Becoming a parent is possibly the single event in life most likely to make a person more prayerful. Suddenly you are responsible for the life of a helpless small being whose existence and well-being are totally in your hands.
As your child grows up, there are the many close calls of falls and bumps, swallowing mysterious substances, etc. School and teenage years present yet more, and increasingly complex, challenges. So much is outside your control that whether you like it or not, you suddenly become an expert in the “arrow” or “fire-fighting” prayer of desperation. Lord, please keep her safe, help him to pass his exam, make good friends, find a good job.
God in His mercy is good and gracious—He hears and answers our prayers. But is that all there is to praying for your children—a shopping list of requests presented to God?
A Sheepy Adventure
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Let the Little Children Come
Matthew 19:13–14 tells us that the children were brought to Jesus that He might lay his hands on them and pray. “The disciples rebuked them. [But] Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”
This passage tells us a few important truths:
- Jesus welcomes little children into His presence.
- Jesus blesses (as expressed in His laying on of hands) our children when we bring them to Him.
- We can and should—intentionally and thoughtfully—bring our children to Him today and every day so that He can bless them.
Jesus welcomes little children into His presence.
God’s Word is Life!
God has revealed another critical truth in Isaiah 55:10–11 that guides us in praying for our children:
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
it will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Drawing these truths together, we see that we can and should take this amazing opportunity to bring our children to Jesus daily for blessing, and at the same time sow God’s Word into their lives so that His Word will accomplish what He purposes for them. The best thing is that we can be part of His plan!
We can and should take this amazing opportunity to bring our children to Jesus daily for blessing, and at the same time sow God’s Word into their lives.
What to Pray About
Praying the Word of God intentionally and systematically into our children’s lives is not as complicated as it sounds. As you set aside time and make a commitment to pray for your children, you might want to list down some aspects of God’s Word to cover.
Here are 5 areas that you could start with:
1. Salvation and Repentance
It has been said often that God has no grandchildren—only children! Each child needs to come to an independent decision about accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour. A Bible passage to pray is Acts 2:38–39:
Lord God, may [name of your child] repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his/her sins, and may he/she receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for me and for my children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.
God is clear in His Word that we must forgive that we may be forgiven. A child is never too small to be taught right from wrong and to say “I’m sorry”. We can use the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:12 as a basis for this next prayer:
Lord God, please help and enable [name of your child] to forgive others [or a specific person if appropriate] for hurting him/her and so also receive Your forgiveness. Lead him/her not into temptation but deliver him/her from evil.
A child is never too small to be taught right from wrong and to say “I’m sorry”.
3. Right Attitudes
As Christians, we all pray that our children will have godly values and attitudes. However, it may be difficult to encapsulate this as a prayer. The Word of God helps us. Colossians 3 is a wonderful prayer to pray for your child. Here are the first two verses set in prayer:
Our Heavenly Father, as [name of your child] has been raised with Christ, help him/her to seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at Your right hand. Enable him/her to set her mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
4. Making Wise Decisions
How we wish we could protect our children from all the mistakes and heartache that living brings! We can pray according to Philippians 1:10–11 that God will give them the wisdom to make wise decisions:
Lord God, may [name of your child] be filled with love that abounds more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that he/she may approve what is excellent by making wise decisions, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
My own experience is that when we pray for protection over our dear ones and ourselves, God will work supernaturally on our behalf. Here is my version of Psalm 91 set as a prayer for protection:
Heavenly Father, may we and our children dwell in Your shelter, the shelter of the Most High and abide in Your shadow. Be our refuge and our fortress and deliver us from the traps of the enemy and from deadly diseases. Be our dwelling place and refuge so that no evil will come on us and may You command the angels to guard us in all our ways. Please deliver us and protect us for we hold fast to You in love and we know Your name (see Psalm 91:13, 9–11, 14).
I have seen God working in the lives of my children since I started using God’s Word to help me in my prayers for them. My daughter Ying now joins me in praying as we now have a new generation to pray for—her sons Joseph and Zachary.
I have seen God working in the lives of my children since I started using God’s Word to help me in my prayers for them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Pray God’s Word into your child’s life—and be part of His plan to accomplish what He purposes.