Prayer offers an amazing opportunity for us to see God work in the lives of our children. During my Scripture reading one day, the Lord drew my attention to Philippians 1:6, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (RSV).

I prayed, "Lord, You began a good work in me when our daughter, Gail, became mine through marriage, when our sons, Jeff and Kevin, became mine through birth. I ask You to bring that work to completion."

Now, 30 years later, I’ve had the joy of seeing all three of our children become mature Christians with families of their own. God was faithful to answer my prayer.

As Christian parents, we share a privilege – the opportunity to come to God through prayer. As O. Hallesby writes, "To pray is nothing more involved than to open the door, giving Jesus access to our needs and permitting Him to exercise His own power in dealing with them."

But perhaps you’ve struggled with knowing how to pray for your children and for yourself. You’re not alone; many Christian parents often feel as though their prayers somehow fall short. We can take comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, even when we’re not sure how we should pray.

Praying for help

As you mature in the discipline of prayer, the Holy Spirit will show you which prayers are most important for you and your children. Here are a few prayers I’ve found essential to my own parenting:

  • Lord, You know I want to be a godly, consistent parent, but I can’t do it without You. Help me live in such a way that my children know my love for them and see Your qualities in me.
  • I commit myself to daily Bible reading and prayer. Lead me, guide me and change me.
  • Remind me often that my greatest gift to my children is to help them know You. Help me prepare the soil for them to grow deep and strong and receive Your salvation.
  • Father, our family needs fun times together. Help us do those simple, everyday things out of which healthy bonding grows.
  • Help me, Lord, to make time for good talks with my kids. Help me recognize and respond to teachable moments – those earth-stands-still moments when my child asks something he or she really wants to know.
  • Lord, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, remind me when a child of mine needs extra prayer. Tell me what I should ask.

Praying for your kids

Such help-me prayers lead naturally into prayers for our children. Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 1:12 form the basis for a great prayer: "Lord Jesus, I am convinced that You are able to guard what I entrust to You. I commit my children to You and thank You for Your protection and care."

Here are some more prayers:

  • Help my children to stand for what’s right instead of what’s easy but wrong.
  • Give them enough success to be certain of Your love for them, enough favour to be aware of Your kindness, but enough humility to know that they can do nothing worthwhile without You.
  • Show them Your holiness, and give them the power to live in a way that honours You.
  • Lord, inspire my children with meaningful life interests.
  • At the right time, give my daughter guidance in her choice of a husband. Give my son guidance when he chooses a wife. May the marriages of my children be a source of joy, both to them and to You. (And to me also, Lord!)

Perhaps these prayers can give you a place to begin. But remember, the words themselves do not matter as much as your attitude of faith, humility and dependence on God. He hears the cry of your heart – even when you have no words to express it.

Lois Walfrid Johnson has two daughters-in-law and a son-in-law who show her the perks of being a mom.

© 2007 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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