You gotta love how those Disney movies always throw in zingers to capture the attention of the parents, not just the kids. One of my favorite, poignant parent moments from Finding Nemo was when Marlin says, “I don’t want anything to happen to him!” (Referring To his son, Nemo) But through the adventure of actually finding Nemo, Marlin realizes that if nothing ever happens to Nemo that would be the very worst thing to actually happen to him.
I catch myself in this type of Marlin “thinking” all the time. My worrisome mom prayers frequently reflect my heart and what I think God is capable of…or not. There are the “natural” prayers, the ones that feel right, because my mom mind lurks along down the dark alleys of “What ifs.” So, naturally, as I think a worrisome thought, I start to pray for my kids.
“God, please be with my kids today. ” (Doh. Of COURSE you are with them everyday.)
“God, please protect my kids today from all evil.” (Standard prayer, but important!)
“God, please help my child with XYZ physical ailment.”
“God, help my child to make friends.”
“God, help my child to get a good job, get good grades, get into a good school.”
“God, please help my child to find a godly spouse.”
I think of all these prayers as falling into the category of “God, help nothing happen to my kids today. ” While there is a time and a place for all of these prayers, I believe the thrust of our prayers for our children should be praying for their hearts, without neglecting the prayers for all our own anxious, nagging thoughts and for their physical well-being.
I pray protection over our children every day, including prayers for peaceful, restful sleep. But, when God told me on Easter Sunday (two days before our kids’ car accident), “You are going to have to pray for your kids’ protection this week,” I didn’t want to do it. In a bit of a superstitious reaction, I briefly believed that actually praying in response to that prompting would acknowledge that what I heard in my head was actually from God. In doing so, I would be accepting the fact that they would be in some kind of danger. BUT, I am glad I did it anyways, as they really, truly were in mortal danger. I always have to shake off my superstitious mom thoughts. As a believer in Jesus, there is simply no room for “mystical” thinking.
BUT, there are prayers that go deeper and are more powerful than any worry prayer.
In fact, often times, we spend time as parents worrying about cleaning up the outside of our kids, “Eye rolls, laziness, attitude, hygiene” that we forget that from all of the things in their lives that matter come roots that are established deep in their hearts.
“Father God, do my kids really love you? I mean, do they REALLY love you? God, I want my kids to hunger and thirst for you. I want them to love you with an unquenchble passion.”
“God, what is going on inside of my child’s heart? Is there anything I need to know about? How do you want me to pray for my child? How do you want me to love my child/ren?”
There are prayers that go deep like a well. You are the parent. You have authority in the lives of your children to pray over them the way that no one else will, except their future (or present) spouse. Have you ever been confronted with a character issue with a child that just wrenches your heart? I remember when my mom taught me to wring out a wash cloth when I was a kid. I would think I was done wringing and mom could always wring more water out of that washcloth. I couldn’t believe it.
When you are full like a wet washcloth…full of concern, full of love, full of anxiety, full of pain, are you leaving the pathetic state of your heart lying there in a hot sopping mess like that unwrung washcloth? Or do you wring every little last drop out of the washcloth until it is dry in Spirit-filled intercession? Many people would say this is emotionalism. I would say it is giving God your emotions instead of being emotionally constipated and controlling your life in fear.
You know, a dry cloth or sponge is ready to be filled again. If you wring out the unwanted, God is now able to fill you with the wanted. With himself.
You may not know where to start to pray for your children or for someone else in your life whom you are greatly distressed over, but I hope by the end of this read you will begin to feel equipped. And remember, practice makes perfect.
Are you praying “bless my children” prayers or are you storming heaven for “everything God has to offer” prayers?
Here are a few things to remember before you get started.
1. You are the parent. You have spiritual authority over your children. You are able to pray for them and activate the heavenlies in amazing ways.
2. Trust the Holy Spirit. He will speak to your heart about your kids. He will lead you in all truth and lead you as you pray.
3. Don’t trust your emotions. Trusting God is different than trusting your emotions or “following your heart.” Fear is my enemy in prayer and in parenting. Fear clouds the mind and the judgement. Also, anger clouds judgement. If you are angry with your child or spouse, you may need to spend time praying through that. If you are angry with someone who has hurt your child, that is something that also needs dealt with. Some of the most amazing learning lessons with my kids were times that I taught them to forgive people and treat people with honor and respect, instead of going for the jugular or running away from friendships that were going through an awkward phase. You need to be in prayer so God can direct you, as you direct your children. Your children need a model of righteousness, not another display of worldly philosophies and relationship skills. Growing in Christ means giving up your ideas and relationship skills to Jesus willingly and allowing him to mold your own adult heart into his image, and for his glory.
4. Jesus loves your kids more than you do. Got it? Good.
5. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Do you BELIEVE that Jesus loves your kids more than you do? Do you believe he wants to work in their lives? Yes? No? Maybe So?
6. When you have no words, and all you can do is cry/groan/moan/wail/weep/sob…The Holy Spirit actually intercedes through your emotional, gut-wrenching sounds.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:26-28 NIV
My encouragement today is that you begin, if you haven’t done so, to start praying for your children’s hearts. Pray for God to show you how to love them. Pray for God to show you how to protect and nurture their hearts. Only God knows a child’s heart better than their parents. Pray for their heart towards God and their heart towards others. Are they fearful? Don’t placate, control or try to protect them from their fears. Pray for their hearts to be strengthened. Pray for God to remove a spirit of fear. Pray for God to fill them with truth, love and courage. Pray for God to reveal sin to their hearts and to convict them of things that are big and little issues.
And only you and God know how your sweet (or sour) child’s heart is wired. Are they hard with lots of emotional walls? Do you have some guilt over big parenting mistakes that are behind you? God can restore the years the locusts have eaten. God can deal gently with your child. God can say things to them they would never ever hear from you.
God can also open up doors for teachable moments and softened hearts.
So, if you are ready to pray for your child, remember that this is just an outline. You can work with this and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit for greater revelation on how to pray for your loved ones. Remember to expect from God. He wants to work and to speak to you.
PRAYER TIME: (about time!)
There is a foundational prayer for every parent at the beginning, and then specific prayers for specific issues. You may scroll down to find the one that is best for your situation. If there is something not dealt with, feel free to comment and I will add something for that situation.
“Father in Jesus name, I come before you today acknowledging that you are my good father. I have nothing else as good on this earth as you are to me, Oh Lord my God. You are a perfect parent, while I am an imperfect parent. I praise your Holy name and pray for the power of your Spirit to descend upon me as I pray. I need your love and your support as I begin to pray for my child/children. Teach me how to pray for them. Make me a prayer warrior for my family, Lord.
Father, in Jesus name, forgive me of any and all unknown sin in my life that would hinder the work of your Holy Spirit. There are places in your Word that say that unforgiveness can keep us from having access to you in prayer. Also, being harsh with a wife will also hinder a husband’s prayers. Please forgive me for all sin in this area, as I forgive those who have sinned against me, in the holy name of Jesus.
God, I pray that your kingdom will come and your will be done in my family. I pray you build your kingdom in the lives and hearts of my child/children (name them here), in Jesus name. Build your kingdom in my heart and life that I can be the parent you want me to be. Build your kingdom in my spouses’ heart and life. Also, build it in my community and in our town and in my church in Jesus. Name! Send your kingdom. May it rise up!
Father, I pray that my child will love you. I want to see my children living passionately for you, not swayed by the world or the devil. I pray for spiritual protection today for my child. I pray in Jesus name and rebuke the plans of the enemy to harm my children, to bring temptation and or to lie to or deceive my family. In the name of Jesus, the Lord rebuke you, Satan! The same Jesus who died and rose again is Lord of my home and I declare for everyone to hear that my family belongs to Jesus.
Father, may our home be a home of praise and worship. Fill my children with your worship. May then experience you in such a way in their lives that their only reaction will be to worship. I pray that I will be a great example of worshipping you. May my life be consistent as a disciple of Christ. Please, Lord God, remove any hypocrisy from my heart and life. Help me to live for you in word and deed, in Jesus name. May my children see a life that is dedicated to you. May this be to your glory, not mine, Lord God.
I pray that you will provide for all of my familiy’s needs according to your riches in glory. God you know what my family needs. Please help me to provide what they need, emotionally, spiritually, physically and even relationally and mentally.
Father God, my child struggles with weaknesses, like all people. I pray in Jesus name that in their weakness (name what it is), you will be strong. I pray that they will not be held back in fear, because of their weaknesses, but will go forward in your power and triumph.
Prayer for a fearful child:
Father God, I bring you____, in Jesus name. Father, reveal to me why my child is so timid/anxious/fearful/terrified/panicky. Show me how to pray for them, in Jesus name. God, I pray you will deliver my child ____ from fear, in Jesus name. I pray that you teach them to trust you. Heal them from anything that happened in their past that brought in this fear. Father, show me if I am doing anything that is causing fear to rise up in my child. Am I perfectionistic? Am I angry? Am I difficult to please? Am I showing my child love in word, with physical affection, quality time or acts of service? Show me how to love my child. Forgive me for my sin in the area of parenting and teach me and fill me so I can love my child better.
It says in your word that perfect love casts out fear. I pray that your perfect love will cast the fear from my child’s life, in Jesus name. Please open his/her heart to receive love, in Jesus name. Please go into place of pain and bring healing. Please heal ____ from times that I wasn’t being the best parent. Please forgive me for times I have been selfish, angry or have not loved fully.
Father, in the name of Jesus, I stand against a spirit of fear in _____. I command fear to leave in Jesus name. I pray against the enemy Satan and all of his power to make my son or daughter feel insecure and not understand or receive the security and love of God or me. Deliver my child from fear, Father God, in Jesus name. You did not give us a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of Love, Power and a Sound Mind.
Work in the hearts of my family. Are we showing love in an unconditional way? Father, teach us to love. Open our hearts to one another, in Jesus name.
Teach me how to help my child overcome fear in practical ways, Lord God. Strengthen me as a parent. Give me discernment through your Holy Spirit’s power, in Jesus name.
Prayer for an angry child.
Father, in Jesus name, I don’t know what to do with _____. They are always in anger and I feel helpless to deal with it. My child’s anger makes me want to ________. (Run, hide, blow up, over react…) God, I need your wisdom to deal with _____’s anger. I need your Spirit to reveal to me why this is happening, and to defuse the anger in his or her life, in Jesus name.
Father, please show me if there is a reason or a root that my child’s anger stems from. Please teach me, Lord, I want to know. Show me if there is something I need to know that has been hidden from me. Show me if there is something that I do that needs to change.
Father, I pray and stand against anger, rage and bitterness in my child, in Jesus name. I pray that you will convict them of anger and that they will begin to seek out help. I pray that you will give them a desire for peace. I pray against the fact that anger is part of my child’s identity now. I pray that you will strip that away and give them a new identity in Christ…a peaceful and self-controlled identity. I pray that you help me walk my child through forgiving those who have hurt him/her, even if it was me. Take away any pride in my life that may be in the way of my child getting the help he/she needs.
Father, remove anger from our home. Remove it completely. Fill our home with the peace that passes all understanding. I pray that you will teach us to love our children deeply, from the heart. Soften my angry child’s heart. Give him/her an openness to transformation, in Jesus name. I pray against all rebellion, self-righteousness, and pride in my beautiful child, in Jesus name. I pray you will give him/her a submissive heart that is open to correction and is obedient and eager to love.
Prayer for a lying child.
Father, in Jesus name, I pray for ____. I ask that you teach me how to handle his/her lying. I ask, Father God, in the name of Jesus, for your Spirit to come over my child and convict them strongly of his/her sin of lying. I pray that you will break the sin of lying in my child, in Jesus name. Show me if we have indirectly encouraged dishonestly in any way in our home. Forgive me for any dishonestly in my own life. I pray that our home will be a home of trust, honesty and integrity, in Jesus name.
Father, I pray that you show me if lying is a sin that tends to run in our family. (If it is… pray this way) I ask you to forgive the sin of lying that has plagued my family for generations. I pray and claim that my family is in Christ Jesus. We are not under the curse of the sin of our forefathers, we are in Christ. My son/daughter is in Christ. As his/her parent, I stand against the power of lying in our child. I break the generational bondage of sin over my family, in Jesus name. God, it says in your Word that the sins of the forefathers are visited on the 3rd and 4th generations, but righteousness is for a thousand generations. I pray that you will save our children from generations of sneaking, hiding, dishonesty, lying, flattering, exaggerations and more, in the name of Jesus. I rebuke a spirit of lying away from my child and command it to leave in Jesus’ powerful and mighty name.
(Pray with your child to repent of the sin of lying, to ask God to forgive him or her. Lead them in this prayer.) “Father God, forgive me for lying. Show me why I lie so much. Forgive me for lying to try to please people and to get away with things. Break the power of lying in me, Jesus. Satan is the Father of lies, and I don’t want to speak his language. I want to speak your language, God, the language of truth. I rebuke Satan and a spirit of lying and command it to leave me in the name of Jesus and never come back. I pray Father that you will fill me with your Holy Spirit, in Jesus name.”
Father, fill me with truth. Fill my family with truth. Chase away the lies, in Jesus name.
Prayers for a depressed child.
Father, in Jesus name, I pray for my depressed child. I intercede on their behalf. I ask for you to remove the power of depression, in Jesus name. Help my child. Remove any fear, anger or guilt they are living in. Jesus, show me why they are struggling with this. I stand against all spirits of depression, in Jesus name, I rebuke all suicidal spirits or spirits of self-harm in Jesus’ name. I command Satan to leave my child alone and never come back, in Jesus’ name.
I pray that you teach me, as a parent, how to love and minister to my child’s heart. I pray that you give my child good friends. I pray that you fill their neediness and steady their emotions, Lord God. I am begging you for my child’s heart. I pray for his/her healing. Take away all confusion and all fear in Jesus name. Lift the dark veil over the eyes of his/her heart in the name of Jesus. Bring clarity. Bring peace.
Help me to not ignore this problem, Lord, as difficult as it is. Help me to know how to pray specifically for my child, Lord Jesus. Show me if anything has happened to expose my child to harm in a way that has brought depression. Reveal the roots of this depression in Jesus name. If my child needs too forgive anyone, help them too, Lord.
Fill my child with your security, love, peace and truth, in Jesus name. Help us to create an atmosphere of love where our child can flourish, in Jesus name.
Prayers for a hard-hearted child:
Father, in Jesus name, please soften my child’s heart. Please bring healing to areas of his/her heart that I cannot reach with anything I say and/or do. Please, Father God, give my son/daughter a heart that cares for others. Please forgive them for being hard-hearted. May they have your heart for the lost and for the hurting and those who aren’t just like them. May the oil of your Holy Spirit work on our child every day, in Jesus name. Give him/her deeper relationships, and an openness to those who aren’t people he/her would normally hang out with. May our child be a light to world, in Jesus name.
Prayer for emotional/heart healing after exposure to inappropriate materials or experiences.
Father, in Jesus name, I claim that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I claim that the same God who created the universe is the same God who is working in my child’s heart right now, in Jesus’ name.
I pray father God that you will erase the evil memories from our child/ren. Remove trauma in Jesus name. Father, in the name of Jesus, bring the healing oil of your Holy Spirit to our children’s minds, hearts and futures in Jesus name. I speak freedom into my child’s life, in Jesus name and rebuke Satan’s tactics to destroy my son/daughter in Jesus name. God bring the people to justice who have committed crimes, in Jesus name. Heal my son/daughter’s heart. Teach me how to handle this subject with them, in Jesus’ name.
Cleanse his/her mind of the negative memories. Cleanse them completely, Lord God. Give them an abundance of other thoughts that are clean, holy, pure and lovely, in Jesus name. Teach me to have meaningful conversations with our child who has been negatively affected. Heal, Oh Lord, Heal!
Help me to walk through this with our child, in Jesus name. Help us to have the stamina, energy and faith, in Jesus name, to walk through this together. Help me to talk with our son/daughter as much as is needed. Father, please allow healthy faithful connections occur within our home so that he/she can deal with this. We need you, Lord Jesus. We need to set boundaries. We need to have rules in place for our children. Help us to be united as one when it comes to cell phone and internet use.
Lord God, restore the years that have been stolen from our children, because of what has happened. Bring restoration and may I be a part of this process, in Jesus name.
If this little guide has been helpful to you, please share it. Please continue to pray for your children’s hearts, whether small or adults! God hears you!