I often struggle with how to pray for my children. I lack the creativity (perhaps because of sleep deprivation) to come up with original prayers that speak to their heart, the different facets and experiences of their day, and their future. Usually, I find myself praying the same things over and over again, like “God, thank you for my child” or “God, help him to obey.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with simple prayers, but there’s also beauty in the vast and theologically-rich prayers found in Scripture, and we can find great joy in praying these words over our children as well.
In fact, praying Scripture over my child has allowed me to pray for things I wouldn’t have naturally thought of on my own. It’s even helped me better understand what priorities I should have when praying. Suffice it to say, using God’s word as the foundation of our prayers for our children can only make our prayer life stronger and more focused.
Here are 5 Scripture verses that I’ve started praying over my children daily:
1. John 3:16
We must pray for our children’s salvation. Let us come before the Lord daily, praying for them to know Him personally, to love Him, and desire to follow Him.
Lord, may my child know and understand your love for him/her. May he/she understand that you showed your love to us by sending your son, Jesus, to die for us. And may my child respond to your love by believing in your son, so that he/she may not perish, but have everlasting life.
It’s also important that our children love God and, from that love, show love to others as well. This can take many forms and have many points of application. For example, instead of praying for God to make my son less disobedient, I can ask God to give my son a heart that loves the Lord his God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his mind and with all his strength, and that from this love will flow a desire for obedience.
God, may your spirit move within my child’s heart so that he/she will love you with all his/her heart, soul, mind, and strength. May he/she love you with every part of his/her being, and may that love be the catalyst for loving the people around him/her. May my child’s friends, family, and neighbors see you because of the love that they show.
Let us also pray for our children to have kind and healing words. This is an extension of how they can show God’s love, and one of the most practical examples of it.
Lord God, I pray that you keep any unwholesome talk from coming out of my child’s mouth. Please only allow what is helpful for building others up and may his/her words benefit those who listen. May my child’s words bring healing, instead of damage, and serve as a balm over a wound.
4. Joshua 1:9
Each day our children are going out into the world and facing a whole spectrum of ills and dangers, whether verbal, visual, or physical. It is important to pray for God to give them courage as they go to school, to play with friends, to events, and elsewhere.
God, I know that you have commanded my child to be strong and courageous. I pray that he/she will put his/her trust in you, so that he/she will not be terrified or discouraged. May my child know that you are always with him/her and that you are greater than anything he/she will face in the world. God, give my child courage and give him/her peace.
Finally, let us pray that our children have a spirit of evangelism.
Lord God, I pray that you will use my child mightily in the advancement of your kingdom. May he/she go forth boldly, speaking the Gospel and making disciples wherever he/she goes. May my child be led by the spirit to teach your word without shame or embarrassment, and may people come to faith because of his/her witness.