As I sit down to write this article I am reminded of the awesome honour of being a parent. God has granted me the privilege of raising three of His special little ones, but with the privilege comes great responsibility and a lot of hard work. Perhaps more than any other area of life, parenting brings with it the capacity both for boundless joy and tremendous heartache. What can we do as parents to succeed at the task God has given us? Pray, Pray, Pray!
Parenting has not been an easy journey for me. I have had to face my own inadequacy and rely on God’s plan for my life and my children. Part of that process was God teaching me how to pray for my children. There is no exact science for this, but the Lord put it on my heart to write a prayer for each of my children.
Why write a prayer? I had so many things that I wanted to remember to pray for each of my children, and writing it out really helped me to be concise. The written prayers reflect each child’s uniqueness, while also covering the basics in such a way that I don’t feel like I’m forgetting any important issues. I’d encourage you to give it a try.
Begin with a decision to take the time to pray for your children. This sounds simple, but it takes follow-through and commitment. When it comes to prayer, there is no substitute for time, and writing a well-crafted prayer for each child takes extra effort. But you will find that it’s well worth it.
Next, sit down and brainstorm a list of all the things you want to pray for. What is important to you as you raise your children in this difficult culture we live in? Try to catch a glimpse of the future: what kind of adults do you want your kids to become? Here are a few items on my prayer list:
* (Editor’s Note: Try printing out these prayer items and insert it in your Bible so you can be reminded to pray for your kids.)
- Purity: I pray for purity both for my kids and for their future spouses. Their spouses are out there somewhere, growing up as children right now, and what happens in their lives will greatly affect the life of my children down the road.
- Relationships: Above all, I pray that my kids will develop strong relationships with the Lord. I also pray for healthy relationships with their siblings, with friends, and with my husband and I as their parents.
- Protection: The world is a dangerous place in many ways. I pray for physical, spiritual and emotional protection for each child.
- Personal weaknesses: Every child has their own struggles, whether it’s lying, angry outbursts, disrespect, or any number of other issues. I pray that God will shape their character and turn their weaknesses to strengths.
- Thanks: Each child also has unique strengths that are God’s gift to our family. For some it’s charm, for others leadership ability or a sense of humour. I thank God for these special qualities and ask Him to continue to develop these characteristics in our children.
After brainstorming your list, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in writing the prayer. Then it’s finally time to sit down and start writing! In addition to working from the list, I try to incorporate scripture passages that are applicable to the situation. Because the Bible is God’s perfect Word, I believe it is very powerful in prayer.
Here is an example of what I wrote as part of a prayer regarding purity:
For a daughter:
“Lord, we ask for protection over her innocence and purity as she grows; protect her and her husband from unsafe others and from unhealthy choices, call them to a higher standard. We ask for wisdom and discernment in teaching and preparing her for life, may she be a strong, wise, and kind woman. I also ask that you grant her husband’s parents wisdom as they raise a man of integrity.”
For a son:
“Lord, I pray for wisdom in teaching him to respect girls and women. I pray for his wife as a young girl, that she would be protected and surrounded by good people. Put a calling of honour on his life that he would grow to be a man of character and integrity, respectful and kind to everyone. We ask for wisdom and discernment in teaching and preparing him for a God honouring life.”
I pray blessing and biblical qualities for my children. The Bible has a lot to say about how we speak and the power of the tongue to do damage, but also to bring healing. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
“Father we thank You for (insert your daughter’s name here), You have heaped us with bounty and we praise You for entrusting us with her. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. You chose her for us and we thank You for the gift she is to us. We bless her and ask that You fill her with “Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, having virtue, or anything praiseworthy, let her think on these things.””
I pray for wisdom as a parent regarding specific issues for this child. The Bible says whoever lacks wisdom should ask…so I ask a lot! “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
“Lord, grant us wisdom. We ask that you would impress upon him that lying is wrong. Help us to train him to be a man of integrity and honesty starting now. We ask that you would raise him up to be an upright man; one who is pro-active for what is right. May he not be passive, but aggressive for truth and what is honourable.”
Relationships will be a lifelong pursuit for your children: relationships with family, friends and especially with the Lord. My dad prayed faithfully for a good Christian friend for me in high school. I am so thankful for those prayers, and I believe God has answered them many times over in my life. I thank God for many wonderful friends over the years.
“We ask Father that you would fill her life with good relationships, first with you Lord. Help her to seek after Godly things. We ask your blessing on our relationship with her, help us to express to her and for her to feel unconditional love; may she rise up and call us blessed. We ask for good friends for her; that she may feel accepted and influenced by good kids. Keep her path straight. We ask your blessing on her life by causing Godly people to positively influence her life at the crossroads she will face. Go before her and prepare the way.”
I hope this glance into my heart as a mother will encourage you in your parenting journey. As I conclude this article I want to share that the first prayer I wrote was a turning point for our family. I wrote that prayer out of desperation because I had tried everything the world has to offer, and yet nothing had worked. Truly God wanted to begin a work in me, and it started with turning my eyes upon the Lord and looking to Him for answers. As I look back I see a faithful God working in our lives. The true changes began when I took my eyes off changing my child and started changing myself.