Finding Breakthrough from Guilt as a Parent

When you’re hoping and praying for a breakthrough for your child, most parents struggle with a measure of guilt. If only you had done things differently, maybe your child wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in. Your head knows that’s only part of the story, but those thoughts may be the ones that keep you awake at night. It’s time to find breakthrough from guilt as a parent.

You may look at your child and say, If only I’d spent more time with them. If only I’d listened better, or taught them more diligently, or paid more attention to the warning signs. If only I hadn’t gotten a divorce. Or hadn’t stayed in a destructive marriage. Or waited to have kids until I grew up a bit more. If only I’d asked more questions about their friends, or pushed them more to learn and succeed. Or maybe I pushed them too far. If only I’d prayed more.

There’s no more important job you could be entrusted with than raising a child. How you do that makes a difference. Your parenting has long-lasting affects. And there is not one parent on earth who has done that perfectly.

Yes, you messed up! In either little or big ways. But carrying that guilt does neither you nor your child any good. It’s time to find breakthrough from guilt as a parent.

No Condemnation

Start with that. As with any of our human failures or limitations, once we see we haven’t measured up the enemy loves to pile on the guilt. And he’s especially good at doing that with parents. You love and care about your kids, so your heart is vulnerable here. Don’t buy what he’s selling.

Living under condemnation keeps you from being loving and effective in your parenting now. Guilt may make you shrink back from being involved or neglecting important discipline if your children are still at home. It may cloud your thinking and block your ability to engage with your adult child when the opportunity presents itself.

So when the enemy would cover you with a blanket of guilt, reject it. Claim Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” No condemnation even in your parenting. That’s where to live, and where to keep coming back to.

And remember that your children would need Jesus to save them regardless of how good or bad you are/were as a parent. HE is their Savior, not you.

Deal With Your Stuff

Whatever lack you had as a parent, it wasn’t because you woke up one day and decided to harm your kids. There are wounds in your own heart that still need healing, skills you still need to learn, maturity you still need to gain.

Every human being – including parents – needs to be in an ongoing journey of personal transformation with God. Regardless of what age your children are, toddlers or adults away from home, keep giving the Holy Spirit permission to work on your heart.

When you come to understand some way you’ve failed or lacked as a parent, apologize to your kids but don’t park there. If your children need you to listen to their rendition of your failures, you may need to listen. But remember – no condemnation. You get your validation from God, not from your kids.

As you allow the Holy Spirit to continue to work on you from the inside out, you will become different on the outside as well. That very change will become the biggest demonstration to your kids that God is who He says He is. Your ongoing restoration as a person will show your kids that restoration is possible. And your kids will believe what they see even more than anything you may say.

Invite God to do miracles in your own heart. That may be healing where you need it, dealing with your anger or selfishness or addictions, or learning to put God first in everything. Just keep saying Yes when the Holy Spirit deals with you about something.

Praying For Your Children

Most of all, you cannot let your guilt stop you from praying for a breakthrough for your child. Even if you were the perfect parent, your child was created with a free will. Praying for their eternal destiny is too important for you to get distracted by your own failures.

A few ways to pray for your children:

  • Jesus, let me see my child as You see them. You need God’s perspective. He loves your child more than you do. Ask Him to show you your child’s heart, and the spiritual warfare going on for them.
  • Jesus, keep my own heart open. You cannot afford to become bitter or angry toward your child. That’s not always easy if your child is estranged or living a destructive lifestyle. That’s why you need this prayer.
  • Jesus, who do You need me to be to my child? If your child is going through adolescence, this may mean setting difficult boundaries. At any stage it will involve listening. It’s likely you need to be an invitation to your child – to come closer to you and to God. You may need to be an encouragement, or an example.
  • Jesus, show up in my child’s life! As much as you might like to be enough, your child needs more than you. They need other people, and most of all they need the Holy Spirit’s intervention. Your prayer gives God extra access to do what only He can do.

Stay on your knees!

Remember that you are not your child’s enemy. But your child does have an enemy! And don’t let him use your guilt to keep you from praying for your child, and being the parent God needs you to be to your child right now.

Our online course Powerful Breakthrough Prayers will deepen your understanding of the principles of effective prayer, and help you experience practical ways of cooperating with God in what He is doing.

Join this course to learn more about praying for a breakthrough – for your own heart, and for your child.


Your Turn: Have you been carrying parent guilt? Has it been impacting your ability to love your child well? Or to pray well? Leave a comment below. 

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