Since becoming a mother my prayers have been pretty interesting. For example, last week on a particularly frustrating day at the end of the day while cradling my daughter in my arms as I put her to sleep I prayed "Please help her to learn the word no, and to respond accordingly."
I have noticed that as I have prayed on behalf of my daughter I consider the life she will lead. I am very much a tough love type of person. Perhaps it is the educator coming out in me, perhaps it is because I know the value of pain, but sometimes my prayers go something like this:
"bless her beautiful mind and body to grow strong, bless her that she will be able to make the right kind of mistakes and that she will learn to get back on the path quickly. Bless her to know the pain that others can cause so that she will not cause others pain, bless her to know joy and happiness."
Sometimes the words just come out of me. I don't want my daughter to have everything she wants. I've seen kids that have everything they want and they aren't happy. They may have fun but they do not have joy in the long run. I want my daughter to be an influence for good in peoples lives. I want her to be a tool for good in God's hands and I believe that children can only do this by experience.
There was an article in the New York Times about a mother who gave her son a map and some money and dropped him off at a Subway station with a few instructions. She then told him to find his way home. I think he was about 6 years old. What a lesson in self reliance.
Personally I would never leave my 6 year old to find her way home but in a lot of ways that is what this life is about. We are trying to find our way home and we need to have many kinds of experiences in order for that to happen.
I love my child more than anything in this world and I will hurt when she hurts, I worry for her happiness and safety, more than that I worry about her happiness and safety when she has left the security of our home. More than anything I pray for the ability to lead her to straight and narrow paths so that she can find her own way home. I pray to be able to give her the tools to succeed, rather than simply praying for her success.