Prayer Guide for Parents

Prayer Guide for Parents

Praying For Your Children by Dr Neil Anderson

The Apostle Paul concludes his teaching on the armour of God by saying, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18), which certainly includes our children. There are spiritual forces that we don’t see which is another reason we why we are totally dependent upon the Lord. The Apostle explains that we really don’t know how or what to pray for (Rom. 8: 26,27). That is why we must pray “in the Spirit,” because the prayer that God the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray is a prayer that God the Father will always answer. For more explanation see Praying By the Power of the Spirit (Harvest House Publishers, 2003).

Prayer is the most tangible demonstration of our dependence upon God. We have a tendency not to pray when we think we can do it all by ourselves. We become prayer warriors when we know that apart from Christ we can do nothing (this is all the time). We don’t need to wait for some unusual leading of the Holy Spirit in order to pray effectively, however. Because the Holy Spirit is the means by which the Word of God was given to us. We can then pray with confidence if our prayer of intercession and petition are consistent with Scripture. The following are scriptural prayers for your children.

Giving Your Child to God

Paul wrote, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (1Corinthians 4:1,2). A steward is a manager or superintendent of another’s household. As Christians, we own nothing in the kingdom of God. Everything we possess belongs to God; we are to be trustworthy stewards of what He has given to us.

Our children are the most valuable possession God has entrusted to our care. God allows us to enter into only one creative act, and that is procreation. We call them ours but, like everything else we possess, our children belong to God. He knew them from the foundations of the world. We are merely stewards of the precious human lives God has allowed us to bring into the world.

A Prayer For A Child’s Dedication

Baby dedication is a declaration of parental stewardship. In this declaration we are saying, “This child belongs to God. We dedicate our child to God and commit ourselves to be faithful stewards of that which He has entrusted to us.” The account of Hannah is often read in conjunction with baby dedication (1 Samuel 1:1-28). For some reason God had closed Hannah’s womb and she was childless. Greatly distressed, she prayed asking God to give her a son, vowing to give the boy to the Lord (verse 11). God answered Hannah’s prayer, and she fulfilled her vow. After Samuel was weaned Hannah presented him to the Lord: “So I have dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord” (verse 28).

Joseph and Mary also modeled the importance of giving our children to God. “When the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22). Like Joseph and Mary, we need to purify ourselves as trustworthy, obedient stewards and bring our children to the Lord.

Reformed churches and most liturgical churches combine the formal dedication of the child with infant baptism. Other churches that hold to believer’s baptism by immersion see baby dedication as a separate act. Either way, the parents’ act of presenting their children to God is based on a solid scriptural principle.

If you don’t make a verbal dedication of your child to the Lord as a good steward, Satan may attempt to claim ownership. Since he is the god of this world, anything that is left unprotected, unclaimed, or uncared for is fair game and potentially subject to him. Baby dedication/baptism is too often regarded as little more than an opportunity for the proud parents to show off their new child. We act as though nothing of spiritual significance is expected to happen. What takes place in the spiritual realm is the only thing significant that can happen. Satan has something spiritually significant in mind for your child, and it’s not what you would want. Presenting your child to God through making a verbal dedication is a primary way to protect him from Satan’s destructive plans.

The following is a suggested prayer which the parents can publicly pray as they dedicate their child to the Lord:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for loving me and giving me eternal life in Christ Jesus. I am Your child, purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life for me. I renounce any claim of personal ownership over anything I have, and I announce my responsibility to be a good steward of that which you have entrusted to me. I dedicate myself to You as a living sacrifice, and I commit myself to know You and do Your will. I commit myself to bring up Your child (name) in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. I know that this child belongs to you and is a gift from You, and I dedicate him/her to You for as long as he/she shall live. I reject any claim that Satan may have on him/her; he/she belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. I announce that Jesus paid the price for my child and that he/she belongs to Him. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. I do all this in the wonderful name of Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Prayer For A Child’s Salvation

In no way are we more dependent on God as parental stewards than for the salvation of our children. We cannot cause them to be born again. But we can and must do all within our power to lead them to Christ by being the witnesses God wants us to be. In addition, we must pray for their salvation. The apostle John wrote about the importance of prayer in bringing others to Christ:

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death (1John 5:14-16).

The context of these verses is the assurance of eternal life (verses 11-13) and assurance of answered prayer (5:14,15). The word “life” in this passage is clearly spiritual life. A “brother committing a sin not leading to death” refers to a non-Christian who has not totally rejected the conviction of the Holy Spirit, which is the sin of unbelief or the “unpardonable sin.” John is saying that God will give spiritual life to unbelievers in response to our prayers of faith.

This passage does not teach that we can choose the people we want to be saved, pray for them, and they will automatically be saved. But it does teach that prayer plays an integral part in the process of God bringing people to Himself. We know that the salvation of unbelievers is God’s desire because He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2:4). God promises to respond to our prayers for unbelievers in some fashion if they have not hardened their hearts.

Your children should be at the top of your prayer list. One of your primary roles as God’s steward is to intercede for their salvation. The following is a suggested prayer for the salvation of your children:

Dear Heavenly Father, I bring your child (name) before You. I stand against the blinding of Satan that would keep him/her from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ and from believing the truth that leads to salvation (2Corinthians 4:4). I take my position in Christ, and I exercise His authority over Satan in regard to (name) whom You have entrusted to me. In the name of Jesus, I take authority over speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God in the mind of my child (2Corinthians 10:5). I stand against the strongholds in his/her mind that keeps him/her from obeying Christ. By the authority that I have in Christ and in obedience to the Great Commission to make disciples, I ask You to free the mind of (name) so that he/she may obey God. I declare myself and all that You have entrusted to me to be eternally signed over to the Lord Jesus Christ. Based on Your Word in 1John 5:16, I ask You to give spiritual life to (name). I pray that You will enable me to be the parent You want me to be. May I never be a stumbling block to this child You have entrusted to me. Enable me to be a positive witness and a living epistle to him/her. I ask this in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Committing Your Children To God Daily

Even as a faithful steward over your children you don’t always know what they are thinking and you can’t be with them everywhere they go. You must depend on the Lord for their daily protection, direction, and growth. You may have dedicated them to the Lord and prayed with them to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. But your ministry of prayer for them doesn’t stop there. You are responsible to lift them up to the Lord in prayer every day. Job apparently understood the importance of daily prayer for his children, because he would “consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all” (Job 1:5). When God pointed out Job’s righteousness to Satan, Satan pointed to the hedge God had placed around Job, his family, and his possessions (verses 8-10), inferring that Job wouldn’t be so righteous if God didn’t protect him so well. The hedge of protection was the result of Job’s godly life and his willingness to pray daily for his family. In this unique case and time of testing of job’s faith, God removed the protection and allowed Satan to attack Job and his family. Even without the hedge of protection, “Job did not sin or blame God” (verse 22).

The story of Job gives us several important principles about parenting and prayer. Satan is actively looking for ways to destroy you and your family. And the more righteous you are, the more interested he is in attacking you. You and your children are dependent on God for spiritual protection.

God will put a hedge of protection around your family in response to your godly living and dependent prayer. But God may also remove the spiritual protection if it will serve a greater purpose, such as a time of testing or for our sanctification. People will suffer as the consequence of their own sinful choices. However, the righteous may also suffer for doing what is right, but never without a purpose (2Timothy 3:12). Should suffering come to your family, you must continue to trust the Lord, pray, and not try to justify yourself. God will make everything right in the end for parents who trust and love Him as He did Job.

Prayer For Protection

How did you feel when your first child walked out of the house for his first day at school? If your children are still at home, how do you think you’ll feel on that special day? You may lament, “There he or she goes, off to the hostile world without me!” You’re excited about his or her potential, but fearful about the sinful influences of this fallen world. You know you can’t keep them home forever, and yet you wish you could for their protection.

Your children don’t go anywhere alone. The God to whom you have presented them is omnipresent. He will never leave nor forsake your children. You can call on Him daily for your children’s protection. The following is a suggested prayer asking God to put a hedge of protection around your children:

Dear Heavenly Father, I ask for Your divine protection for (name) as he/she is absent from me. I pray that You will put a hedge of protection around him/her so that all harmful influences cannot affect him/her. I commit him/her to You for Your care, and I assume all my responsibilities for bringing them up in the Lord. I also assume the responsibility for the attitudes and actions in him/her that are the result of my training. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to guard his/her heart and bring to his/her mind all that he/her has learned from your Word. I thank You that, when he/she is tempted, You will provide him/her with a way of escape, and he/she will not be tempted beyond his/her ability in You to endure (1Corinthians 10:13). I ask that the way he/she lives may be a witness to Your presence in his/her life. May whatever he/she does be done to the glory of God. I ask this in the precious name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer For A Rebellious Child

Have you ever tried to reason with a rebellious child? You probably weren’t successful and for a good reason: “He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you” (Proverbs 9:7-8). However, there are things you can do to reach a rebellious child. Firstly, you must maintain a standard of personal godliness in your home. You can’t compromise your convictions and expect God to bless your efforts. Being out of the will of God yourself and expecting your child to get into the will of God won’t work!

Secondly, rebellion is a spiritual problem that requires a spiritual solution (1 Samuel 15:23). Allowing a child who is out of fellowship with God to control your home is allowing someone other than the Spirit of God to control your home, and that’s wrong. Spiritual problems like rebellion can only be resolved by exercising the fruit of the Spirit and by depending upon the Lord in prayer. The following is a suggested prayer for a rebellious child:

Dear Heavenly Father, I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through His shed blood that You will rebuke Satan and prohibit him from having any harmful influence on (name). Forgive me for any negative influence I may have had on him/her that prompted him/her to choose to rebel against You. I pray that You will give me grace to ask his/her forgiveness for my negative influence. I ask for the wisdom and grace to be the kind of parent that You created me to be. I confess the sins of (name, and then list all known sins) and I assume my responsibility for the part I played in his/her actions. I pray that You will build a hedge of thorns around him/her so that all harmful influences will lose interest. I pray that he/she will come to his/her senses and return to righteous living and loving relationships. I pray for grace to welcome him/her home or guidance to find a place of refuge for his/her good. Teach me to love my child but hate his/her sin. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Prayer For Your Child’s Future

You cannot determine your child’s future; only God is the author and finisher of life and faith. James wrote: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).

This is not license to be irresponsible about your children’s future or your own. But you don’t know what God has in store for them or yourself. You can’t mold your children into what you want them to be; you can only help them become what God wants them to be. The following prayer is a suggested prayer for your children’s future:

Dear Heavenly Father, I ask for divine guidance for (name). I trust that You have already gone before him/her and prepared a place for him/her. You have known (name) from the foundation of the world. I commit him/her into Your hands and pray for wisdom as to how I should relate to him/her in the future. I release him/her from all my expectations and entrust him/her to be what You want him/her to be. I pray that You will give him/her wisdom in choosing a life partner, and I pray for his/her future spouse. Should You bless them with children, I pray that they will train their children according to your word and teach them how to trust in Jesus as their savior. May I be the grandparent You want me to be. I pray as Jesus prayed that You keep (name) from the evil one and sanctify him/her in Your Word, for Your Word is truth. I ask this in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer For An Adopted Child

Adopted children are vulnerable to demonic influence. Most of them are up for adoption because their single mothers or fathers are unable to raise them or because their natural parents did not want them. Some children are put up for adoption because their parents abused them or because they were poor stewards for the time the children were under their care.

Satan attempts to claim ownership of anyone not committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and under His authority. Since these children have not been under the spiritually protective care of Godly parents, they come to their new adopted parents with spiritual problems.

I have counseled many godly couples who have adopted children only to see them all but destroy their home. If you are thinking of adopting a child, we recommend that you work with an agency that locates adoptive parents before the child is born. If at all possible you should be present at the time of birth and bring the child home from the hospital. However, we understand that in many cases this may not be possible. Either way you should dedicate your adopted child to the Lord immediately to assume stewardship and negate any demonic influence or claim of ownership.

If you already have an adopted child, lead him through the steps to freedom appropriate for their age. Then pray as follows:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for entrusting (name) into my care. I declare (name) to be under Your authority. I dedicate this child to You and ask for Your protection and guidance as I commit myself to do all I can to lead him/her to an understanding of Your saving grace. I stand against all the devices of Satan that would keep (name) in bondage. I renounce the sins of this child’s ancestors and all curses that have been passed on from generation to generation. I announce that Christ became a curse for (name) when He was crucified on the cross. I renounce all satanic sacrifices that have been made on behalf of (name) and any claim of ownership that Satan may have. I announce that only the Lord Jesus Christ has any claim of ownership on him/her. I pray for a hedge of protection around (name) all the days of his/her life. I ask this in the strong name of Jesus, who reigns supreme as the sovereign Lord of the universe. Amen.

Prayer For Bedtime

The following is an example of a prayer you can teach your children to pray at bedtime. You may lead them in saying the prayer line by line until they can say it on their own. This prayer is based on Psalm 91:

Dear God, I thank You that You are my Heavenly Father. I thank You for being in my life, in my room, and everywhere I go. I know that You are always with me and will never leave me. I commit myself to You and ask for Your protection. I choose to trust You. I know that if I’m ever afraid I can always call on You to rescue me. I ask You to protect my mind tonight as I am sleeping. Please bless and protect my home and parents. I love You. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Teaching Your Child To Pray Against A Spiritual Attack

Children need to know how to stand when they sense a presence in their rooms or have some direct confrontation with evil. Satan is under no obligation to obey your children’s thoughts since he doesn’t have perfect knowledge of their minds. Your children must take a stand verbally or express their faith in a positive way.

For small children, communicate something like this: “Darling, Jesus is in your life and He is bigger than they are, so you can tell them to leave in Jesus’ name.” If your children can’t say anything because of fear, let them know that they can always talk to God in their minds, and God will help them say what they need to say. Encourage them to memorize this paraphrase of 1John 5:18: “I am a child of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.” In most cases all they really need to say when they come under attack is, “Jesus.”

A Prayer For Daily Life

As you prepare to send your child out into the world each day, consider using a prayer similar to the following. The goal is to teach your children the basic concepts of the prayer so they learn to pray themselves:

Dear Heavenly Father, You are my Lord. I know that You love me and will never leave me nor forsake me. You are the only true and living God. You are worthy of worship. You are kind and loving in all Your ways. I love You and I thank You that I am alive in Christ. I submit myself to You and ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit so I can live my life free from sin. I choose to believe the truth which You have given in the Bible, and I reject all the lies of Satan. I refuse to be discouraged because You are a God of all hope. I believe that You will meet my needs as I seek to trust and obey You. I know I can do everything You want me to do, because Jesus is my strength. I submit to God and resist the devil. I stand against Satan and all his lies, and in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ I command him and all his demons to leave me. I put on the armor of God and commit myself to believe and speak the truth in love. I believe that Jesus is my protection. He never sinned, and He took my sin on Himself. I commit myself to be a peacemaker and to take the truth of the Bible and use it against all of Satan’s tricks. I submit my body as a living sacrifice to God. I will keep studying the Word of God so I can prove that God’s will is good and perfect for me. I do all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

As you pray for your children daily and through the problems and crises of their lives, you may feel at times like you are standing alone against the world, the flesh, and the devil. But you’re really not. When you pray for your children you are in good company. God’s Word tells us that the Lord Jesus Himself and His Holy Spirit are committed to intercede for your children and for you (Romans 8:27; Hebrews 7:25). You never pray alone.

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