How can I pray for my children?
As a parent, one of the most significant and influential roles you play is that of being a faithful prayer warrior on behalf of your child. Because of the closeness of your relationship, you can know your child as no one else knows him and discern when he most needs prayer support.
In this article, adapted from material by Biblical counselor Dr. Jim Logan, we focus on six areas of prayer: a prayer of dedication, prayers of blessing, prayers about parenting, prayers of intercession, prayers against anger, and prayers for God’s hedge of protection around your child.
A Prayer of Dedication
As parents welcome a new baby into their home, many wonder, What is the most important thing I can do for my child? The most important thing you could do for a new son or daughter—God’s special gift to you—is to dedicate your child to God.
A prayer of dedication is based on recognizing that God has given the child to you for your care and upbringing. By acknowledging this gift and the responsibility that comes with it, parents can affirm that the child ultimately belongs to God and therefore purpose to raise the child in a way that honors God’s gift and His design for life.
A prayer of dedication should involve both parents praying together. Here is a suggested outline for your prayer of dedication:
- Gather before God with your spouse and child.
- Thank God for the gift of your child.
- Confess your own iniquities, with the truth of Psalm 66:18 in mind: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
- Ask God to reveal any area in your life that has not been given to Him or any stronghold of Satan (false philosophies, sinful habits, unconfessed sin) that is present. (To see a pattern of how to pray, read the prophet Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:3–19.)
- Acknowledge specific iniquities that come to mind.
- Ask God to cleanse you of the iniquity by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Ask God to reclaim any ground given to Satan and to tear down every stronghold of the enemy.
- Claim freedom for your child through Jesus Christ.
- Pray that God would cut off generational iniquities and sinful influences in your child’s life. Claim the truth of Psalm 103:17, that from now on righteousness would be the heritage of your children and of future generations: “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.”
- Dedicate your child to God.
- Verbalize your desire to raise this child for the Lord. Pray that your child will come to saving faith in Christ at a young age. Pray that his life will bring glory to God.
- Ask for wisdom to raise the child in the way God would have him to go.
Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I come to you desiring my child [give full name] to be free from all generational sins, iniquities, and their results, which may have an influence upon my child. I thank you for saving me and cleansing me of my sin. I confess that I belong to you, and I dedicate my child [give full name] to you.
I now confess and repent of all my sins, known and unknown. I now confess the sins of my forefathers. In the name and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, I now renounce and ask you to break the power of all generational sins, iniquities, and curses that were passed down to me by the sins or actions of others. I now renounce and ask you to break and loose me and my family from all demonic subjection that would seek to influence or control me or my family in any way contrary to the Word or will of God. I claim release and freedom through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that my son/daughter would fear you, and that from now on righteousness would be the heritage of my family, of my children, and of our future generations.
Lord, I pray that [give full name] will receive you as his/her Savior at an early age. Place within his/her heart a desire to follow you all the days of his/her life. Keep him/her pure and willing to wait until you reveal your life partner for him/her in your perfect will. If it is your will for him/her to be married, I ask that you would set apart for yourself a life partner for him/her and that he/she would keep himself/herself pure. I pray that his/her life would bring glory to you, and I ask that you would give me wisdom in training him/her up in the way you would have him/her to go. Amen.
Prayers of Blessing
A Hebrew father’s place in the traditional Jewish home is demonstrated by the beautiful custom of blessing the children, which dates back to Israel’s patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob. To this day, the father blesses his children on Friday nights, on Rosh Hashanah eve, and on Yom Kippur before leaving for the synagogue.
The following prayer, based on a translation of the traditional Hebrew father’s blessing on his children, is a wonderful gift that the head of the family can give to each child.
Father, I receive, welcome, and acknowledge each of my children as a delightful blessing from you. I speak your blessings upon them and over them.
Children, I bless you in the name of Jesus, proclaiming the blessings of God, my Redeemer, upon you. May He give you wisdom, a reverential fear of God, and a heart of love.
May He create in you the desire to attend to His words, a willing and obedient heart that you may consent and submit to His sayings and walk in His ways. May your eyes look straight ahead with purpose for the future. May your tongue be as the pen of a ready writer, writing mercy and kindness upon the tablets of your heart. May you speak the truth in love. May your hands do the works of the Father; may your feet walk the paths that He has foreordained for you.
I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are living their lives in truth.
May the Lord prepare you and your future mate to love and honor one another, and may He grant to your union upright sons and daughters who will live in accordance with His Word. May your source of livelihood be honorable and secure, so that you will earn a living with your own hands. May you always worship God in spirit and in truth.
I pray above all things that you may always prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
In the name of Jesus, my Lord and my God, Amen.
Prayers for Your Parenting
Ask the Lord to help you raise each of your children for Him in a manner that reflects His ways and the truth of His Word. Consider the following principles of parenting, and take note of the ones in which you need to gain maturity.
Use the related Scriptures as springboards for prayer. Ask God to help you eliminate each negative pattern in your parenting and to help you practice the positive patterns more consistently.
- Examine your expectations for your child. Are they realistic? Evaluate them in the light of God’s Word. (See I Corinthians 13:11, Matthew 18:10, and Genesis 33:12–14.)
- Love your child unconditionally. (See Deuteronomy 7:7 and I John 4:10, 19.)
- Look for opportunities to commend your child. Express appreciation for him frequently. (See Philippians 1:3, I Thessalonians 1:2, and II Thessalonians 1:3.)
- Seldom criticize without first expressing appreciation for your child’s good points. (See I Corinthians 1:3–13.)
- Give your child the freedom to make decisions when serious issues are not at stake. Your goal should be to bring him to maturity in Christ, not to dependence on you. (See Ephesians 4:11–16, 6:4, and Proverbs 22:6.)
- Do not compare your child with others. (See Galatians 6:4, I Corinthians 12:4–11, and II Corinthians 10:12–13.)
- Never mock or make fun of your child. Do not demean or belittle your child, and beware of calling him “dumb,” “clumsy,” or “stupid.” (See Proverbs 12:18, 16:24; Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 4:29–30; and Colossians 4:6.)
- Do not scold your child in front of others. (See Matthew 18:15 and I Corinthians 16:14.)
- Never make threats or promises that you do not intend to keep. (See Matthew 5:37, Colossians 3:9, and James 5:12.)
- Don’t be afraid to say “no,” and when you say it, mean it. (See Proverbs 22:15, 29:15, and I Samuel 3:13.)
- When your child has behavioral problems and needs correction, do not overreact or lose control of yourself. Do not yell, shout, or scream at him. (See I Corinthians 16:14, Ephesians 4:26–27, and II Timothy 2:24–25.)
- Communicate optimism and expectancy. Do not communicate by word or action that you have given up on your child or are resigned to his failure. (See I Corinthians 13:4–8, II Corinthians 9:1–2, and Philemon 21.)
- Make sure your child knows exactly what is expected of him. Most of the Book of Proverbs consists of specific counsel from a father to his son.
- Ask your child’s advice; include him in some of the family planning. (See John 6:5, I Timothy 4:12, and II Timothy 4:11.)
- When you have made a mistake with your child, admit it and ask him to forgive you. (See Matthew 5:23–24 and James 5:16.)
- Welcome contributions from your child. (See Proverbs 15:22; James 1:19, 3:13–18; and Titus 1:6–8.) Have family conferences in which you discuss things that affect the family, such as the following areas:
- Family goals
- Family projects
- Assess your child’s areas of strength and then encourage him to develop them. Begin with one area and encourage him to really develop in it. (See I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6, 4:5; and I Peter 4:10.)
- Give your child plenty of tender, loving care. Be free in your expressions of love by word and deed. (See John 13:34; I Corinthians 13:1–8, 16:14; and I Thessalonians 2:7–8.)
- When your child does something well, commend him. Especially let him know when his attitude and effort are what they should be. (See Ephesians 1:15–16, Philippians 1:3–6, Colossians 1:3–4, and I Thessalonians 1:2–10.)
- Be more concerned about God-honoring attitudes and character qualities than you are about performance, athletic skills, clothing, external beauty, or intelligence. (See I Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 23:25–28, Galatians 5:22–23, and I Peter 3:3–5.)
- Have a lot of fun with your child. Plan to have many fun times and to enjoy many special events with your child. Make a list of fun things your family can do together. (See Proverbs 15:13, 17:22; Ecclesiastes 3:4; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21; and Luke 15:22–24.)
- Help your child to learn responsibility by administering discipline fairly, consistently, lovingly, and promptly. (See I Samuel 3:13 and Proverbs 13:24, 19:18, 22:15.)
- Think of your child as a “human becoming,” as well as a “human being.” Patiently consider that the task of raising children is a process that usually takes eighteen to nineteen years to complete. (See Proverbs 22:6, Isaiah 28:9–10, Ephesians 6:4, Galatians 6:9, and I Corinthians 15:58.)
- Live your convictions consistently. Your child will learn more by observing your example than he will by listening to your words. (See Deuteronomy 6:4–9, I Thessalonians 2:10–12, Philippians 4:9, and II Timothy 1:5–7.)
- Recognize that you are responsible to prepare your child for life in this world and in the world to come. (See Deuteronomy 6:4–9, Psalm 78:5–7, Ephesians 6:4, and II Timothy 3:15–17.)
- Be very sensitive to the needs, feelings, fears, and opinions of your child. (See Matthew 18:10 and Colossians 3:21.)
- Make sure your child knows that he is important to you and accepted by you. (See Matthew 18:5–6.)
- Avoid the use of words that express wrath or exasperation. (See Proverbs 15:1 and Ephesians 4:31–32.)
- Maintain the practices of daily Bible reading, discussions, and prayer. (See Deuteronomy 6:4–9, II Timothy 3:15, Ephesians 6:4, and Psalm 1:1–3, 18:6, 119:9–11.)
- As a family, become thoroughly involved in a Biblical church. (See Ephesians 4:11–16 and Hebrews 10:24–25.)
- Make your home a center of hospitality, a place where your child can be brought into frequent contact with many Christians. (See Romans 12:9–13, Hebrews 13:1–2, and II Kings 4:8–37.)
- Make it easy for your child to approach you with problems, difficulties, and concerns. Learn to be a good listener when he needs you. Give your child your undivided attention. Avoid being a mind reader, an interrupter, or a critic. Show an interest in whatever interests your child. Make yourself available when your child needs you—even when you are busy. (See I Corinthians 9:19–23; Philippians 2:3–4; James 1:19–20, 3:16–18; and I John 3:16–18.)
- Seek to bring your child to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. God is the one who grants salvation, brings conviction of sin, and gives repentance and faith. You, however, can provide an environment in which God saves—by prayer, Godly speech and example, family devotions, and involvement in a sound, Biblical church. (See II Timothy 1:5–7 and 3:14–17.)
Prayers of Intercession
Praying for your children is one of the most important things you can do for them. There is constant spiritual warfare raging against your children, because the family is one of the enemy’s prime targets.
The following suggestions present specific things you can pray for your children. Take time to intercede for them in these areas and enter into spiritual warfare on their behalf.
Pray for your children:
- That they will trust Christ as their Savior. (See Psalm 63:1 and II Timothy 3:15.)
- That they will hate evil. (See Psalm 97:10.)
- That they will be caught when doing wrong. (See Numbers 32:23 and Galatians 6:7.)
- That they will be protected from the evil one in each area of their lives: spiritual, emotional, and physical. (See John 17:15.)
- That they will have a responsible attitude in all their relationships. (See Daniel 6:3.)
- That they will respect those in authority over them. (See Romans 13:1.)
- That they will desire to have wise friends and be protected from foolish companions. (See Proverbs 1:10–16.)
- That they will be kept for the right spouse. (See Proverbs 19:14 and II Corinthians 6:14–17.)
- That they, as well as those they marry, will remain pure until marriage. (See I Corinthians 6:13–20.)
- That they will be single-hearted, willing to be sold out to Jesus Christ. (See II Timothy 1:5–7, 3:14–17.)
- That they will be hedged in so they cannot find their way to wrong influences, places, people, or friends, and that these temptations will not come against them. (See Hosea 2:5–7.)
- That they will learn the great virtue of humility. (See James 4:6.)
Prayers Against Anger
Scripture warns fathers against provoking their children to anger: “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
The following list presents ways that a parent commonly provokes his child to anger. Take note of any specific areas of failure in your own life or in your son or daughter’s life. Often the attitudes of children reflect those of their parents; therefore, search your own life in relation to the struggles of your child.
How a parent can provoke a child to anger:
- By modeling anger. (See Proverbs 22:24–25.)
- By not having marital harmony. (See Genesis 2:24 and Hebrews 12:15.)
- By consistently disciplining in anger. (See Psalm 6:1, 38:1.)
- By being inconsistent with discipline. (See Ecclesiastes 8:11.)
- By having double standards. (See Matthew 23:1–4 and Philippians 4:9.)
- By not admitting error. (See Matthew 5:23–26, Job 32:2, and James 5:16.)
- By constantly finding fault in others. (See Colossians 3:12–15.)
- By reversing God-given roles. (See Ephesians 5:22–25 and Genesis 3:16.)
- By not listening to the child’s opinion or the child’s side of the story. (See Proverbs 18:13, 17.)
- By comparing the child to others. (See II Corinthians 10:12.)
- By not taking time to talk with the child. (See Hebrews 13:16.)
- By not praising the child. (See II Corinthians 2:6–8.)
- By failing to keep promises. (See Matthew 5:37, Colossians 3:9, and Psalm 15:4.)
- By scolding the child in front of others. (See Matthew 18:15 and John 21:15–17.)
- By giving too much freedom. (See Proverbs 29:15 and Galatians 4:1–2.)
- By being too strict. (See James 3:17.)
- By making fun of the child. (See Matthew 18:10.)
- By abusing the child physically. (See I Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7, and Numbers 22.)
- By calling names. (See Ephesians 4:29.)
- By having unrealistic expectations. (See I Corinthians 13:11.)
In regard to each failure, repent of your sin and receive the Lord’s forgiveness. (See I John 1:9.) Ask the Lord for grace and power to forsake your sin and to walk in newness of life. Pray that the Lord would limit the damaging effects of your failures on your children, and where you see failures in their lives, pray for conviction and grace for them to change. Open your Bible to each verse and pray out loud the associated Scripture.
For more information about resolving anger, we recommend the Anger Resolution Seminar.
Praying for a Hedge of Protection
In our struggle against evil, we are dealing with spiritual powers. Therefore, we are to put on the whole armor of God and stand against the attacks of the wicked one. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10–13).
One powerful weapon that every Christian parent has is the ability to pray a daily hedge of protection around each of his children. Job experienced this protection, and Satan complained to God about its effectiveness: “Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?” (Job 1:10).
There are three parts to a prayer for a hedge of protection:
- Ask God to bind and rebuke the power of Satan in the life of each one in your family. Be mighty through God to pull down strongholds. “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house” (Mark 3:27).
- Pray in the name and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Christ’s name is Protector, the Good Shepherd who gives His life for His sheep.
- Claim the Scripture that relates to the kind of protection that is needed. For example, for protection from sin, you can claim a verse such as Romans 6:14: “For sin shall not have dominion over you.” For protection from discouragement, you could claim this promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
Heavenly Father, I ask You in the name and through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to bind and rebuke Satan and to put a hedge of protection around me and each one in my family. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in . . . [us] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). In the name of Jesus Christ our Shepherd, Amen.
As you support your sons and daughters in prayer, do not become discouraged. Do not give up or succumb to the idea that your prayers are meaningless. Consider the impact that prayer has had in your life and in the lives of those around you. “. . . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16b). Truly, prayer is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child.
This article is adapted from material by Dr. Jim Logan of the International Center for Biblical Counseling in Sioux City, Iowa. The section on intercession is adapted from material by Pastor Charles W. Wetherbee of Victory Baptist Church, Weatherford, Texas.