Wash laundry. Cook meals. Celebrate birthdays. Attend parent-teacher conferences. Chauffeur, chauffeur, chauffeur. Countless tasks fall on a parent's shoulders, but one responsibility rises above the restprayer. And that's powerful stuff!
Yet many of us find ourselves unsure of how to tap into that power. In a recent Focus on the Family article, author Bob Hostetler wrote, "For years I prayed daily for my two children. I prayed for God's blessing and protection throughout their days. I prayed for them to be happy. I asked God to help them through difficult times and to help them make wise choices. My prayers were regular, heartfelt and, for the most part, pedestrian and repetitive."
I can relate. My conversations with God often sounded like a parrot with limited vocabulary: "Dear God, bless my children. Keep them safe. Amen." In my heart I wanted to pray more deeply, but I didn't know how to change. Then the answer came.
After we moved to a new community, a mom introduced herself at the school bus stop. "Would you like to join our Moms in Touch prayer group?" she asked. She explained that several mothers met weekly, praying the words of the Bible for their children and their children's schools.
Praying from the Bible? That's a novel idea, I thought as I accepted her invitation. Little did I know that the experience of praying Scripture would change my life, transforming prayer into an essential part of my faith journey.
In all honesty, the first meeting intimidated me. These women pray so eloquently, I worried. What if I say something wrong? Eager to "do it right," I listened intently and realized that biblical prayer was simpler than I'd thought.
At my second meeting, the leader suggested using Proverbs 2 to pray for our children's growth in wisdom. We opened our Bibles and each used a verse to structure our prayer. I swallowed my self-conscious fears and started us off, saying, "Heavenly Father, make our children's ears attentive to wisdom, incline their hearts to understanding." Another voice interjected, "Please teach them to cry for discernment and lift their voices for understanding. Teach them to seek wisdom as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures."
A third mom added, "God, you've promised that if they do these things, they will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God. Please fulfill your promise in our children's lives."
Wow! For the first time, I felt as though my prayers echoed the longings of my heart. The concept hooked me.
Obviously, the Bible is packed with wonderful verses to pray for our childrenmore than we could ever find on our own. So it helps to have a specific approach to finding passages to pray, such as praying around the idea of decision-making or friendships.
Praying Head to Toe
One of my favorite ways to use scriptural prayer is to pray for my children from head to toe using the Bible to ask God's blessing on various aspects of their lives. This method works for all children, no matter how old they are or what they're going through. Pray each prayer for a week straight, writing the verse on several index cards and posting them around the house and in the car. Pray the verse whenever you think of your children and in a matter of days, you'll have learned the verse by heart. Just fill in the blanks with your child's name and you're off and praying!
Mind:Proverbs 9:9-10 "Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Prayer:Father, please make ________ wise. Make his heart open to instruction that he might gain more wisdom. Teach him what it means to fear the Lord, for that is the beginning of wisdom. Grant him knowledge of the Holy One.
Eyes:Proverbs 3:7 "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil."
Prayer:God, please guard ________ from being wise in her own eyes. May she fear you and find wisdom, strength, and understanding in you alone, not in her own capabilities. May she understand your holiness and resist evil.
Ears:Proverbs 2:2 " turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding."
Prayer:Father, please make ________'s ears attentive to wisdom. Deafen her ears to the call of sin; teach her to recognize your still, small voice. Incline her heart to understanding.
Mouth:Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Prayer:I pray that __________ would speak only wholesome words beneficial to others. May his speech be appropriate and respectful. May it encourage those who are disheartened and bring faith to those who have none.
Tongue:Proverbs 10:19-20 "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value."
Prayer:I ask that ___________ will learn wisdom and as a result, be able to hold her tongue. Keep her from wicked words. Make her tongue like choice silver.
Neck:Proverbs 3:3-4 "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."
Prayer:I pray that love and faithfulness will not leave _______. May she bind them around her neck and write them on the tablet of her heart. Open her eyes to others' needs, making her quick to extend kindness. Bless her with favor and a good reputation in the sight of God and man.
Heart:Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Prayer:I pray that _____ will watch over his heart with all diligence. Keep his heart pure. Keep him from being embittered by trials. May his heart be steadfastly set on loving you more than anything or anyone else.
Hands:Psalm 24:3-5 "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior."
Prayer:I pray that ________ would have clean hands and a pure heart. May she love you with all her heart, turning away from all that is false. Keep her speech and motives pure. Thank you for promising a blessing and being faithful to fulfill it.
Knees:Psalm 95:6 "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."
Prayer:I pray that ______ will worship and bow down before you. May he love and fear you, honoring you as the King of his life. May he acknowledge you as his Maker and recognize that your love will never fail.
Feet:Psalm 119:35 "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight."
Prayer:Father, please help ________ walk in your path. Cause him to delight in your commandments and follow you all his days.
Grace Fox and her family live and work at a year-round camp for children and families on the west coast of Canada.
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