When you pray, you get to talk with God, but did you know that you are also modeling prayer to your children? They watch what you do. When you pray for them, you give them a gift. Here are ways that other parents have captured little moments with God to pray for their children and what they've prayed:
A Scrapbook of Prayers
Every year, I ask the Lord for a Bible verse to pray over each of the children in my life, including my son, niece and nephew. I write this verse, along with the child's name and the year, on an index card, and then I tape the card to a place where I will see it every day.
I keep the cards from previous years in an envelope. When the children graduate from high school, I will present them with a small scrapbook of the verses I prayed over them as they were growing up.
Pray Without Ceasing
As a mother of a newborn, I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. So finding the time to pray for my child seemed impossible — until I learned how to fit in a prayer or two whenever I spent time with my child.
While feeding or bathing him or taking him for a stroller ride, I prayed for him. This strategy was effective and rewarding.
I ended up doing this with each of my children, even as they grew older. My kids learned that we could talk to God about anything at any time, just like you would talk to a good friend.
Praying for Your Kids
A parenting adviser suggested that we write down our prayers for our children in a notebook. This helped me realize that I often prayed for ordinary things, such as good grades, friendships and baseball games, as well as sore throats and sprained ankles. But I was neglecting to pray for my children's deeper needs.
Their souls, as well as their bodies, have been placed in my care. So, I wrote a list of seven things to pray over my children, and I tucked this list in my prayer journal:
- Lord, I pray that You will remind my children daily that Your love for them is everlasting (Psalm 103:17).
- Cultivate a grateful heart within them (Psalm 118:28).
- Help them speak the truth to others and to themselves (Ephesians 4:25).
- Fill them with joy and peace (Romans 15:13).
- Make them a blessing to everyone they meet (1 Peter 3:9).
- Help them to listen to Your Word and do what it says (Luke 11:28).
- May they never walk away from You; draw their hearts closer so You will always be near them (James 4:8).
Prayers for Little Ears to Hear
When my son was only a few months old, I realized that I needed to model prayer for him; my silent prayers throughout the day weren't going to be enough.
So I began praying aloud. Even when my son was too young to understand, I took his little hand and prayed over our meals, thanking God for His provision and blessings. I enjoyed these sweet times but couldn't help wondering, Is he really learning anything?
When my son was about a year old, I got my answer. We sat down for lunch, and he held his hand out to me with a single word — "Pray." My heart soared as I realized that, even at a young age, he was learning to talk with God as part of his daily routine.
Our family has grown, but prayer is still a vital part of each day. We thank God for blessings, pray for strangers when we see ambulances, ask for help when problems arise and pray for Daddy's safety at work.
A Community of Prayer
I hugged my sons and scooted them out the door. Seeing them head off for another day of junior high school stirred my motherly concern, so I prayed, "Lord, protect my boys. Help them see the difference between right and wrong and make godly decisions." At that moment I realized my children and the children at their school needed the covering of corporate prayer. I asked the Lord for one other mom who would pray with me, and by the next week there were five women in my home praying together for our children and their school.
Prayer partners. As mothers we prayed with the fervor of the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote: "pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children" (Lamentations 2:19). When I started praying with other moms, I had no doubt that praying together was both important and powerful, but then I found that it could also make a mother's burdens lighter.
When my son Ty started down a road of rebellion, my prayer partners cried out with me in faith for him. Jesus taught that we "should always pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1). When we talk to Him, God does answer — in His timing and according to His perfect will. God's part is to change hearts; our privilege and responsibility is to pray. For years we prayed for Ty, and then one glorious day, he gave his life to Christ.
The best investment. Our prayers live before God, and we're changed when we participate in His call to prayer. As mothers gather together, we not only make a difference in the lives of our children, but we also reap immeasurable benefits:
- Our faith becomes stronger.
- Our confidence in answered prayer increases.
- Our hope is revived.
- Friendships develop.
- We realize we are not alone with our burdens.
- We experience the presence of Jesus.
It's a continuing joy to pray on behalf of my now grown children. After all, the best investment and the greatest legacy I can leave my family is the gift of my prayers.
The Gift of Prayer
Don't wait for a crisis to pray for your children. You have an opportunity to give them a gift beyond compare by taking their current and future needs to God.
Pray they will…
- Enjoy their God-given life.
- Learn and grow.
- Have God's wisdom to handle life's challenges.
- Pursue a personal relationship with Christ.
- Learn from their mistakes.
- God will be their guide.
- God will help them love who He has created them to be.
- God's glory will permeate their lives.
Pray for their future…
Pray for Your Kids
I was touched, almost stunned. We sat on a train — Dad, my wife and I — ready to travel from our house in the northwest suburbs down to Chicago for the day. The incident occurred a few months before my wife, Angela, became pregnant, but we had been quietly thinking of starting a family.
Dad began talking to Angela. I was reading a book but caught snippets of their conversation. "You were exactly the girl I prayed Daniel would marry.…"
I put down my book and looked over at Dad. I had never heard him say this before. I knew he loved and admired Angela, but this was new information. Dad began to share his personal prayer journey. He had started making requests to the Lord — for me — before I was even born.
In the past, I'd heard parents talk about praying for their kids like this, but each time I thought, What good does it do when the child is still in the womb, swimming in amniotic fluid? I understood the usual prayer that accompanies childbirth: the health of mother and baby. To me, anything beyond that seemed over-the-top. But since that day on the train, Dad's words have lingered in my heart. His words made me realize that the life I now live is largely a result of Dad's quiet faith.
My daughter, Grace, is only 1 year old, yet I've begun to see the wisdom of Dad's prayer principle. So often I find myself getting caught in the tangle of the everyday that I lose perspective. Prayer settles me down and brings me back to my purpose as a parent. I'm passing the torch of faith to my daughter.
Now I know that many of my father's earnest prayer sessions were not for his own welfare but heartfelt entreaties sent to the heavenly Father just for me. Can a son ask for anything more? And so I want Grace to have the same story and continue the generational journey with God. That's why I pray for her — early and often.
—Daniel Michael Darling