Sunday, March 24, 2013
Book Review: Upside-Down Prayers for Parents by Lisa T. Bergren
From the publisher:
It’s our instinct as parents to shield our children from harm. But our true responsibility is to raise children equipped to live well for God even in the midst of struggle. Upside-Down Prayers for Parents encourages us to pray for our children in ways we may never have before:
• I pray you’ll get caught doing things wrong—and experience the power of confession.
• I pray your prayers will go unanswered—and you’ll find a deeper trust in Him.
• I pray you’ll fail in things that don’t matter—and learn what matters to God.
• I pray you’ll encounter battles—and discover that God is your greatest ally.
By turning our prayers “upside down,” we not only learn to release our children to the care of God alone, we also uncover how our own desires need to be submitted to God’s will.
Each entry in this thirty-one-day devotional includes a short reflection, a Scripture verse, and ideas to jump-start conversations between you and your child or teenager. Together you’ll discover a deeper trust in God that will help you make it through the upside-down times with a right-side-up perspective.
As parents, we want what's best for our children. We pray that they do right, that they don't get into trouble and that nothing bad ever happens to them. It's only natural, right? This devotional, 'Upside Down Prayers for Parents: 31 Daring Devotions for Entrusting Your Child-and Yourself-to God' by Lisa T. Bergren challenges us as parents to reconsider the way that we pray for our children. Rather than praying that everything goes perfectly in their lives, she asks us to pray that they face hardships, disappointment and loss so that they may learn to rely on God through those tough times.
To some extent, I understand the concept and agree with some of the prayers in this book...such as Day 6, "I pray you'll sweat-and learn what it means to work hard for what's worthwhile' or Day 9 "I pray you'll experience unanswered prayers-and develop deeper, wider trust". The reality is, life has its downhill moments, and we are often made stronger and wiser because of them, and we can use them as a chance to grow closer to God. On that point, I completely understand and respect the message of the book. We as parents cannot just pray that everything goes perfectly in our child's life, we must also teach them how to handle and learn from the not so great experiences.
However, there are other prayers that make me think twice about the message of the book, such as Day 11 "I pray you'll know what it is to be lonely-and find intimacy with the One who is always beside you." Yes, the second part of that prayer is positive, but there is something about this one that rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it is because I have a child with Autism and pray for nothing more than for him to be able to develop meaningful relationships and not be alone in his life (rather that means friendship, a romantic relationship, etc)...I could never pray for my child to be alone for that very reason. I could also never pray that he be shattered or be forced to give up on a dream...in his life, he will experience more trials, hardship, discrimination, etc than any child should have to...and I cannot imagine praying any more of that upon him.
Overall, I suppose I'm a bit torn. As I said, I think the ideas behind the book are good, but I still can't fully stand behind the concept. It's definitely a worthwhile and thought provoking read regardless on if you fully agree or not. It will make you think and also remind you in your own life to look at those moments as a blessing in disguise...or at least a chance to learn and grow anyway!
You can decide for yourself by purchasing here.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own.