Pray for Your Children from A to Z: Part 2
26 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Children This Year
(Editor’s Note: What follows is part two of a two-part series on praying for our children. Part one is available here.)
I’ve been continually challenged, renewed, and pulled into communion with our heavenly Father in prayer from the Scriptures we have been considering here and in last week’s discussion. As we considered recently, we desire to go beyond reading about prayer, studying about prayer, and hearing a challenging sermon on prayer—to actively and intentionally engage in prayer. And here, our prayer focus is for our children of all ages, from infant to adult. We are considering twenty-six scriptures to pray over our children this year. This article unfolds the remaining thirteen in this abecedary of prayer, here from N to Z!
To search for and focus on that which is noble (Philippians 4:8, NKJV) will require quite an adjustment in our gaze, as the exact opposite proliferates our environment. I’m sure I do not need to provide examples, as pervasive as the decadence is around us! It is unavoidable, so we must pray and help our children to think about “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate (think long) on these things.”
As we pray for our children to develop Christ-like character, we know that even our perfect Savior, “Although he was a son, learned obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:9, ESV). Pray that our children would learn to be obedient to our Heavenly Father.
This is, or should be, our ultimate goal, according to 2 Corinthians 5:9: “…We make it our aim to please Him.” Pray that our children would seek to please God above all else.
In a world filled with anxiety, unrest, and confusion, as we point our children to the word of God and help them to learn to personalize it and apply its timeless principles to our daily lives, we will help them to cultivate quiet hearts. Psalm 94:19 states, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your comfort delights my soul.”
In a culture that seems to elevate busyness and jam-packed schedules to a status symbol, we soon find that our children, ourselves, and our families become stressed and worn out. Fortunately, there seems to be a trend that would serve somewhat of a course correction: Minimalism. Perhaps we could apply this idea to our schedules—less activity may be more, and more rest will undoubtedly benefit our mental and emotional well-being. God established the precedent of Sabbath rest on the seventh day of creation; Sabbath rest is one of the Ten Commandments and is referred to throughout the Old and New Testaments. Pray that our children would find REST. This one “rests” squarely on us, parents!
Here is a word that does not evoke much fond sentiment. In a culture that fosters a drive for self-satisfaction and pursuit of one’s happiness above all else, we can consider this profound challenge, especially for our teen and young adult children: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2). Wow. So many hours of fruitful conversation may be had around these two verses. I encourage you to reflect on them and then pray that your children would be willing to present their bodies as living sacrifices to our Savior, who provided the ultimate sacrifice for us.
In a world where scarcely anyone seems to bat an eyelash at skewing the truth in small or large ways, God clearly states His view of lying: “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22). Pray that our children would have the conviction always to be truthful.
When King Solomon could have requested anything from God, he asked for wisdom and understanding. Our believing children are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who has promised to “guide [us] into all truth.” (John 16:13). Pray that the Holy Spirit would guide our children into understanding all truth.
We struggle; we get sidetracked; we lose sight of our Savior; we sometimes feel overwhelmed and discouraged. But as believers, we can be reminded that God is always for us. He is sovereign over all, even when it seems like everything around us is burning to the ground. When our children struggle, let us pray they will have confidence in our ultimate victory in Christ. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57). What hope this provides!
God promises that all who ask Him for wisdom, asking in faith, will be given such by God. Here is a beautiful promise to take at His word: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) Wisdom allows us to navigate this life and avoid decisions which may have far-reaching implications for our future. Pray that your children, as they grow older, will seek God’s wisdom.
X (“chi” for Christ)
Go with me on this little Greek language lesson: In Greek, the letter “chi” is represented by the symbol that looks like our X. In Greek, the “chi” stands for Christ. (Hence, the use of “X-mas). Pray every day that your children will trust Christ for salvation. We cannot make assumptions at any age, wouldn’t you agree?
We all struggle with the desire to be independent, the determiner of our destiny. Nevertheless, God desires that we yield, or present ourselves to God in this manner: “Do not present (yield, KJV) your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present (yield) yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” (Romans 6:13) What a powerful challenge. pray that your children would yield and present themselves as instruments for righteousness.
Well, there are not too many scripture words beginning with the letter Z (aside from some obscure and difficult-to-pronounce Old Testament names), but that which comes to mind is Zeal. This may not be as common a word today, but in God’s view, zeal is a good thing (but may put us on a collision course with evil!). “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.” (I Peter 3:13-14). Pray that your children would be zealous for good.
So much can be said about prayer; so much has been said about prayer. We could scarcely disagree that prayer is of utmost importance. Now, to the task! Pause; let’s pray for our children and grandchildren today and every day. Let’s not let a day pass when we fail to pray for them! “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16, ESV)