by Matthew Mills
As parents, we have a unique opportunity to partner with Jesus in raising up our children to walk out His calling for their lives and to engage in the good works He has prepared for them. As a father, Paul exhorted Timothy to fight the good fight in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning him (1 Timothy 1:18).
Each child has a calling in the Lord, but the enemy seeks to derail that calling through discouragement and lies. Below are some tips to help parents fight for their children’s callings.
Discover your child’s calling.
Discovering your child’s calling is as simple as asking the Lord to reveal it to you. He can reveal it to you in a still small voice or through extraordinary situations or circumstances. Many parents feel the Lord gives them a specific name for their child in the womb, which has Biblical significance to the calling on that child’s life.
In my own life, Jesus very clearly spoke to me about the calling of my first two children before they were even conceived. This happened during a ministry time at church, when a lady was praying for us. She was praying about a housing need we were having, and while she was praying, my mind was wandering far to the future about having a child and wondering how to find a midwife. She suddenly got quiet, and then blurted out, “And I hear the Lord saying, ‘I am your midwife.'”
My mouth dropped open in disbelief that the Lord was clearly speaking to me through this woman, even knowing the thoughts I was thinking at that exact moment! And the Lord now had my full attention. The lady continued, “And I see your seed, and God is pouring His light into your seed, and your seed will grow into a tree that bears fruit that all nations will come to receive.”
With our third and fourth children, which were twins, I confidently asked the Lord to speak to me about their destinies while they were still in the womb, and He gave me a specific phrase for them. He confirmed what I felt through another lady at our church, whom He had told we were having twins before we even knew my wife was pregnant. If you didn’t know your child’s calling before birth, don’t worry. Maybe your child is an adult now. Still, it is never too late to ask Jesus the prophecies concerning your child.
Name your child according to his/her calling.
If parents know their children’s callings before they are born, they have a wonderful opportunity to name their children in accordance with those callings. Knowing that my first child was going to grow up like a tree and bear fruit for the nations, we named her Bay, after the bay tree. When we got pregnant with the second child, a girl, we had no intention of naming her after a tree as well, but we ended up naming her Magnolia.
I had prayed and asked for her calling, but I couldn’t think of anything except the first word we had received about our seed being a tree. We had three favorite names picked out: Rose, Pearl, and Magnolia, and we submitted those to the Lord during a long road trip and asked for a sign to show us which represented His calling for her life. I specifically (and secretly) prayed that my wife would see the sign before me. I had a dream the next night that someone asked me what I was going to name our unborn child, and I turned to see thousands of Magnolias beside me, and I replied, “Apparently, Magnolia.”
On our third day on the road, my wife shouts out “Magnolia Bay! Look at that sign!” I turned quickly to see a brand new hotel being built just off the interstate, with a gigantic sign: “Magnolia Bay Hotel.” That was our sign!
With our twins, we threw around some tree names, but I wanted to allow for different callings on their lives. When I asked for them, the phrase the Lord spoke to me concerning their callings was “captains of hundreds and fifties.” So I picked out strong military terms from the Bible that would remind me and them that they are destined to be strong leaders in His army: Arrow and Banner.
Names are powerful declarations, and every time I speak my children’s names, I am declaring and reminding them of the callings on their lives.
Pray for your child to enter into his/her calling.
Especially at bedtime prayers each night, I pray their callings over my children. I ask God to fulfill the words He has given me for their lives. I speak them out loud and declare who they are and who they will be. By revealing these prophecies, the Lord is inviting us to partner with Him through praying for them to come to pass. Our weapons of warfare are spiritual, and prayer is a weapon of utmost importance in fighting for your child’s calling.
Fathers, speak out the callings over your children’s lives.
Paul charged Timothy, as a father to a son, to fight the good fight according to the prophecies spoken over his life. Throughout Scripture, we see the theme of the fathers’ charges, blessings, and pronouncements over their children’s lives. Fathers and male church leaders can have significant spiritual impact on children through the spoken prayers, blessings, and declarations of those callings over the children.
Teach your child the prophecies concerning them.
Timothy knew the prophecies concerning him. We must make sure our children know the prophecies concerning them as well. My four year old recently was accepted as a Miss Missouri Princess state finalist. Many of our Christian friends discouraged us from going to the competition.
However, I had a feeling this opportunity had something to do with the calling on her life, given the fact that she would be potentially speaking in front of thousands of people. The Lord confirmed we were to go, and I began explaining to her that we were entering this competition because of the Lord’s calling on her life. We discussed over a period of several months what it means to be a light and shine for Jesus.
As my children get older, I will constantly teach and remind them of their callings, tell them how we received those words from the Lord, and help them to navigate the opportunities presented before them in light of the Lord’s plans for their lives.
Teach your child how to fight the good fight according to the prophecies made concerning them.
Lead by example in this area, speaking life and truth from God’s Word over every area of their life and calling. Filter opportunities for your family through the lens of God’s prophecies concerning you all. Help your children understand and pray the prophecies concerning themselves, and as your children transition into young adults, continue to encourage them to believe for the promises of God to be fulfilled, not in their strength, but by the Lord’s Spirit and power, and in His timing.