Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and today's culture isn't making it any easier. And when we feel like were struggling, it can be tempting to throw up our hands and simply declare, "All we can do now is pray!"
Once our kids have "flown the nest," our parenting will change dramatically, but our sons and daughters will always need our prayers.
Prayer is one of the most important parenting assignments we've been given. It is an eternal investment in our kids' hearts and souls, and we must never under estimate its impact.
The Battle Begins
Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes. -- Nehemiah 4:14
The things you give to God in prayer - your worries, concerns, and needs - are the ties that bind your heart to his. Our struggles are his entry points.
The more we allow the Bible to shape our prayers, the more our requests will line up with God's plan.
There is no "perfect" family.
Everyone - even that beautiful woman who sits across the aisle from you at church, the one with the daughter who just got engaged and the son who just got promoted - has issues. When it comes to raising our children and pursuing God's best for their lives, we all need huge buckets of his grace, and we are all in this together.
It's never too late to start praying God's best for your children.
It doesn't matter how old your children are. You never stop being a parent. You never stop caring.
Blessing and Releasing Your Adult Child
Our adult children have different needs, but all of them can use the prayer of blessing.
A blessing is not the same thing as an endorsement. It's a way of handing our children's future over to God.
As you pray God's blessing on your children, release your plans and trust in God to accomplish his.
Praying for Your Child's Transition to Adulthood
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. -- 1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT
God's ways are not our ways. Ask him to show you how to pray for your children.
As your children navigate the path to adulthood, ask God to help them be wise and make the most of every opportunity.
God gave our children unique talents and abilities. Trust him to put these attributes to good use.
A Year of Prayer
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -- Romans 12:12
Choosing one verse to pray all year long expands your time horizon and allows an awareness of God's faithfulness to take root in your prayer life.
When God gives you a promise to pray for your adult child, leave room for him to fulfill it in ways that go beyond anything you could have imagined.
Reading the Bible allows God's message to penetrate our minds, shape our desires, and give voice to our prayers.
Praying for Good Friends and Fellowship
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. -- Proverbs 27:17
We are created for connection. Ask God to bless your child with rich and meaningful relationships.
Ask God to use your children's worldly interests to connect them to people whose passion is for him.
If your child is not going to church, ask God to prompt someone to invite him.
The Bible offers several portraits of friendships marked by loyalty, dependability, and faithfulness. Jonathan became "one in spirit" with David, giving him his robe (symbolic of his identity) and making a covenant of friendship that would last between their descendants forever. Let's ask God to give our kids faithful friends and to draw them into a life-giving relationship with Jesus, the one who gave up his life "for his friends."
Praying for a Future Spouse
"Let her be the one that the LORD has chosen for my master's son. -- Genesis 24:44
When the time came for his son to get married, Abraham had one main request: Issac's bride couldn't be a Canaanite; rather,he wanted her to be someone from his own country. He sent his servant off to do the picking, and when the fellow got to Abraham's hometown, he prayed a very specific prayer: "LORD ... make me successful today ... May it be that when I say to a young woman, 'Please let down your jar that I may have a drink; and she says, 'Drink, and I'll water your camels too' - let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Issac."
Rebekah showed up, gave the servant a drink, and then offered to fetch water for the camels too - all ten of them.
Almost everyone the author has talked to said they wanted their son or daughter to marry a Christian.
When you pray for your child's marriage partner, it's okay to be specific, but be prepared for God to surprise you.
Praising God changes our perspective and releases supernatural peace, hope, and joy.
Pray that your child's sense of identity and worth will be found in Christ rather than in being single or married.
Praying for a Young Marriage
A man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery. -- Ephesians 5:31-32
We do the praying; God does the changing.
When your children get married, your prayers take on a new dimension. Now you're not just praying for him or for her; you're also praying for them.
Consider using the example of biblical characters - real people, with real relationships and real problems - to shape your prayers for your children.
With a Spirit-filled marriage, all good things are possible.
Praying through a Trouble Married or a Divorce
Be patient, bearing with one another in love. -- Ephesians 4:2
Destructive family patterns can be broken. Ask God to break these bonds and set your children free.
"Let's pray to break any generational bonds or patterns of evil."
When you pray for your child's troubled marriage, remember that his or her spouse is not the enemy.
When your children go through painful trials, ask God to use their suffering to produce perseverance, character, and hope.
Praying for a Good Place to Live
God begun by making one person, and from him came all the different people who live everywhere in the world. God decided exactly when and where they must live. -- Acts 17:26 NCV
Finding a good place to live can take time. Ask God to give your children (and you, if they are at home) the strength to "walk and not be faint."
Asking God to give your child wisdom is always a good starting place for prayer.
Sometimes the best way to help our adult children isn't to give them money or even advice; it's simply to pray.
Praying for a Job
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. -- Psalm 32:8
If we want to pray with faith, we must anchor our requests in God's promises.
We can make all the plans we want - and so can our kids - but God is the one who directs our path.
Trusting God with our children's future means being willing to trust his timing.
Praying When Your Children Have Children
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. -- Isaiah 44:3
Praying for your grandchildren strengthens your relationship with your children and their spouses.
Ask God to provide friends and mentors who will lovingly point your grandchildren toward Christ.
If you have concerns about your grandchildren or how they are being raised, take your worries to God and give his grace time to work.
Praying through a Health Crisis
This is what the LORD ... says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. -- 2 Kings 20:5
Trusting God when we don't know what the future holds opens the door to peace.
Sometimes the key to praying with perseverance is simply to stop looking at your problems and focus instead on who God is and what he has done.
Jesus offers this invitation: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." What a beautiful promise, particularly as we pray for our children's health and safety.
God doesn't just want to heal your child; he wants to take care of you too.
Praying for Mental and Emotional Health
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. -- Psalm 40:1-3
When you pray your child through a mental or emotional illness, don't let shame or fear keep you from enlisting trusted prayer partners to help you carry your burden.
God is in the business of transformation, and he has promised to renew - body, mind, and spirit - day by day.
An unforgiving spirit can hinder your prayers. Ask God to search your heart - and be ready to extend grace (even to yourself) and receive God's love.
Praying for Protection from Harm
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him. -- Psalm 34:7
If God calls your child to a place or a job that scares you, slip your hand into your heavenly Father's and pray, trusting him to guard what you give him.
Asking God to put his angels in charge of your child's safety encompasses more than just physical protection. We can trust him to stand guard over their hearts and minds too.
When you feel too frightened or overwhelmed to pray for your child's safety, remember that God's power is made perfect in your weakness.
Praying through a Job Loss or Financial Difficulty
When I said, "My foot is slipping," your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. -- Psalm 94:18-19
The Bible has a lot to say about money. Ask God to help your children to manage it wisely.
When we pray our kids through loss or rejection, it helps to remember that Jesus knows exactly how they feel.
God knows how our children are formed, and what they do with their lives matters to him.
Ecclesiastes 7:12 adds this: "Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it."
Praying through the Struggles of Infertility
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. -- Psalm 145:16
As you ask God to fulfill your children's deepest longings, pray that they will be satisfied with the gift of his presence.
When God gives your children a promise, come alongside them and believe it.
Praying for Strength to Resist a Party Culture
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. -- Matthew 5:6
Your adult children may be out of your reach, but they are never out of God's sight.
Today's party culture offers counterfeit joy. Pray that your kids will want the real thing.
We cannot glory - steal from God.
Praying for Protection from Sexual Sin
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. -- Romans 12:2
God loves us unconditionally. Ask him to help you show that same kind of love to your children, even if you don't like what they do.
God's kindness leads us to repentance. Ask God to surround your children with people who will lovingly point them toward him.
Light scatters darkness. Ask God to turn your children from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.
Praying for Recovery from an Addiction
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. -- Isaiah 61:1
Addiction is a formidable enemy, but the weapons we fight with - including prayer - have divine power to demolish strongholds.
God is always at work in our kids' lives, and he can use the worst things to bring about good.
We cannot control or cure our children's addictions, but we can hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, knowing that he who promised is faithful.
Praying for Your Prodigal
I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. -- Jeremiah 24:7
Ask God to work in your prodigal's mind and spirit, demolishing arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.
God knows what it's like to grieve over a prodigal child - and to rejoice over his return.
Our struggles are often God's entry points.
Is Jesus Enough?
God doesn't want us to trust in an outcome; he wants us to trust in him.
Whom have we in heaven but you? Work in us and in our children, so that nothing compares to the desire we have for you. Be the strength of our hearts and our portion forever. Amen. -- Psalm 73:25-26
Jodie Berndt is the author of several books, including The Undertaker Wife, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, and Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens. She and her husband, Robert, have four grown children and two son-in-laws. A Speaker and Bible Teacher, Jodie encourages readers to pursue joy, celebrate grace, and live on purpose.