By Christina Fox
“I just don’t know what to do.” I said to my husband. “I feel so helpless.”
One of my boys has been going through something and I don’t know what to do to help him. I feel inadequate, helpless, and insufficient. And I don’t like it.
One of my greatest struggles as a mother is not knowing what to do in every situation. I don’t like all the unexpected things that happen, the curve balls that get thrown my way, and my lack of control over my circumstances. It seems like just when I get comfortable with motherhood, things change. My kids go through a new phase or battle new sins.
And so I wonder, perhaps that’s why motherhood is filled with the unexpected. Perhaps I am supposed to feel helpless. Maybe I am not supposed to know what to do in every situation and maybe I’m never going to feel like everything is in control.
Because then I have to trust and depend on Christ in every moment.
Dependence Through Prayer
One of the greatest ways I have come to depend on Christ is through prayer. It is in prayer where the gospel incarnates in my heart. My utter need for Christ and his grace is lived out when my head and heart is bowed in prayer. I come to the throne of grace filled with burdens, worries, and cares and give them to Christ. I pray for my son, trusting in the same grace that saved me at the cross to also sustain me and give me wisdom to help him. In prayer, I trust not in myself and my own abilities as a mother, but in the strength and sufficiency of Christ.
For many of us, prayer is not the first thing we think of when we have a parenting struggle. Often, we seek out external solutions to our problems. We research the internet, ask our friends, or pull out our favorite parenting book. But the reality is, prayer is the most important parenting tool we have.
One powerful truth about prayer is that God does things through prayer that might not happen otherwise. John Piper wrote in A Godward Life that some things God ordains to come to pass only through the agency of prayer. If that something is not prayed for, it will not happen. “If God predestined that something happen in answer to prayer, it won’t happen without prayer.” 
This ought to bring us to our knees. God is the one who works in our children’s hearts. He is the one who transforms their hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. He is the one who breathes the breath of life into them and makes them a new creation in Christ. The reality is, the things that matter most for our children “cannot be produced by man, but only by God.”  What is it that matters most in the lives and hearts of our children? Faith in Christ, conviction of sin, love for the things of God, love for others, love for God’s Word, desire to serve Christ, etc.
These very things were what the Apostle Paul prayed for those he loved in the church. He prayed for their hearts and for the power of Christ to be at work in them. The prayers of Paul have guided me in my own prayers for my children. They have helped me focus on those things that matter most to my children’s heart.
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might” (Eph. 1:16-19; see also Phil. 1:9, Eph. 3:16-19,Col. 1:9-12)
When it comes to motherhood, prayer is essential. It is the cure to helplessness. We have to give God the burdens we carry for the hearts of our children. God in his grace uses our prayers for our children to carry out his will in their lives. So many things that we worry and despair over, things that we rely on in our own strength, or the latest parenting book ought to be committed to God in prayer. Prayer should be our first resort, not what we run to when everything else fails.
While I feel helpless about the struggles my son is going through, I know God is not helpless. I trust and depend that he will use my prayers to carry out his will in my son’s heart. I pray through the prayers of Paul, praying that my son might know the hope to which Christ has called him. If you have concerns for your children today, do not neglect to pray about it. Bring your helplessness before the throne and depend not on yourself, but on the grace of Christ to do the work in your child’s heart.
 Piper, John. A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (2009) p.144.
 Piper, John. (Accessed January 2014). Sweet “Our” of Prayer Desiring God.org Retrieved from: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/sweet-our-of-prayer
Christina Fox (@toshowthemjesus) has her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is licensed in mental health counseling. She is a writer, blogger, and regular contributor to ministry publications and websites such as Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. She spends her days homeschooling her two boys and in her free time enjoys reading, writing, and antiquing. Christina and her husband of seventeen years reside in sunny South Florida. You can find her sharing her faith journey at www.toshowthemjesus.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/
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