I almost felt irritated the first time I heard my mom pray it.
It wouldn’t be until years later that I realized she was just agreeing with Scripture. But that night I lay there, listening to the words as they rested heavy on me. I shrugged and drifted off to sleep, wondering if God would answer her.
The prayer was simple and heartfelt. “Lord, don’t allow my daughter to keep any sin hidden. Bring every struggle to the light, so she can be free.”
For years I felt frustrated that God seemed to take her seriously. I knew my friends got away with all kinds of stuff, and I couldn’t even tell one little lie without it being known.
But then, eventually, there was one sin that seemed to rest heavy on me for much longer and I was trapped and hurting and hated the feeling. So I crawled the feet of Jesus and begged for His forgiveness and grace. Freedom rained down and oh, glory, this was what my mother was praying I would know. The freedom of living in the light.
By the time I reached adulthood, I had come to embrace, even celebrate, this gift God had graced me with, brought about partially, I’m sure, through the prayers of my parents.
My sin revealed, so I could be forgiven and set free.
Praying Over Your Kids
Now I’m the mother and I’m looking at my babies and I’m watching the battle with darkness and the temptations to cover sin and hide. Like the Father, who stepped into the garden and knew well what Adam and Eve had done, but still called out, “Where are you?”— there are many times that I walk into a room and know very well that something is off with my children and I usually have a pretty good idea what it is. Still, I say quietly, “What’s going on, children?” Giving them a chance to acknowledge and bring to light whatever it was they were hiding.
And just like my mother before me, I pray the same thing over them, day after day after day.
“Lord, bring every sin to light, that my children might live free.”
And sometimes I can’t even tell you how or why I know what happened. Sometimes I just stumble on the truth or God won’t let me ignore something. I often tell my husband later that I just happened to look in the right place to see the evidence, without any thought of finding what was hidden.
I often think of the story Steve Chapman tells in his book, A Dad’s Guide to Praying for His Kids, when he tried so hard to hide the evidence of his sin but his mother ended up finding it and asking him about it.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to know. I get so tired of dealing with stuff, if some could just slip past, that’d be great with me! But then God settles truth into me again.
Like the day my son told me, with tears in his eyes, that he was so thankful that Daddy and Mommy pray for his sin to not stay hidden. “I feel so yucky when I’m hiding stuff. It makes my belly hurt and I get so angry. I hate the darkness. I just want to live in the light.”
Amen. Amen. Amen.
Why Praying this Prayer Over Your Kids Matters
Of course, the real reason this prayer is so important is simple. It’s not just for my children, though, of course, I want them to be in the light–but also for me.
Even now, as an adult, loving Jesus, raising my family, writing for God’s glory… I still feel the temptation to live hidden. To close my heart to truth and argue for my own rights and privileges– instead of surrendering and humbly acknowledging my sin and my need for His grace.
But I can’t live hidden when I’m praying for my children to be in the light. God just won’t let me. He is, after all, the original parent who calls His children from the path of darkness into the beauty of light. He was the first to offer a chance at freedom and everything we know on parenting well was learned at His feet.
Let’s teach out children how to live in the light by first choosing to live there. Let’s teach them how to discipline themselves by disciplining ourselves to acknowledge our own failings. Let’s teach them what it means to be free by choosing to surrender to the Savior and Redeemer.
And let’s whisper the prayer over them and over our own hearts:
Lord, bring every sin to light that we might live free.
May we never be able to look good while we’re dying inside. May we, instead, bring our brokenness to the light, that we might be made whole.
Oh, friends, can you imagine a generation that understood the beauty of living in the light?
Let’s be the start of that today.
Amen. Amen. Amen.