One part of prayer I have come to depend on is allowing the Holy Spirit, through prayer, to change my child's heart in a way I never can. It may be an attitude, habit or pattern of behavior that does not honor God, or it may be an attribute of their character I'd like to see flourish.
As my kids grew older, I noticed my "lectures and suggestions" were having less and less impact. One day as I finished up one of those "lectures, " the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: "Elizabeth, I need you to be quiet. I can't speak to your kids if you are always talking." Ouch. That hurt. But as I began to be quiet and pray, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to them, change happened. I learned that my children can't hear God's voice if I'm always talking. I found the Holy Spirit to be much more effective in reaching my child's heart than I ever could be.
Our kids need to learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit on their own. We should encourage them to seek God when they walk through a difficult time, have questions, or need direction. It's tempting for us as parents to always try to answer the questions for them, or tell them what we think. But when we direct them to find out for themselves what God is saying, they learn what God's voice sounds like in their life, which will produce a desire to keep their relationship with Him strong and intact. We ultimately want our children's heart to cry out Psalm 73: 25-28...
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God, I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds."