Cry Out with—Not Just for—Your Children

Arise, cry out in the night,
  at the beginning of the night watches!
Pour out your heart like water
  before the presence of the Lord!
Lift your hands to him
  for the lives of your children,
who faint for hunger
  at the head of every street.
Lamentations 2:19

When I was twelve years old, I awakened in the night to find my mother fully dressed and looking out the window at our old country road. (I would later learn she was anticipating the arrival of my Nana who would stay with us so my mom could go to the hospital. My father, a volunteer firefighter, had been in an explosion and she did not know how badly he was injured.) 

I remember feeling fearful at the strange sight and asking her what she was doing. Her reply, “I’m praying. Do you want to pray with me?”

I said, “Yes.”

She did not share the details of her fear, but told me that my dad had been fighting a fire and we should pray. She invited me into the battle! I distinctly remember the feeling of fear giving way to faith as I slipped back to sleep. 

If you ask my mother or father, they will tell you that was one of the most difficult years of their lives as my father healed from terrible burns and they fought back other hardships including great financial setbacks and some relational challenges. 

I remember it as the year my prayer life blossomed!

I believe that one of the most important times to pray with our children is not at dinner or when we are tucking them into bed, but when the world is messy. And it is messy right now. 

As Nancy and I were recording the first few days of the Revive Our Hearts Cry Out! podcasts for this month, I felt a very special challenge rise up in my heart. And today I present it to you: cry out to God with your children and grandchildren this month.

Oh, I know you are praying for them. As the founder of True Girl, a ministry that brings moms and daughters closer to each other and closer to Jesus, I receive angsty emails daily from moms and grandmothers burdened for the body, mind, souls, and spirits of their children and grandchildren. I often challenge those women to pray with the ones they’re so concerned about. I think difficult years and seasons are an invitation to do just that. Such was the setting of Lamentations 2:19, where the imagery of “pouring out” prayers for children seemed to be both a messy and urgent business!

Sisters, this is no month of spa-retreat prayers. This is a messy month of war-time intercession. And like it or not, our children and grandchildren are in the battle. Let’s not leave them to experience only the fear of this year, but invite them to walk through it in faith by joining us in crying out to God. 

It just might be the year they remember as the one in which their prayer life blossomed!

What to Pray

  • Pray for God to move in the hearts of children and grandchildren this month—that He would call them to a vibrant relationship with Himself and bring back prodigals.
  • Pray with one or all of the children in your life today. Then make a mental note to pray with each of them at least once during this month’s Cry Out! Challenge.

How to Pray

God is our refuge and strength,
  a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
  though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
  though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
  the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
  God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
  he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our fortress.
(Psalm 46:1-7)

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About the Author

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

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