I stumbled over a post I had written on another blog of mine a while back about praying for the character of our children as we raise them. It occurred to me as I read and pondered on my stage of life with adult children, that our kids never outgrow the need for these same character building prayers.
Before we open the gate, let me make it clear that I think, process and analyze a lot but I’m no psychologist. As a mom for over 26 years now, I have thought, processed and analyzed a lot in the area of personalities and character traits.
I think that our personalities tend to be fairly settled from an early age. Patterns of thinking and how we process emotions and how we behave and react in certain circumstances will start early in life and carry us through to the end. I began seeing the personalities develop in our children when they were very young and for the most part, they are still very much the same. This is one, if not the only, element in parenting that I have found to be fairly predictable.
This is not to say that personalities don’t change. They do. But I think they change situationally and not so much over time. We might act one way at home and another at work. We might behave in a relationship much differently than we would in a public setting. Again, I didn’t go to school for this but I think we can pretty much count on someone behaving as we might expect them to in a given situation or setting.
I think that our character ebbs and flows in a different kind of way. As we go through life, our experiences continue to shape us. For better or for worse, we make decisions along the way and things happen to us that continue to change us. Based on what life doles out or choices we make (good or bad), our character might shift and tilt ever so slightly or even greatly, editing our trajectory. While both personality and character are important, I feel that character is more crucial. I see our character as a muscle. The more we exercise it the stronger it gets. The difference between character and personality is the difference between “who” and “how”. When we know someone’s personality, we will know how they act. When we know someone’s character, we will know their heart.
With all of this being said, whether I’m right or sound like a blubbering idiot, the point of this post is to say that I think it’s wise to continue to pray or our children’s character throughout their lives. To pray for who they are becoming – because the journey of becoming never brings us to the finish line this side of heaven.
As we raised our kids, we prayed for them to grow up to display solid moral character traits and now, as adults, they do. We are blessed and grateful. However, they are often pounded with adult situations that could cause the footing of their character to waiver. As an adult myself, I know this to be true.
We prayed for our young children to grow in character. This was back when much of their upbringing depended on our influence and what we taught them. Now as adults, they are on their own. We are no longer responsible for teaching them or influencing them. We can, however, continue to pray for our adult children that, no matter what comes their way, they will continue to grow in the character traits that we prayed over them when they were young. Train up a child… Proverbs 22:6
We don’t get to parent our adult children anymore but we get to pray for them. To be a watchman on their wall – what a blessing.
I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the Lord,
give yourselves no rest,
and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.
Isaiah 62:7 NIV
Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
at every street corner.
Lamentations 2:19 NIV
Nothers, will you join with me in praying for the character of our adult children? I’ve listed 12 here, not an exhaustive list of course, but that’s one per month. Pray them all every day or choose one per month or pray for the one your son or daughter needs most in this season.
What other character traits would you add to my list? I’ve already thought of a few more that should have been included.
Photo Credit: Pixabay, ReenaBlack