As parents we have a lifelong calling to be praying for our children, which starts from the moment that they are born and we first dedicate them to the Lord. When they are babies, and young children, the physical demands of caring can be exhausting. And when they become teenagers, and young adults, the emotional burden can become draining. But Scripture teaches us that as we wait, trust, and hope in the Lord, we can receive new strength.
We can, not just survive through the circumstances that we are in, but, soar. Praying for our children is a ministry that requires persistence, it never ends but grows and multiplies!
Persistence in praying for our children
Our relationship with the Lord is the place of safety, where we can share our innermost thoughts, what is on our hearts for today and for the future. As we are praying for our children, we can confide in God for their specific needs – knowing that He is the One who understands. There is nothing hidden from God’s sight, He pays attention to the smallest detail, so we can bring all of our requests to Him. When we pray specifically it focuses our minds, as we look to see and hear the answer, to that particular prayer. We are encouraged, and our faith grows in experience of the faithfulness of God.
It is good to keep a record, so that we can recall and remember what we have prayed and how God has answered. I am the sort of person who has lists for everything, to remember anything, I have to write it down. A prayer journal helps keeps us focused on those specific prayers. It is a tool, which can help build and strengthen our faith, as we record those detailed, personal, prayers. When we pray the small prayers, and see them answered, we start to live with gratitude. Then we are encouraged, to pray from a position of praise and thanksgiving, with expectancy, in the goodness of God. And as our prayers are answered, the needs change, and we redirect our prayers, to be current and relevant. Our journal can be a simple note book, or more elaborate with photos or other visual prompts – it is unique to you and your family.
Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount to pray privately, as a response to those who prayed publicly for the wrong reasons. Those who stood up and prayed long and elaborate prayers in the synagogue, or even on street corners, just to enhance their reputation in the community. We know that Jesus often spent time alone in prayer with the Father, but that He also prayed with His disciples. Jesus had an inner circle, those who were closest to Him, and He looked for their prayer support in His time of need.
There is power in united prayer, in joining together and agreeing in prayer. There is a blessing found in our unity. Our first choice in praying for our children is with our partner, the co-parent, to affirm together and strengthen the family unity. But that is not always possible, and we can find help and support with other prayer partners. This always needs to be done carefully and with wisdom, to find the right person, or people, who you can trust with your confidences. And it has to work practically, that you are able to commit to pray regularly for each other.
A new meaning of ‘together.’
I have a longtime prayer partner, but we no longer live in the same town. We are committed, however, to praying for each other and our respective families, so we agree a day and a time when we will both pray. I know that a lot of prayer has been on video chat and zoom in the last twelve months, distance can be overcome!
These three simple practical tips bring encouragement as they help to focus our prayers. They develop spiritual discipline with commitment and accountability and build our faith with remembrance and thanksgiving.
Prayer is engaging in a spiritual battle, and is far more than a formula, pattern or routine. Practical tips help us create the space and time to pray. But as we come to that place we also need to spiritually prepare our hearts and minds, to position ourselves humbly before God.
Prayerfully Surrender (Let Go and Let God)
As a praying parent this can be one of the toughest challenges – to surrender to the Sovereignty of God.
To surrender our hopes, dreams, and plans to Him.
To surrender to His will, His way, and His perfect timing.
To trust that God loves our child more than we do, is one of the hardest lessons. We can learn to trust in God for our own circumstances, but letting go of our children demands another level of trust. But until we do, we can be trapped in a place of worry, anxiety, and even desperation.
A Christian friend of mine, called Marlene, once shared a word with me, that made a lasting impression. She was a woman of strong faith and a prayer warrior who had been praying for her wayward adult son. In prayer she called on God to do ‘something’ to bring about a breakthrough for her son. As she expressed those heartfelt thoughts, she felt that God answered and said to her: ‘I can’t do anything for your son Marlene, because you do everything.’ I have not forgotten her words, because they came at a time when I was anxious for one of my sons.
Sometimes we need to stop trying to ‘fix’ everything ourselves – and accept that we can’t, but we know the One who can. The battle we are engaged in is a spiritual one. Often, we only focus on the ‘doing’ prayers, where we look at the immediate need. God, can you do this, or do that, and then everything will be alright – or so we think. But the problem can be deeper, and our prayers also need to focus on ‘becoming’ where the spiritual need is met, and a lasting work is done.
As our children grow and become adults, we need to release them, and to let go. Then we can be released from praying out of fear and anxiety, to praying with assurance and a quiet confidence in the goodness and faithfulness of God. Peace of mind is only possible when we surrender – and give up the burden to God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6 NIVUK
Pray Without Guilt (No condemnation)
Parenting today can leave us consumed with guilt, and with the feeling that everyone is doing a better job than we are. We can be burdened with feelings of regret, if only I had listened more, been more patient, spent less time doing this or more time focusing on that…. But guilt is a weapon of the enemy and will hinder our prayers.
“Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.”
Romans 8:1-2 MSG
We may have to ask for forgiveness from God, and forgiveness from our children, for our mistakes and failures. Then we can be released from guilt and condemnation, and trust in the forgiveness of God. We can leave our past mistakes behind. God is gracious, and He can redeem those hard and difficult situations, as we place our hope in Him.
Praying the will of God (Guided by Scripture)
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we ask of him.”1 John 5:14-15 NIVUK
Using Scripture as the framework for our prayer encourages and builds our faith. It removes any doubt that we are praying God’s will, and doubt is the enemy of effective prayer. God’s word accomplishes His purpose, His word never fails! We know that faith comes through hearing the word and as we speak words of Scripture our faith is strengthened, for there is power in God’s word.
Persevere in Prayer (Do not give up!)
Perseverance – noun, continued effort and determination. Definition, Cambridge Dictionary.
Jesus during his time of ministry only commended two people for having ‘great faith’. One was a Roman centurion who believed that the Lord just had to say the word for his request to be granted, even from a distance. The other was a Canaanite woman who refused to take ‘No’ for an answer, and who persisted, with humility and faith, until she was told her request was granted. Both were asking for other people, for those that they loved and cared for.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9Galatians 6:9
If we Wait on God, as we wait for Him, He will renew our strength.
There is a calling of ‘great faith’ on our lives, to persist and persevere in prayer, knowing that God is faithful, and that His love and compassion never fail!
10 Scriptures to Guide in Praying for our Children
“I pray that our of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16-17
I pray, Lord, that you will strengthen ____________ within, by your Spirit, that You may dwell in his/her heart through faith. Amen.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
I pray that _______ be rooted and established in love.
I pray that ________will grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.
I pray that _________will be filled with the measure of all of the fullness of God’s love.
“Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” Romans 10:1
My heart’s desire and prayer, O God, is for __________ that they may be saved.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
I pray that _________ will hold to your teaching Lord, that he/she will know the truth, and the truth will set him/her free.
“to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:18
I pray that you would open _______ eyes and turn him/her from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that he/she may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in you Lord Jesus. Amen
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:19-20
I pray that you would give __________ an undivided heart and put a new spirit in him/her. Soften their heart, remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh, that they may follow you.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8
I pray that _______ would see your goodness and know the blessing of refuge in You. Amen
Prayers for the Prodigals
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18
I pray that the eyes of _________ heart may be enlightened in order that he/she may know the hope to which You have called him/her, his/her inheritance in You.
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
I pray that You, Lord, who began a good work in ___________ will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
Thank you, Lord, that you came to seek and save the lost, I pray that __________ will be found by you. Amen.
You may also wish to read: 30 Scriptures to pray over your children.