How to pray for your children
By Pastor Tom Anderson
Praying for our children can be a tricky thing for us parents. We have a tendency to project our plans and desires onto their lives and oftentimes our prayers degenerate into a rehearsal of our agenda for them. On the other end of the scale, our prayers can lack any serious substance when we repeatedly ask God to “be with them” --as if He’s not always with them?
Anxious parents can find themselves nagging God in prayer to “fix” their children or redirect them. The purpose of Christian prayer is not to tell God what to do, how to do it and when it should be done. God is not our trained dog who responds to our every command. Still, most believing parents search for honest, substantial ways to seek God’s action in their children’s lives. How can I talk to God about my children?
One method is to pray scripture for your children. Here’s a great passage from Colossians 1:9-14:
we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The method is to substitute your child’s name in each place where Paul uses the word “you” Some slight editorial changes can be made to the sentences to make them flow smoothly:
Lord, I do not cease to pray for ____, asking that she/he may be filled with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to you: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified ____to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered ____ from the domain of darkness and transferred ___ to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom ___ has redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Amen.
Another great passage you can try this with is Ephesians 3:14-19. Many Christians use the Lord’s prayer to pray for their children or others. They use their child’s name instead of the pronoun “our” so it would pray like this:
“______’s Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give ____ this day her/his daily bread. Forgive him/her his/her sins as he/she forgives those who sin against him/her. Save ____ from the time of trial. Deliver _____ from evil for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever, Amen.”
Praying the scriptures helps keep us out of our micromanaging impulses toward our kids. The scriptures point us to seek spiritual treasures for our kids rather than earthly dreams. Repeating these prayers leads to the memorization of important passages. This enriches our own spiritual life and opens our eyes to what is really important.