One Thing I Can’t Afford to Fail at as a Parent.

parentingFor years I have tried to master this idea of being a godly parent.

  • I pray for my children.
  • I take them to church.
  • I memorize scripture with them.
  • We have had devotions in the mornings at the breakfast table for years.
  • We foster family time around serving in our church and community.
  • And much more…

By all religious standards I have checked everything off the to-do list. However, I am still not the Proverbs 31 mother I will spend the rest of my life striving to be.

There are two places I fail miserably as a parent: 

1. I’m a horrible teacher.

While I  should strive as a mother to lead our children into the presence of Christ, I am only capable of imparting knowledge.  I’m a teacher by profession, but my children don’t need me to be their teacher, they need me to be their leader. My children need less of me, not more. My children need a mother who does not rely on her own knowledge, abilities, and aptitude, but on the power of Christ at work within her. They need a mother who realizes how desperate she is for the power of a resurrected Christ. They need a mother who lives it far beyond the amount she speaks it.

  • I don’t want children who know all the right answers.
  • I don’t want children who just make wise choices.
  • I want children who take a bold stand with a bold faith.

How does a mother teach that? She can’t. She must live it. More is caught than can ever be taught.

2. I’m a horrible Holy Spirit.

My children are at that age where listening to mom and dad is not their first desire. It’s the age of knowing it all. Whether it’s trying to persuade them to make wise choices or supplying consequences for poor ones, I often find myself at a loss. That’s when I resort to lines of questioning and Bible bombarding to bring about my desired outcomes. I’m successful at one thing in this: making them feel guilty. And that’s when they shut down. When I play the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives, they reject the Christ I represent. I don’t blame them.

  • I don’t want children who shut down when the Holy Spirit is at work within them.
  • I don’t want children who learn to ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit completely.
  • I want children who not only recognize the voice of the Spirit, but respond with anticipation because the God of the universe is taking time to personally mold them, guide them, and direct their paths.

The only way to do this is to face the fact that I have a problem. A control problem. If I’m acting in the place of the Holy Spirit, then I’m acting as if I have the power to change hearts. I am not God. The only one who can shape the hearts of man, including my kids, is God himself.

And this brings me to the one area of parenting that I can’t afford to fail at:

Being my children’s prophet through prayer.

When I realize I can’t do it, I quit trying. In relinquishing control, I pray.

Prayer Children

On my knees in prayer is the only place to fall. It’s the place where I boldly claim the promise of God that if I ask anything in His name in accordance with His will the answer is Yes.

  • “Prayer is the difference between letting things happen and making things happen.
  • Prayer is the difference between fighting for God and God fighting for me.
  • Prayer is how I write my kids future” (Mark Batterson) .

I can fail as my children’s teacher, and I should fail as their Holy Spirit, but I cannot afford to fail as their prophetTweet This


Until recently I prayed more on an “as needed” basis rather than on an “as long as it takes” basis. But if I believe God keeps his promises, then I have more power in prayer for my kids than in any other area of parenting. Yet sadly, I’ve neglected it.

In what areas do you find yourself failing as a parent? Is praying for you children one of them?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Ami Adams

    I struggle with these very same things! I struggle with showing my little one grace when she needs it most. I’m a perfectionist and sometimes my first reaction is to snap instead of giving a smile and a hug. There are times her eyes are huge and I can that she wants to cry…and there are times when I get onto her for no “real” reason. I wonder all the time….am I breaking her? Am I being my mother? I don’t want to be with Audrey the way my mother was to me. I want Audrey to be strong and bold and to be confident in who she is and who God is….but she can’t grow into that woman if I am in the way.

    • Shelly Tiffin

      I totally get it. Honestly this article came from a place of feeling guilty for chasing after God given dreams. It costs me time away from my family to do so. But I was reminded that my only objective in life is to obey. If this is God’s will, then it’s His will for my kids too. I’ve become part of the 5am club because of this. The most important part of this journey, is my relationship with Christ. This is where I will receive the best return on my investment toward anything in life. It all starts on my knees. Especially the idea of not screwing up my kids.