Praying for our children is one of God’s greatest gifts as a parent.
I am guilty of not recognizing the importance of intercession on behalf of my children until my boys were grown and gone. But our God of Second Chances says it is never too late. He can take our tardiness to prayer
and make it into something life-changing for our children and us.
I remember as a young mother, throwing up a foxhole prayer when trials and turmoil swirled around our house landing on everything and everyone like dust. I’m sure my prayers were more like,
“God, help me not throw this chair,”
“God, please make my child do his homework.”
These were prayers for me, not my children. I believe God hears these prayers that are more self-centered than child-centered. He must. I don’t think I ever threw a chair.
Being a parent who began a real walk with Jesus late in life after my sons were old enough to make decisions and choices, I suffer from the pain of regret for not praying for my young children. Would their lives have been different? How would my parenting have been different? Being able to look back with a twinge of “what if’s” teaches me how important it is to start right where I am and pray for my children as adults.
I read this in my Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest” devotional:
“Let your memory have its way with you. It is a minister of God bringing its rebuke and sorrow to you. God will turn what might have been into a wonderful lesson of growth for the future.”
Thanks, Oswald, for showing me that regret can turn into growth.
I believe that it is never too late to start anything that involves walking with Jesus. You can turn around right where you are and change everything. Romans 8:28 tells us God can use everything, even our messes and belated starts, for His purpose. I love the Amplified Bible translation:
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
This passage tells me that God is not done with me as a parent. So, I have learned to make it a practice to pray for my adult children at every opportunity with gratitude and thanksgiving.
There are other times as well that I pray with a broken heart. Maybe one of the boys is suffering a disappointment, or struggling with a faith question, or making less than ideal choices. As a parent of adult children, it’s hard to stay on the sidelines and watch the battle. The only weapon we have is prayer.
It’s a family affair as well. If you have nieces, nephews, and grand-littles, they need your prayer as well. Our babies and grown babies need all the intercession that parents, aunts, grandmas, and friends can pray over them. Ask those moms in your life how you can help to intercede.
This is the latest picture of all my kiddos: (left to right) Kyle and his wife Lindsey, Ryan (the baby), and Emily (the newest beautiful daughter-in-law) married to the oldest son, Ian.
How do we know what to pray? Knowing what to pray can be difficult because our adult children don’t always tell us everything, but there are many things they always need prayer for.
Here are ten prayers to ignite your intercession.
Pray for their spiritual life. The most important thing our children need is Jesus. If they do not have Him, then may our fervent prayer every day be that their heart is softened to the Gospel. Our Christian children need prayer as well. There is a war raging around them, and the enemy is relentless. Pray your children know Christ and entreat God to strengthen them in the fight against the enemy.
Pray for the right people to come into their lives. The people in our children’s life can influence the direction they take. When I asked moms what the number one thing they pray over their children second to salvation, the majority said: “that God put the right people in their lives.” The right people can change the direction of our children’s lives. The wrong people can, too. Ask God to lead your children to godly, wise people, that encourage and spur your children on.
Pray for protection over their minds and hearts. If you turn on the television or fire up the laptop, it is immediately clear that our hearts and minds are in a battle against the enemy. The world swirls with enticing suggestions that threaten our oldest children into sin. Appeal to God for the protection of their hearts and minds asking that your children be spared the temptations.
Pray for wisdom and humility. Sometimes our children seem to know more than we do and sometimes they think they know more than we do. I know my boys have been known to listen and ignore (not listen and learn). Pray your children gain wisdom that comes through humility, a willingness to learn and dependence on God’s guidance.
Pray for their influence on others. In the same way others influence our children, our children affect others. Ask God to help your children make choices and use words that influence others for the kingdom. Pray that people who observe your children, see Jesus.
Pray for their future spouse. It’s hard to imagine, but our children will spend more years with their spouse than us. That is why it is never too early to start praying for that young woman or man that will become your child’s spouse. Pray they will recognize that person as the one chosen by God and ask God to make your child a godly partner that honors and cherishes their mate.
Pray for success. We know that not everything we do is successful. There will be failures and disappointment in our children’s lives as well. May we pray that God will give them enough success to be sure of His love for them and enough blessings to know His kindness. Ask that your children be grateful for His gifts and grace.
Pray they follow God’s call and guidance. When my children left home, I often obsessed about what they were doing, worrying they would lose their way. Maybe our prayer becomes a plea for God to open their ears and hearts to His voice and give them a willingness to follow obediently.
Pray they serve others well. The world needs love. Our children are the next generation to extend God’s love and to impact and change hearts for the kingdom. Pray they have compassion for those in need and seek justice for the oppressed. Ask that they perceive and see the needs of others and accept opportunities to obey the command to love others as ourselves.
Pray for physical safety. In my not-so-scientific research about prayers for children, the second request after godly people was safety. Maybe you can relate: lying in bed, eyes wide worrying until you know they are tucked in safe at home (or their home). The only comfort when that happens is to petition God to protect our children from physical harm, to remove them from unsafe situations and give them discernment to know how to be safe.
When I first started making this list, I drafted the help of other moms of older kids, and they suggested things I didn’t think of. If I listed them here, the list could go on for pages and pages. This list is then not all-inclusive, but the important thing is that we are praying for our adult children (and young children). If like me, you missed the opportunity to pray over them when they were little, it’s not too late. Maybe it’s even the right time. I hope you will consider praying for your children, from baby-sized to super-sized adults, a privilege and an honor.
Father, we love you and praise you. You are the God of Second Chances, giving us the opportunity begin right where we are.. Thank you for the privilege and honor to pray for our children, young or older. We know that what we ask in Jesus name with be heard and answered.
What prayers do you pray for your children? Have you seen those prayers answered? Would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment and let’s talk about how to pray for and support our adult children.