We live in perilous times. After school today, I thanked God that Cheyenne and Elijah both came home. Sadly, many parents lose their children in tragic ways, like cancer, a car accident, or events like the Sandy Hook school shooting. They will be forever waiting for their children to walk through their front doors.
As you and I watch the news, we weep, we cry out in anger, and then we wonder, "How can we protect our kids from something like this?" We wonder if it's safe to send our children out the front door. We question whether the world is falling apart. And nothing is more terrifying than the realization that we cannot protect them from life.
While we cannot hide our children away from the world, we can be proactive in guarding them. We can shield them in far greater ways than wrapping them in a plastic bubble or locking them in their rooms for the rest of their lives. You and I can pray. We can intercede for our children, praying for wisdom, protection, peace, and strength. Author Mark Batterson wrote, "If you determine to circle your children in prayer, you will shape their destinies … your prayers will live on in their lives long after you die." In fact, this is what Jesus called us to do because he hears our prayers and intercedes on our behalf before God.
It's comforting to know that wherever we are gathered and praying, Jesus is in our midst: "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:19-20).
With this in mind, remember we aren't fighting against flesh and blood, as Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us:
"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
"Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
"Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."
A Role Model
Believe it or not, the book of Daniel parallels our modern society. Captured and taken as a slave, Daniel was roughly between the ages of 13 and 17. In one day, he lost his country, his freedom, and his family and was surrounded by a dangerous, enticing world. Though the city walls of Babylon have fallen, its way of life hasn't. For those of us wondering how to raise godly kids while still protecting their innocence, Daniel is a good model. We can compare, because his parents instilled values of God into the character of their son before he was taken into slavery.
When Daniel was surrounded by a depraved culture imploding on itself, he didn't fall prey to the seduction, because he already had a strong relationship with God and knew his life was in God's hands. Daniel prayed for protection, wisdom, direction while seeking God's will. He knew there was power in his prayers. We too can find power in prayer for our children.
How to Pray for Your Child
Your prayers are the biggest weapon you have to protect and raise up a godly child. For years I've used Scripture and prayed for my children in all circumstances. I've prayed for strength, compassion, kindness, wisdom, and protection. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." This means God's Word lives and breathes.
The prayers that follow are taken from Scriptures which struck a chord with my mothering heart. I simply insert the names of my children in them as I pray. I pray often, whenever my children come to mind. I pray for them as I fold socks, when I send them off to school, and sometimes late at night. I go into their rooms and pray over them while they slumber. Even when I spend time in God's Word, if a Scripture jumps off the page, I use it to pray over my kids.
Based on Ephesians 6:10-18
Father God, I invite you into my home and ask for your anointing Spirit to rest on my children. As I send them out into the world today, I pray they are equipped with ready feet for peace, the belt of truth, firmly worn, with the breastplate of righteousness to help them do the right thing in your eyes. Father, I ask for my children to be firmly protected in their armor with the shield of faith, helping my children ward off the enemy's flaming arrows, and that they may have faith in the unseen, which is you. Lord, I pray for a hedge of protection around my children as they engage in the world today. Let your presence guide them, and your warrior angels fight for them. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Based on Ephesians 6:18-19
I pray in your name that when my children open their mouths they will boldly and fearlessly proclaim the mystery of the gospel and they will be protected by your armor as they witness for you in this time.
Based on Isaiah 44:3
Lord, your Word says you pour water out to quench my thirst, and to water dry fields; and that you would pour out your Spirit on my offspring, and your blessing on my children. I ask that you would pour out your Spirit on this school and the students. Quench their thirst for you and give them the desire to quench their thirsty continually in you. Protect them with your hand today.
Based on Psalm 140:1-5
Protect us, Father God. Preserve my children from violent men, who plan evil things in their hearts and stir up wars continually. They make their tongues sting like a snake, and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Give us discernment over these men who don't know you. Father God, we ask you to guard us from the hands of the wicked and from those who plan to ensnare my children in their nets. I pray for your hedge of protection over my children. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Based upon Psalm 91:9-16
Father God, we have made you our dwelling place, the Most High, who is our refuge. I trust that because of this, no evil shall be allowed to befall me and my children, no plague can come near my home. For you will command his angels concerning us to guard my family. On their hands they will bear me up lest I strike my foot against a stone. I will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent we will trample underfoot. As a mother of your children, I rest upon your promise: "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation." Amen.
Praying over your child's room or belongings
Sometimes my kids have nightmares or tension seems to be running thick in my home; this is the prayer I use to "clean house."
"Lord, I dedicate this room to you. Let Elijah's room be a place where your presence dwells. I pray that as he slumbers in his bed, you will be watching over him, protecting his mind as he dreams. I pray and dedicate his toys to you, Lord God. Let his toys be a reminder of how you provide and teach him not to be selfish. I pray over his closet, Lord. Thank you for his clothes. As he dresses daily, turn his thoughts toward how he glorifies you in all that he does—including how he dresses. I invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in this room. I cast out in the name of Jesus any darkness trying to dwell here; I cast out depression, anxiety, doubt, anger, rebelliousness and ask that your light dwells here. I ask in the name of Jesus that nothing comes into Elijah's room without your permission! Lord, you are the ruler over heaven and earth, and I proclaim that you are the ruler over this room as well. In your name I pray, Amen."
In the face of seemingly troubled times, we can be confident in our heartfelt prayers. We can pray over our children for their futures, not just their protection. We can pray circles around our children to grow them up in God's hand.
Heather is a wife and mother to three, one with special needs. She has written for various sites and magazines, including Proverbs 31 and The Better Mom. You can find her chugging coffee and sharing her latest in-the-trenches of motherhood at her site, HeatherRiggleman.com. She has more to share in her book, Mama Needs a Time-Out.