By Tonya Allen

Do you remember turning 18 years old? In America, turning 18 is a great milestone for every citizen.  At this age, you are legally considered an adult and you are able to vote in local,state, and national elections. You are a high school graduate and you are trying to decide whether you would like to join the military, continue your education, or enter into the workforce. Some people may argue that the 21st birthday is the greatest milestone because you are now of legal age and can drink alcohol and exercise more freedom than at 18.  I am the mother of two adult children, the most celebrated birthday for me and my husband was when my youngest child turned 18. You may wonder why we are singling out one birthday in particular.  

On the morning of my son’s 18th birthday, my youngest child, my husband grabbed my hands and began to pray.  His words blessed me because it was a prayer of gratitude. A prayer filled with adoration and appreciation because the Lord allowed us to raise our children.  When the youngest child turns 18, legally, if something happens to both parents, they are supposed to be able to take care of themselves. I am sure that most of us know that an 18 year old may not be mentally or financially ready to provide for themselves but they will at least be able to decide which family member they can live with until they are able to venture out on their own.  Most definitely, not end up in the foster care system. As parents, we often pray, “Lord, please let me raise my children. No one can raise them better than I can.” When the Lord awards us this blessing, do we remember to then say, “Lord, thank you for allowing me to raise my children. I know that there were many people that asked the same of you and left this world without being able to raise their children, but you gave me that divine gift and I just want to say thanks.”

At this point, your prayers will definitely change.  Now, you are beginning to cover your adult children in prayer.  I recently attended a counseling workshop where the speaker was discussing the “Emerging Adult” stage of adulthood.  The parent side of me was thinking, “Here we go, more excuses to why this generation is so lazy.” The counselor side of me was curious and intrigued by what the presenter was saying.  The emerging adult phase is between ages 18-25 and it is a time of exploration. Our children are trying to “find themselves”. While as a parent, we want them to find themselves quickly because we do not have the desire to fund this phase of their lives. 

Most of our generation did not have the luxury of finding ourselves and our parents footing the bills while we did so. They have more freedom than adolescents and fewer responsibilities than young adults. They feel not-quite-adult but not-quite-adolescent.  Adult status is reached as emerging adults learn to accept responsibility for themselves, make their own decisions, and become financially independent. We are all asking the Lord the same question in our prayers at this point, “Lord, when will my child grow up?” or “Lord, how much longer do I have to keep providing for this adult child?”   My prayer life has taken on a totally different perspective because I had to realize that I am not their solution to their problems, GOD IS!!  

Let me share with you my new prayer for my emerging adult children and I let them know that I am praying for them:

Dear Lord,

Teach me Lord how to be the parent that my adult child needs and deserves.  Show me how to listen with your ears and to speak with your tongue. Show me how to accept your will for their lives above my own expectations.  Let my walk be a shining example of living a Christian life. Please allow me to continue being a teacher in the lives of my children, showing them how to die daily, confessing my sins, and asking for repentance.  Lord, please direct our children back to us when they make mistakes and let us be prepared to receive them and provide necessary advice. Please let them be an example of discipleship to their peers. Continue to strengthen their identity in you. Show me a fair arrangement for my child to physically and financially support our home.  Lord, show me how to be a fair and loving landlord to my adult children. Show me how to respect and treat them as adults. Sharpen my parenting skills so that my actions will not cause them to slip back into teenager mode. I declare and decree that my children will be blessed with spouses that have a heart for you. I claim stable and loving homes for them and their future children.

Teach my child contentment for when things do not work out the way he or she planned.  Lord, please give my child a heart for service, a heart of compassion and a desire for them to live their lives for you. Bless my child with wisdom or the ability to seek necessary wisdom when making life altering decisions.  Strengthen their decision making skills and lead them back to their parents when they need to find consolace. Instill in our children that they must continue to follow the rules of the home and respect their parents.  

I pray Colossians 1:9-12 over the lives of my children.  Please let my children be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Please let them walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work, and continue to grow in their knowledge of him.  Let my children be strengthened with all power, endurance, and let them give thanks to the Lord.

I ask all of these things in the matchless name of Jesus, I do pray, AMEN

I need for my adult children to know that I am praying for them regularly.  Praying for them is not a small thing, it is actually the best resource that I have. They may not want my help, resent my advice, or ignore my wishes, but they cannot stop me from praying for them.

Tonya Allen

Tonya can be reached at [email protected].  She has been working with incarcerated youth and young adults as a math teacher and school counselor for over 16 years.

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