A woman finds out she’s expecting her first child. She is overjoyed, and she thanks God for this precious gift. She begins to pray for her child, for their development in her womb, for good health when they’re born, and then for their life, that they will follow Jesus, maybe even change the world.
Then her child is born and begins to grow and change, and she quickly learns the battle for her child’s heart is so much bigger than she ever imagined. She shows them what it means to be thankful for everything, but instead they cry and want more when they get something special. She teaches the importance of being kind to others, then the school calls to say her child bullied someone. Some days she feels like she’s losing the battle.
So how do we win the battle? On our knees. James 5:16 says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Your prayers for your kids matter more than you know. Author EM Bounds wrote, “Much prayer, much power. Little prayer, little power. No prayer, no power.” I don’t know about you, but when it comes to training my kids to be followers of Christ who love God and love people, I choose much power.
Making Time to Pray
But I’m so busy! How can I make time for “much prayer?” You don’t have to be on your knees three hours a day to be an effective pray-er for your kids. I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” Praying in small moments throughout the day can be very meaningful. Most days, my prayers are a series of short prayers, even phrases here and there. Some days I am able to devote larger chunks of time to sit down and pray for each of my kids specifically.
Here are some ways you can pray throughout the day:
- Find scriptures you want to pray for your kids and put them on the wall. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know I’m a fan of putting scriptures on the wall!
- Pray while you’re snuggling your little one or feeding your baby.
- Pray while waiting to pick up kids from school, or waiting for a child to fall asleep. I have a little one who struggles to fall asleep at night unless I am in the room with her. That is the best time to sit and pray for my kids while unwinding from my day.
- Pray in the shower. For a lot of moms, their only alone time is in the shower! And for others, like me, they might technically be alone but there’s always someone pounding on the door… Either way, you can use some of that time to pray for your kids.
- Pray while driving. Be thankful if your kids are quiet in the car and you have time to think. It’s a great time to reflect and pray.
- Get together with other parents to pray for your kids.
I know a lot of those were no-brainers. So here’s a new idea for you: choose several small moments when you could pray throughout the day and assign each one a topic or a child if you have multiple children. For example, you will pray for child one while you’re feeding the baby and child two when you’re driving. It might be a good way to help you remember to pray throughout the day, and also a way to make sure you’re touching on specific topics you want to address.
When my boys were young, I wrote out a list of character traits I saw in them that I wanted God to change. Then, rather than simply asking God to fix them, I wrote out what specifically I wanted him to do in place of that thing. If one of my boys was showing a desire for something unhealthy or ungodly, I asked God to change that desire into another specific desire, such as reading God’s word or showing kindness to others. Over the next few years, I came back to that list and prayed over it periodically. Then, I began to see the change. God had answered some of those prayers exactly how I’d asked him to! Some of those character traits were completely gone, and in their place were specific traits I’d asked God for. It was amazing! Prayer works, my friends. The change doesn’t show up overnight, but it’s worth the time and effort, I promise you.
I recently found some of those lists, and it was interesting to compare them to where my boys are today. For my oldest son, I had written only one negative trait and asked God to turn it into a desire to serve Christ. He is a youth pastor today. Everything he does, even his job as produce guy at the grocery store, he is serving by showing people the love of Christ.
I’ll admit they aren’t all success stories…yet. One child in particular is still displaying ALL of the negative traits I’d written down over ten years ago. YIKES! It seems they flew under the radar for a while and have cropped up again recently. But I won’t give up. Seeing that list has inspired me to become like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-7. In this parable, Jesus shows us the importance of always praying without giving up. I’m going to dust off that old list and persist in prayer for my son. He is worth it!
With my girls, I am going a step further in praying for specific character traits. I’ve been making a list for each of them of character traits they need to develop, based on their specific needs and personality. For each trait, I will find a corresponding scripture verse and then make an 8×11 poster for their bedroom wall. We can pray over these traits together each night, and they will be reminders for the girls throughout the day as well. For example, “Thank you, God, that my daughter puts her trust in you when she is afraid” (Psalm 56:3). Or, “Thank you that she is learning to give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Books to Pray Scripture for your Kids
Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword…” There is power in speaking the word of God over our kids. Want to get started? I’ve compiled a list of books that all use scripture to help you pray for your children. Some are favorites of mine, others have been recommended by friends. Check them out! (affiliate links)
- While They Are Sleeping: 12 Character Traits to Pray for the Children You Love, by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell. For each of the 12 character traits, there are five days of scripture-based prayers to pray over your children. At the end of each section, there are suggested, simple activities to teach your children more about each trait.
- Prayers for Your Children: 90 Days of Heartfelt Prayers for Children of Any Age, by James Banks. Thirteen weeks of prayers with a new topic each week. Each day is filled with prayers based on scriptures for that week’s topic.
- Power of a Praying Parent,by Stormie Omartian. This book contains 31 topics to pray for your children, from attracting Godly friends and role models to enjoying freedom from fear, to finding the perfect mate. Each section starts with a brief teaching, then goes into a prayer on that topic, and ends with related scriptures.
- Everyday I Pray For My Teenager: When all you have left is prayer…A handbook of scriptural prayers for the mothers of teenagers, by Eastman Curtis. I haven’t read this one, but it looks very good and I plan to check it out soon!
- The One Year Praying through the Bible for Your Kids, by Nancy Guthrie. This is a combination of a read through the Bible in a year and praying for your kids.