Today’s prayer focus as we pray for our children is: SELF-CONTROL.

Practicing self-control means controlling emotions, thoughts and behavior in the face of difficulty.

That’s easy to say, but hard to do—especially for young children. Developing self-control can be unpleasant and downright painful, but it is necessary. The worst thing parents can do is to prevent their children from the struggle of developing a healthy sense of self-control.

That’s what I almost did.

Third grade was really difficult for my daughter, Caroline. Watching her struggle with multiplication tables, book reports and science projects was so frustrating. I felt sorry for her. I often blamed myself. Third grade should be fun and easy, why is it so tough? Poor thing, she has to work so hard! I thought, tearfully.

We worked with her (a lot). We hired a tutor. We barely scraped by.
And honestly, if I could have prevented her struggle that year, I would have.

But because she learned to work hard and to not give up that year, she is now working on her doctorate. I wish I had grasped the lifelong value her struggle was achieving, then. Yes, it was an unpleasant year, but the self-control, strength and determination she gained is now yielding big returns.

As you pray today, consider areas in which your child needs to develop and practice greater self-control. Write out your prayers and tell the Lord why you are making each request. I’ve listed some areas of self-control below to help you get started:

Completing assignments.
Respecting those in authority.
Developing good habits.
Being kind to unkind people.
Doing what is right, instead of what is easy.
Controlling anger.
Setting meaningful goals.
Using clean language.
Persevering through difficulty.

If this is a tough year for your child, try to look beyond it. The struggle may be necessary to produce the qualities that will enable success in the future. Give support where you can, but don’t stand in the way. Pray that God will help your child meet difficulty with increasing self-control.

Here are some verses to encourage you as you pray:

“No training seems pleasant at the time. In fact, it seems painful. But later on, it produces a harvest of godliness and peace. It does this for those who have been trained by it.” Heb. 12:11 NIRV

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” Col. 3:23-24 NLT

“His grace teaches us to say no to godless ways and sinful desires. We must control ourselves. We must do what is right. We must lead godly lives in today’s world.” Titus 2:12 NIRV

Dear Lord, help us model self-control for our children. Help us to see the value that trials can provide. Develop greater self-control within our children this year, so that one day, a great harvest will be produced in their lives. Amen.

Over half of the 7 days of prayer are finished! Keep on praying! Have a great day!

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