Pray for Your Children from A to Z: 26 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Children This Year
“No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” –C.H. Spurgeon
(Editor’s Note: What follows is the first of a two-part series on praying for our children. Part two will be published on August 23.)
I am a great fan of the writings of Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon is masterful at employing picturesque analogies and succinct language to convey profound spiritual insights.
Nevertheless, I would not presume for a nanosecond to have the ability of Spurgeon to speak on the topic of prayer, one in which Spurgeon was prolific. Nevertheless, I would like to consider this quote as we, as parents, look to a new school year at Worthington Christian School.
Without a doubt, the start of every new school year is marked by a flurry of activity—myriad schedules, supply lists, meal prep, registration for activities, end-of-summer vacations, and outings. WC parents are committed to providing their children with excellence in their education and meeting their needs to the best of their ability. Yes, parents have dreams for their children, and rightly so! What a delight to embrace and cultivate the potential God has placed in each of our children. We wish them academic success and rewarding friendships; we love to set them up to achieve at a high level in sports or music, or whatever pursuit(s) become their passion.
However, paraphrasing, I suggest, “No parent can do their children a truer kindness than to pray for them.” Nevertheless, if we were all honest, we might agree that while we talk much about prayer, do Bible studies on prayer, read about prayer, and hear a challenging sermon about prayer—it seems all too easy for committed prayer to fall by the wayside.
Dear parents, of all the things we can do for our children, whether we are parents of babies, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary-aged, middle school, high school—and even as parents of young adult children (or beyond!)—we must commit to pray faithfully for our children, and never stop praying for our children!
So, in the spirit of the back-to-school season, this week and next, I’d like to share an abecedary of prayer for your children, twenty-six scriptures we can pray for our children this year and beyond.
It is easy for our children to desire the acceptance and approval of their friends and peers. As parents, we hurt for our children when they feel a lack of acceptance. (Cue the Mama Bear!) We can help them know that in Christ we are “accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6, NKJV) If we can help our children begin to understand and embrace this spiritual truth—that regardless of how others may treat them–the times when they may feel left out of the group—they are deeply loved by our Savior, who was often left out of the “cool kids” (such as the religious leaders and the political leaders; Jesus’ closest friends ghosted him during His greatest time of need!). Pray that your children would embrace their acceptance in Jesus and that this reality would strengthen them.
The gospel of John is replete with references to believing as closely connected to saving faith. As our children have God’s word opened and integrated into their classrooms, at home, and church, we pray their hearts will be impacted to believe. (John 20:31) “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Pray that your children would believe.
Jesus illustrated compassion in Luke 10 with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The well-respected individuals ignored the needs of the wounded man. The “low-life” (the Samaritan) demonstrated compassion by noticing the needs, taking the time, and giving of his own resources to help another, a complete stranger! As parents, we can model compassion. Pray that your children will learn to show compassion through their actions.
“The hand of the diligent will rule.” (Proverbs 12:24) What does diligence entail? Diligence is an effort that is persistent to its end. We can help our children learn to follow through on their commitments and to stay at the task until it is completed. Diligence requires sustained effort. Certainly, this is a learning process for our children and one that requires our guidance and support. Pray that your children will learn to be diligent in their pursuits.
Excellence is not the same as perfection; it may not result in “outperforming” our peers, but it does mean that we help our children learn to do their best for the glory of God. (Colossians 3:23) Pray that your children will pursue excellence in their work.
The friendships our children pursue are so crucial in our children’s lives. They will influence others, and those around them will influence them. “A person of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24, NASB) Pray that godly and positive friendships will surround your children and that they will have the courage and character to stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone.
Here is a simple and straightforward command for all of us: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18, ESV). It seems so easy to complain when something doesn’t go our way. Seeking to follow this directive from God will change our thinking and how we often naturally respond to circumstances. Pray that your children would demonstrate gratitude for big and small things as a daily practice.
It is always good to redirect our thoughts to the example of Christ, whose willingness to become man and die on the cross was the ultimate demonstration of humility. We can reflect on this description in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Pray that your children will learn humility.
In a world that seems to lack integrity at every turn, your children may experience a great deal of confusion that may sound like, “What does it matter?” The book of Proverbs addresses the subject of integrity: “Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.” (Proverbs 28:18) Pray that your children will be guided by integrity.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) I wonder how willing we are to take this verse at its face value? This verse prescribes a joyful heart if we seek solutions for hurting hearts! Pray that your children will experience joy by knowing the God of love, who is 100 percent for them!
Kindness is demonstrated by consideration for others marked by compassion, forgiveness, gentleness, and patience. It is evidence of our genuine relationship with Christ (Galatians 5:22-23). Pray that your children will demonstrate kindness towards others.
Genuine love is much more than a superficial sentiment. Love is the essence of the gospel. There are 684 references to love in the Bible (39 of them in the Gospel of John alone!) But here is a good summary of God’s love: “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Children who grow up in Christian homes and attend Christian schools need to internalize the gospel in a faith response for themselves. Pray that your children will embrace the profound love of God for them that was demonstrated in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
By what standard do we measure our children? By what standard do they measure themselves? The biblical character of David evokes many accounts or stories with which our children may be familiar. Let us remind ourselves and our children that just as the prophet Samuel was reminded in choosing David as king of Israel, “For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7 ESV). Pray that your children would understand that God is most concerned about their hearts.
As we look to a new school year, let us begin earnestly by praying for our children, guided by God’s values, as unfolded in His timeless word. Let us embrace God’s priorities for our children as we plan their activities, schedules, and pursuits. Together let us engage in concerted prayer fueled by God’s word. Perhaps here is a good start.