There are so many areas for parents to invest themselves in raising their children. And there are many resources available in learning to be godly parents.
But there is one resource that is more powerful than any book, seminar, or method.
In fact, this resource is the single resource you cannot afford to ignore or to get wrong. You may fail as a parent in many areas (at least I know I did!), but you cannot—you must not—fail in this area.
You must pray for your children.
Make it your goal that your Heavenly Father will hear from you about your child every single day.
What should you pray for your child? Below are ten biblically-based principles of how to pray for your children. You could even use these as a daily prayer list for your child.
1. Prayer of dedication
While it is a wonderful thing to dedicate our children publically as infants, we need to dedicate them daily in the prayer closet as well. Like Hannah, we need to give our children to the Lord—not just as babies—but all the days of their lives.
And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head.—1 Samuel 1:11
Let your children know that they are dedicated to God and that your heart for them is that their lives will bring glory to God.
2. Pray for their salvation.
Scripture makes it clear that Timothy’s mother and grandmother had a definite influence on his faith. I believe that the “unfeigned faith” that dwelt in Lois and Eunice included faith-filled prayer for Timothy.
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.—2 Timothy 1:5
Pray that your children will understand at an early age what sin is, that they need a Saviour, and that they will have a humble heart to turn to Him for salvation.
3. Pray for their spouse.
Think about Abraham. He cared so deeply that Isaac would marry the right spouse that he sent his servant to a distant land to find her. And, as Eleazar discovered, God answers prayers for direction in a person’s spouse.
And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.—Genesis 24:12
From the day your children are born, begin praying for their future spouse—to be saved, to walk with God, to keep themselves pure. And pray for God’s direction in bringing them together. In fact, pray with your teenagers that if it is God’s will for them to marry, that He will direct them to the right person, and that until that time they would wait for that person with patience and purity.
4. Pray for good friends.
Pray first that your child’s best friend will be Christ. And then pray that he will have friends that are loyal to him as well as to Christ. Pray he has truthful friends who look out for his best interests—even willing to confront him when he is wrong. Pray he has friends who sharpen him in character and spiritual growth.
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.—Proverbs 17:17
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.—Proverbs 27:6
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.—Proverbs 27:17
5. Pray for a surrendered will.
As you pray for your children, pray that their wills will be completely surrendered to God’s will. Pray they will fear the Lord and listen to you as you raise them for the Lord.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:—Proverbs 1:7–8
6. Pray for their health and safety.
God hears the requests of parents when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their children. We see this throughout the gospels, particularly in the accounts of Jairus asking for help for his daughter (Mark 5:22–23, 41–44) and the Syrophoenician woman asking for deliverance for her daughter (Matthew 15:25–28).
And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.—Mark 5:23, 41
So pray for your children’s physical, mental, and spiritual health.
7. Pray for their character development.
Pray that you will have wisdom and direction in developing your children’s character. Sampson’s parents recognized that their child was going to be special (I have yet to meet parents who didn’t know this about their child!) and so asked the Lord how they should raise him to fulfill his life’s purpose.
And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?—Judges 13:12
Pray that your children will develop integrity, respect, wisdom, and humility.
8. Pray for open doors.
As earnestly as you desire success for your children, there are some doors that only God can open. Pray that God would open—and close—doors in their lives, giving them favor in relationships, opportunities to witness, blessings to meet their needs, and guidance in their life’s purpose.
And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.—1 Chronicles 4:10
9. Pray for spiritual protection.
I can guarantee you that the devil has his fiery darts aimed right at your children. Pray for spiritual protection in their hearts.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;—Ephesians 6:16–18
You don’t know what your children will face this week, but you know they need a hedge of protection around them.
10. Pray for God’s glory
Always pray that your child’s life will ultimately bring glory to God—no matter what they may do in life.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31
You may not be the best parent in every way you would like to be. In fact, many of us have discovered how much more we know about parenting at the end of the process than we did when our children were still young.
But whether or not you are the best parent, you can be the best prayer partner for your children.
They need your prayers. Your daily prayers. Your specific prayers. Your faithful and fervent prayers.
As John R. Rice once said, “All of our failures are prayer failures.” May we not fail our children in our prayer closets!
I’m currently preaching a Sunday evening series on parenting, titled “Family Life.” If you’d like to hear more in relation to how to pray for your children, you can review last Sunday’s message, including video and a message summary, here.