Prayers for Parents

Day 13: Stay Within The Lines

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
—Ephesians 6:4

Several years ago, an automobile manufacturer ran a commercial that opened with a group of young students coloring at a table; their teacher looked on, instructing them to “stay within the lines.” The students recited this instruction, adding, “The lines are our friends.”

Children need boundaries. They need their parents to create and uphold a safe environment for them—an environment where they can be heard and their feelings validated, but where they are encouraged to follow rules and practice patience, obedience, and cooperation. Boundaries, when set and kept in loving ways, help children feel safe and secure. Naturally, children are disappointed when they don’t get their own way, but even when they push the boundaries and become upset when you uphold them, ultimately they will still feel a sense of security.

Without boundaries, children can become anxious, rebellious, and self-centered. They may even feel anger and resentment toward their parents for a lack of boundaries. Remember, boundary setting is a part of discipline, and discipline communicates love.

Prayers for parents
  • Thank God for giving us boundaries that are designed to keep us safe and secure.
  • Ask God to help you (and the other household, in the case of co-parenting) set the right boundaries for your children—rules that will teach them how to practice patience, obedience, and respect for authority, and that those boundaries will keep them safe.
  • Pray that God will give you the courage and strength to uphold the boundaries you set, especially when your children push against them, and the wisdom to know when to be flexible.