Praying for Your Child’s Heart this Valentines Day…

Painted Heart



“A heart-based approach to parenting isn’t easy, but it’s where the significant work is done in a child’s life.”

Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller, RN, BSN


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8



As Valentines Day looms ever closer, spouses are scrambling to find thoughtful gifts for one another, major retail outlets are churning out unbelievable amounts of chocolate and roses, and it’s difficult to buy so much as a tank of gas without finding cute little heart decorations adorning every imaginable surface. None of this is bad, but as our families are drowning in hearts this week, it might be a good time to ask yourself this question:

When was the last time I prayed for my child’s heart?

Parenting is, hands-down, the most difficult job in the world. It can be lonely work at times, as we pour every ounce of our energy into shaping and discipling our children, only to have them stubbornly hold on to sinful habits. The entire world seems to be watching, and everyone seems to assume that they could do a better job. As parents, we desperately want someone to talk to about our fears and frustrations, but often worry that opening up to someone will just end up in another lecture.

I think it’s time we talked to God about our children’s sinful hearts.




Behaving Badly – A Matter of the Heart

According to Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, authors of The Christian Parenting Handbook, using negative consequences and positive rewards to modify a child’s behavior will do nothing to help them in the long run. It will simply change their actions – temporarily. If we want to set our children up for lifelong success, then we must take time to mold their hearts.

Turansky and Miller suggest making a list of all your child’s negative behaviors and asking yourself, “Where are the common threads? What character traits does my child need help with?” Then they suggest that parents find creative ways to help their children develop these traits.

Right now, my three-year-old son is struggling with anger issues. As his father, I would be devastated if he walked through the rest of his life with an angry heart. My job, then, is to find as many creative ways as I can to teach him how good it feels to treat others with kindness and love. (Any ideas, by the way?)

Of course, we can push our kids in the right direction all day long, but at the end of the day there’s only One with the ability to actually change their hearts. We need God’s help with this.




Offering Our Child’s Heart to God

Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” This is a great reminder that God has the ability to give our children a clean heart and a right spirit. And just imagine what an impact that would have on their daily behavior!

Parents – you’re not alone in the “Worried Hearts Club.” We all struggle with how to develop strong character in our children, and we all face the consequences that result from the spiritual war that is constantly raging for our children’s hearts. As an adoptive parent, this daily battle seems even more apparent, because my wife and I are working with wounded hearts. But no matter your situation, the truth is plain – each of us need to wake up daily and pray fervently for our children’s hearts!




Cute Symbol = Call to Pray

As you brace yourself for Valentines Day Madness this week, try looking at those countless heart-shaped decorations as more than a medieval symbol of romantic love. Each time you see a heart, let it serve as a reminder for you to stop and pray for the hearts of your children.

Do I still worry over the condition of my child’s heart? You bet. But at least I know that I’m not walking into the “open-heart surgery” that we call parenting alone.




“It’s never too late to influence your children. Keep praying, and enjoy the hope God gives to us all. He’s in the business of changing people.”

Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller, RN, BSN


23 thoughts on “Praying for Your Child’s Heart this Valentines Day…

  1. Parenting is hands down the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done. Our kids are adults now, but they still need our loving input on a regular basis. Laundry service and meal prep are just extra perks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the reminder to pray for our children’s hearts. Ultimately God is the only one who can mold our children into His image.
    May God continue to give you grace and wisdom in parenting. I understand the challenges of raising adoptive children – we’ve been blessed with five.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Ruth – that is such an amazing testimony to God’s blessings – for you and also for those five lucky kids! Thanks for your prayers… we’ll just continue trusting their little hearts into God’s capable hands and hang on for the ride!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought Valentines Day is normally celebrated by those who are Valentines or lovers or couples or someone in a sort of relationship. I never knew it’s even related to Child’s Heart till now. May I ask, is this something to do with any religion or cultural ritual? Many thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather – you’re exactly right that Valentines Day is typically thought of as a day to celebrate with the one you love most. Most people automatically think of romantic love, but my parents always gave me a special gift on Valentines Day when I was young, and I know many families who look for ways to let their children know how loved and appreciated they are on this day.

      Glad you stopped by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is beautiful! I love your emphasis on prayer:)

    I’m not in a position to cry expert, but we have tried to get God’s word into our children’s minds. My husband grew up reading Proverbs with his mom daily, so we try to regularly choose a verse or 5 whose chapters coordinate with the day of the month. and I periodically choose a Psalm to memorize. Even our 3yos have been able to participate. I discovered the hard way that when someone gets out of line, it’s more helpful to remind them of what God said, rather than ” haven’t I told you…”

    Little ones are like sponges and absorb a lot of the attitudes we display. It’s been humbling to realize that certain flaws I see in my kids are a result of my own poor example. Asking God to adjust my own heart is important, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are such great thoughts, Heather. We have a Bible Time each evening while the kids eat their bedtime snack, and you’re right – knowing Scripture has made such a difference for our 7-year-old!

      Parenting is such an awesome responsibility, but also such a cool opportunity. May we all help our children to “soak in” the right things!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Listening to what your child says isn’t the same as hearing their message. There is a subtle difference but it is there. Your child’s face will tell you whether you heard them. That smile of relief is priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent post, John Mark! I’m sharing with our home educators’ Facebook group…thanks! My birthday is Valentine’s Day and sometimes I cringe at what the day has become (lingerie, etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing my post, Lynn! Believe it or not, I was a homeschooled student myself, and am thrilled that you’re sending it to your home educators group…

      I agree that Valentines Day has become very commercial, but love that we as Christians can redeem it as a time to let our loved ones (spouses and children) know how much they mean to us. Have a blessed day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to pray for my daughter’s hearts. My mother in law once told me how she used to pray for my husband and his brother when they were still babies. She even prayed for their future wives. It was very special to think that all that time she had been praying for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really love that – what a sweet gift from your mother-in-law! I heard a preacher once who said that when he graduated high school his father told him that he had prayed for him every day since the day he was born… I can’t think of a better gift to give our children!


    1. You have some really great ideas in this post. My kids are 20 and 26 now. I homeschooled both of them. Like so many kids in that situation, they had a dad that worked full-time, and a mom that was with them a huge amount of the time. I wish I could say that I was an excellent example for them, but I wasn’t…still am not. The prayer is so good for parents, because we must constantly be reminded that our children are His workmanship. It can be so stressful for the parent if they forget that. Here I am 48 years old and I still have to pray that way, because you never quit caring. I had a poem that I kept on my refrigerator for years. I will share it with you. I included it in a post devoted to moms that I wrote a few years ago. I hope it blesses you.


      by: Leslie Pinckney Hill (1880-1960)
      •ORD, who am I to teach the way
      To little children day by day,
      So prone myself to go astray? I teach them KNOWLEDGE, but I know
      How faint they flicker and how low
      The candles of my knowledge glow. I teach them POWER to will and do,
      But only now to learn anew
      My own great weakness through and through. I teach them LOVE for all mankind
      And all God’s creatures, but I find
      My love comes lagging far behind. Lord, if their guide I still must be,
      Oh let the little children see
      The teacher leaning hard on Thee.

      “The Teacher” is reprinted from The Book of American Negro Poetry. Ed. James Weldon Johnson. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922.


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