Over the years I’ve had multiple parents who’ve sat across from me in my office and expressed dire concern for a child who is on a foolish path. And their question is always the same: “What do we need to do?” While sometimes there are practical steps that can be taken, at other times there is little that can be done as a ‘quick fix’ to make up for years of neglect in parenting and prayer. And yet, prayer is still the best option.
Have you ever found yourself praying hot and heavy for your kids in the heat of the moment because of some trouble they were in, or some major decision they had to make? We’ve probably all been there, especially the older our children become.
While no child comes with any guarantees, here are five things to pray regularly for your children no matter their age (but especially while they are young)—things we easily forget to pray fervently about until the time comes that we need to.
Pray in advance about:
1. Their Soul
In the end, nothing else matters in our prayers for our kids if we don’t pray first and foremost for their salvation. God has called us as parents to be the #1 factor in their lives that lead them to Him and ultimately to Heaven. That is a definitely a task that requires the ongoing power of prayer.
2. Their Heart
Apart from their soul, nothing else is as valuable, or as vulnerable, as their heart. Put a high price on protecting their heart, for out of it are the issues of life (Prov. 4:23). One of the best ways to protect your child’s heart is by protecting what influences their mind. (What they watch and read, the amount of time they spend online, who their friends are, etc.) We need to pray that God would not only help their hearts to be good, but that He would protect their hearts from evil. Pray that God would give them a humble heart, a servant’s heart and a heart that pursues God, and is passionate about the things that are closest to the heart of God Himself. Because a pure heart is their greatest asset to making wise choices for the rest of their life.
3. Their Life’s Mate
Second only to salvation, who your child chooses to marry is the most important decision they will ever make in their life. God has called you, as their parent, to be a big part of that decision. All throughout Scripture, we see examples of parents involvement both practically and through prayer, for God’s will to be performed in the person their child marries. This involves praying for their purity as well. The time to pray and prepare your child for a lifetime of purity and a life’s mate is now.
4. Their God-Given Purpose
Your child is unique. So unique, in fact, that God has a specific purpose for their life that no one else can fill exactly like they can. Each of your children are wired differently than the others. They have strengths, gifts and abilities that are uniquely theirs and that align with their God-given calling in life. Your job as a parent is to help nurture those passions and cultivate a desire in their hearts to use them in the greatest way possible for the cause of Christ. This cannot happen easily apart from the power of prayer.
5. Their Children
As you pray for your kids, pray in advance for their future kids, your grandchildren, because they will be raised by the kids you are raising right now. How well they do as parents in the future will greatly reflect how well you’ve done now. So parent now and pray now as if your grandchildren’s lives depended on it, because well…they do. Remembering that we are raising the future generation of parents ought to inspire us.
Sadly, many parents only begin to pray for some of these things once their children start to go astray, or start a relationship that they don’t approve of, or make life-changing decisions that scare them, and all of a sudden, they’re driven to their knees in prayer.
Here’s a better idea… Don’t wait. Pray now. Before you need to. And then enjoy watching your children reap a lifetime of the benefits.
“If every parent would pray for their child as fervently over the course of 18 years as they do in the heat of the moment, it could literally change their child’s life.”
Make it a priority today to take the time you need to pray for your kids individually and specifically, by name. Pray these five things over their lives, and watch God unfold the details.
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6
This article originally appeared here.