"I believe in my soul that this is the great reason why thousands of Christians pray and never get answers. They are selfish in their prayers. Mothers tell me that they have prayed for their children for years, and not had one of them converted. Why? Because they prayed merely selfish prayers, because they were their children, or because they wanted them to be religious, so that they would not bring disgrace upon the family, or it would be so nice to have them religious. They don't want them to cut off the vanities and fooleries of this world, and give themselves up wholly to Christ. That would be too much. They want just enough religion to make them a comfort to themselves. Would you answer such prayers if you were God?"
-Catherine Booth in 1881
I loved coming across this quote in my "They Said It" Book. Below I've written about my own continuing examination of my role as parent, (even minister!) I really try to avoid "preachy" posts, (I feel that is for my appointed times on Sundays), but I do hope you'll bear with me and read along:
What is the use in praying for our children if we are not willing to be part of the answer? What is the use in pleading for their consecration if we induldge them in ungodly ways? What is the use in praying for their protection if we ignorantly or passively allow the corruptions from the world creep in? What is the use in praying them off the path of destruction if we pluck them off, dust them off, only to set them down that path again? What is the use in asking God to reveal his perfect will to them if we are not willing to give them up to Him?
Now is the time to train these little loves of our lives to seek God and His ways. Now is the time to lay a solid foundation that they will build the rest of their lives on. Love, Grace, Faith, Serving, Obeying, Forgiving.
Show them the riches of Christ so that they do not feel deprived when you won't buy them the latest and greatest. Teach them to love others and not posessions. Teach them to be entertained by what is good and pure, not by what is evil. Teach them to always be honest and let God do the protecting. Teach them to choose the ways of life not death. And spoil them rotten with your time and attention :)
Don't be afraid. Don't allow the pop-psycho-patterns of this world to persuade you away from what you know to be true. If God's Word applies to you than it applies to your children as well!
And if you desire to give your children something you don't have- peace, joy, patience, righteousness, etc. then get it for yourself first. Seek God. Ask Him, expect Him, to show Himself to you in a way that speaks to you personally. Put that burden on Him, it's His job to be God, not ours.