Prayer is essential to our walk with God. As David declared in Psalms 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears”. Prayer serves as a powerful tool that immediately draws us closer to God, and enables us to experience greater intimacy with Him.
As parents, our prayer life often evolves as our children get older. In the early years, our prayers may centre on physical well-being; asking for a safe pregnancy, healthy babies and protection from illness as they start preschool. As our children mature and change, so do our prayers. But how can we pray effectively for our children?
As we commit our children to God, this is a three-fold prayer that we can make:
Lord, may our children engage with you!
Our children will face challenges, heartache and pain. They will question the world around them, and also the acts of God. This might happen much sooner than we anticipate—have you had a 6-year old ask why God allows wars to happen, or why someone young has passed away from cancer? As parents, we certainly won’t have neatly packaged answers to offer them, and may even struggle with the same questions!
We need to pray that our children will draw nearer to God, rather than move further away when life becomes challenging, and they face obstacles. The Bible offers great examples of men who struggled with God; it’s recorded in Genesis how Jacob memorably wrestled with God, refusing to let go until God blessed him (Genesis 32:22-32). Daniel mourned, fasted and prayed when he received a vision of a war to come. Despite his fear and sadness, he also engaged with God to understand what his response should be (Daniel 10). Let us pray that our children will respond in a similar manner, when hardships come.
We need to pray that our children will draw nearer to God, rather than move further away when life becomes challenging.
Lord, may our children be in agreement with Your word!
More than ever before, with social media and the manner in which information is proliferated now, our children are bombarded with worldviews that clearly oppose the Truth, which God has laid out for us in the Bible. Acceptance of same-sex relationships and abortion are disguised as human-rights issues. The pursuit of material wealth and comfort is encouraged, and even expected in our society.
Where will our children stand on these issues, and other similarly contentious ones? Job 22:21-23 reminds us to “agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty you will be built up; if you remove injustice far from your tents”.
We need to pray for our children to know God’s Word intimately and agree with it, on both a macro level (national and global issues that have an impact on godly values), and on a micro level (that they will commit to living godly lives).
Lord, may our children follow You closely!
As parents, we also need to pray that our children will follow God in their daily lives. We must recognise that holy living doesn’t instantly happen when our children reach adulthood; rather, it’s a way of life that all Christians, regardless of age, are called to—and it begins in childhood.
Rather than reserve God for church on Sundays, let us encourage our children to seek His will in every area of their lives. For example, we can train our children to approach their schoolwork and daily chores as something that they do unto God, as Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”.
As we pray for our children, it is also important to remind ourselves of Philippians 4:6-7, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Indeed, we serve a faithful God who listens to our fervent prayers, and will complete the work He began in our children.
Indeed, we serve a faithful God who listens to our fervent prayers, and will complete the work He began in our children.
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