“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32, NKJV).
Several years ago I talked with the leader of a Christian rehabilitation ministry, and he said that the most difficult young people to help are those of Christian parents. He went on to say, "They refuse to let their children suffer the consequences of their behavior.
"Often, they are concerned about how they will look in the eyes of others, or fear being judged and found lacking. Some will question their faith."
When we see our adult children under attack, we immediately begin fighting the devil. Satan becomes the focus of our prayers, and we fail to realize that each individual has to walk his own spiritual journey by his own free will.
If our children are to mature and develop character, we can't walk their paths for them. We have to allow each child to develop character and wait on God to direct our prayers.
In Luke 22:31-32 we read a conversation Jesus had with Peter, which shows the foreknowledge Jesus had of the trial Peter was facing. Jesus said to him: "'Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."'
Even though Jesus knew Satan's plan for Peter, Jesus did not rebuke the devil. He didn't stop the attack.
He did not try to control Peter's decision. Instead, He prayed for Peter, and He prayed for a positive outcome to his temptation.
We know that Peter yielded to temptation. But we only have to read the book of Acts and Peter's epistles to understand that God's will was done in his life.
God turned what Satan meant for destruction into development of Peter's character. Peter fulfilled his divine destiny.
We must learn how to trust God with our adult children—even when we can see the spiritual trials they are facing and the plan of Satan to ensnare them. We are so quick to blame the devil and to attack him with a vengeance.
Where is our trust? "Lord," we pray, "You have the power to deliver my child from the attack of the enemy. Don't let Satan harass him." Jesus, however, keeps praying, "Father, don't let his faith fail, but use this time to purify his faith."
Do we want it our way or God's way? Believe that your children will walk in truth. Remember, you were not too hard for God, and neither is the adult child for whom you are praying.
Germaine Copeland is the author of A Global Call to Prayer, the Prayers That Avail Much book series, 365 Days to a Prayer-Filled Life, and Prayers That Avail Much for Daily Living (Charisma House). She is also a contributing author of Women’s Destiny Bible (Thomas Nelson) and Impart Magazine.