In the introduction of UPSIDE-DOWN PRAYERS FOR PARENTS, author Lisa T. Bergren advises: “This is not a sweet and gentle devotional. It wrestles with thirty-one issues that will most likely drive us to our knees, praying ourselves or our children through them.” That warning is confirmed as soon as you read the title of the first devotional, which is, “I pray you’ll get caught doing things wrong --- and find the good and true path.”
Praying something like that seems a bit, well, upside-down. But that’s the point. As parents, we tend to want to pray all goodness and blessing into our children’s lives. And we should! But if we truly trust God enough to give our kids up to Him (they are really His, after all), then we should find freedom instead of fear in these types of prayers.
As the author reminds us, it is usually in times of trouble, challenge and heartache that we grow --- in character and in faith. It’s never easy to watch our children struggle or deal with the consequences of their mistakes or sin, but oftentimes it’s only then that they will learn a necessary lesson or experience a breakthrough in their Christian walk. As parents, we need to focus on the outcome instead of the circumstance itself.
"Bergren introduces us to a beautiful, if difficult, way to pray for our children. UPSIDE-DOWN PRAYERS FOR PARENTS is a guide to be read and utilized many times over, as parents entrust their kids to the One who created them."
In this book of 31 devotions, you’ll find titles that may initially make you cringe or resist, such as: “I pray you’ll lose a job --- and know that your Provider has not forgotten you.” “I pray your beliefs will be challenged --- and the roots of your faith will be strengthened.” “I pray you’ll experience unanswered prayers --- and develop deeper, wider trust.” “I pray you’ll watch a friendship fade --- and discover the value of heart-friends who go the distance.”
Each devotion begins with a scripture on which the reflection is based and ends with a prayer to recite. There is also a “Making it Personal” question, with space to journal your own answer. For example, the devotion “I pray you’ll know fear --- and find courage in living with God beside you” asks the question, “What do you fear most, right now? What if it came to pass? How do you think God might step in, before, during, or afterward?”
Finally, each devotion ends with a suggestion on how to make that particular prayer relevant for your own kids, both for young and older children. In the devotion “I pray you’ll suffer loss --- and witness how your Creator can use all things for good,” the Making it Relevant question for younger children is: How does God comfort us when we’re sad? And for older children: Why do you think God allows good people to suffer and struggle? These are questions that wonderfully open the door to discussion.
Bergren introduces us to a beautiful, if difficult, way to pray for our children. UPSIDE-DOWN PRAYERS FOR PARENTS is a guide to be read and utilized many times over, as parents entrust their kids to the One who created them. Of course, one of the greatest things moms and dads can do is model this type of prayer themselves, and use their own shortcomings, difficulties and challenges as life lessons for their kids.
Keep this book on your nightstand. Refer to it often. As the author states in the introduction, “The topics (explored) touch on truths we want our children to learn sooner rather than later, truths that offer the security of knowing they will always be loved and will never be alone.”
That statement is as right side up as you can get.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on February 13, 2013