Prayer For Those Who Make Bad Choices
I was recently talking with a friend about the bad choices our kids make sometimes. We talked about how it breaks our hearts as parents to have to not only see them make bad choices but then to have to watch them experience the consequences. Then we discussed how similar God must feel when He has to do this with us when we make bad choices. I remembered journaling about this very thing a few years back. I went back through my journals, and here is what I had written:
August 3, 2010
A Good But Just Parent…
My sister and I were just talking tonight about how I was frustrated with my kids lately. They seem to be misbehaving a little more than usual. I think they may be having a bit of cabin fever. Summer is nearly over and school is going to start soon. We haven’t been able to do as many of our usual activities as I would like due to the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing. It’s been miserable to do outside activities like the zoo, Big Splash, the pool, the park, golf, etc. Anyhow, I’ve been planning and wanting to do some fun stuff with them before the summer gets out, but it never fails that when I have a fun activity planned, they misbehave. I end up canceling and postponing our fun. I don’t really want to reward them when they’re behavior is bad, but at the same time it makes me so sad because I really want to do nice things for them and fun things with them. All of a sudden I had the thought, “I bet God feels like this sometimes.” It made me laugh because of how true it was. How many times has God wanted to bless us or do nice things for us, and we’ve just tied his hands? As much as we love and want to bless our children, our heavenly Father wants to do even more for us.
“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (NLT)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
He’s a better parent than we are, yet still very just. Our sin separates us from God. His hands are tied by OUR wrongdoing.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 (NIV)
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing…” Habakkuk 1:13a (NIV)
We need to rid our lives of sin and be obedient to God’s word. In return, God can shower us with blessings. God’s will is to bless those who do right. God wants more for us than we can ask or even imagine for ourselves. Our job is to obey and follow his guidance and directions and to make good choices, not bad choices.
“You bless all those who follow your commands from deep in their hearts.” Psalm 119:2 (CEV)
“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” Psalm 106:3 (NIV)
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
We have to make choices, between good and bad/life and death, every day. Who we are depends on the choices we make. We are also where we are now because of the choices we have made in the past. The choices we make will determine the circumstances we end up with in our future. Our choices will hold responsibility and consequences. We will be held accountable for the choices we make. We are not victims. We are not a product of our environment–We are a product of our choices. So how can we help people we care about that are making bad choices?
Take Some Practical Steps When People You Care About Are Making Bad Choices:
The most important and powerful thing that I know to do is to pray. Prayer is extremely powerful and produces results (James 5:16). Here is a prayer that you can pray when people you care about are making bad choices (I’ve listed the scriptures upon which this prayer is based below):
Lord, bless _____ and help them to follow your commands from deep in their hearts. Help them to never do wrong or turn from you. Keep them from doing something foolish. Help them to live a clean life by obeying your word. Keep them from being the fool who thinks his own way is right, and show them to be wise by listening to the advice and counsel of others. Help them to realize that they are hurting themselves by their bad choices and poor decisions more than they are hurting you. Help them to not be conformed to the way the world does things. Transform them by changing the way they think in order to know and do your will. Keep Satan from outsmarting them. Help them to recognize his evil schemes before they make bad choices. Help them to submit themselves to God and resist the devil and his schemes so that he will flee. Do not let them be overcome by evil, but instead help them to overcome evil with good. Teach them your truth and make them holy by it. When they are exposed to things that don’t line up with your word and will, help them to stand firm in that truth and to take every thought captive that might encourage them to make bad choices. Please guide them with the truth in all choices and decisions that they make. Show them by your Holy Spirit how their decisions will affect their future in any situation that they may find themselves, and open their eyes to help them see the consequences of any bad choices. Instruct them even as they are sleeping. Help them to realize that they are not alone in their temptations. Give them strength when they are tempted, and show them the way out of tempting situations. Help them to know and listen to your voice only and not listen to the voice of a stranger. Help them to know your will and fill them with wisdom and understanding. Give them the desire and the ability (through Jesus) to do the right thing and to stop making bad choices. Equip them with everything they need to do your will and to please you. Let any bad choices they make be found out. From this day forward, Lord, help them to make good choices and not bad choices. Help them to choose life and blessings and not death and curses. I ask these things in Jesus’ name.
If it seems overwhelming to pray ALL of this, just pick a few things out at a time to pray for!
Scriptures this prayer was based upon:
“You bless all those who follow your commands from deep in their hearts and who never do wrong or turn from you. You have ordered us always to obey your teachings; I don’t ever want to stray from your laws. Thinking about your commands will keep me from doing some foolish thing…Young people can live a clean life by obeying your word.” Psalm 119:2-6, 9 (CEV)
“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Proverbs 12:15 (NLT)
“Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the LORD. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”” Jeremiah 7:19 (NLT)
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)
“so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NLT)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (NIV)
“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” John 17:17 (NLT)
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place” Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” John 16:13 (NLT)
“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:7 (NIV)
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:4-5 (NIV)
“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Colossians 1:9 (NLT)
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” Romans 7:18 (ESV)
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” Romans 7:25 (NLT)
“May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.” Hebrews 13:21 (NLT)
“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” Luke 8:17 (NLT)
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT)
Is there anything specific you pray for people making bad choices? Leave a comment below (click on the post link to join the conversation if you’re viewing through e-mail).
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