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     Unless the Lord builds the house, Those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Ps. 127:1-3

Dear heavenly Father, it’s a joy to address you today as the architect and builder of your own house—including the household of faith and my children’s place in your family.

As I look back over the years of my pragmatic, gospel-lite parenting, I have a lot of regrets and sadness; but I’m also comforted by the assurance of your sovereignty and faithfulness, even when I was overbearing and under-believing. The move from parenting by grit to parenting by grace has been a slow journey, but one which continues to stretch me. Take me deeper; take me further.

Father, thank you for rescuing me from parental “laboring in vain”—assuming a burden you never intended parents to bear; for only you can reveal the glory and grace of Jesus to our children. Only you can give anyone a new heart. You’ve called us to parent as an act of worship—to parent “as unto you,” not as a way of saving face, making a name for ourselves, or proving our worthiness of your love.

Oh, the arrogant pride of thinking that by our “good parenting” we can take credit for what you alone accomplish in the lives of our children. Oh, the arrogant unbelief of assuming that by our “bad parenting” we’ve forever limited what you will be able to accomplish in the future. Oh, the undue pressure our children must feel when we parent more out of our fear and pride than by your love and grace.

Since our children and grandchildren are your inheritance, Father, teach us how to care for them as humble stewards, not as anxious owners. More than anything else, show us how to parent and grandparent in a way that best reveals the unsearchable riches of Jesus in the gospel.

Give us quick repentances and observable kindnesses. Convict us quickly and surely when we do not relate to your covenant children “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Gal. 2:14). Restore the years eaten away by our moralistic, pragmatic, guilt-laced, fear-filled parenting. Write stories of redemption between us and our kids that clearly reveal your name to be Redeemer. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ faithful and glorious name.



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3 thoughts on “A Prayer for Parenting by Grace”

  1. anonymous says:

    I think what Paul might be saying is, it is time to make this stand: as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD; we will serve the LORD our God and we will obey His voice. Josh 24:15,24 *note Raise sb raze

  2. suzanne b. says:

    This prayer is so helpful and good that it has me in tears. I am printing it out to keep close. Thank you, Scotty. :)

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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