The warm breeze at night is a welcome reprieve from the unrelenting heat from the day. The mosquito netting on the door rhythmically sways in tune with the soft creaking of the heavy, metal door. The cackles of the chickens and bleating of the goats from down below are just background noise, undertones to the symphony of the evening. The noise doesn’t phase the sleeping babe in the portable crib I’ve positioned near the doorway to capture the welcome cool of the night.
Just a few short moments before, I rocked him to sleep as the remnants of his nightly bottle spilled down his cheek. The frenzy of commotion from the day has passed. My active toddler who is nonstop motion is now stretched out calm – snoring lightly.
I stare at his precious face with lips pursed and eyes flitting as he hopefully dreams of the fun day we had. He startles a bit and I lay my hand on his chest and he grabs for my hand, his tiny fist grasped my index finger all while not even opening his eyes.
My precious boy. This is how we sleep. Holding hands.
Eventually, you will sleep without holding onto me, but you still need me close. I’m grateful for those moments simply because it kept me close to you, staring at your sleeping face; it prompted me to pray.
And I continue to pray — without ceasing.
What being a long distant parent taught me about prayer
That babe has grown into a young boy of 7 with big beautiful teeth coming in and lanky arms and legs. In those still quiet moments before bed, as I kneel down close to my boy, the look in his eyes makes me catch my breath. I’m leaning in to pray with him, over him, and for him. Most nights, he asks for prayers. He knows what I’m going to say. Each and every night, I pray the same things. Like I did for his siblings, I pray out loud over him as he drifts off to sleep.
The intense, short trips of visiting my son in Haiti before he came home, taught me how to pray for my children on a different level. I had always prayed for my children, but the distance between us in those years before he was home with us had me on my knees even more. There is something about not being present, not knowing what he’s doing day in and day out, what his needs are, what his fears are, what is shaping him, that made me more dependent on God taking care of him.
Three simple prayers to pray for your children:
1. Prayer for them to Follow God
I believe my primary role as a parent, is to raise my children to love the Lord. I pray they have a personal relationship with Jesus. We are commissioned to pour into our children the principles of the Bible. I pray they always have soft hearts that turn to God and turn away from idols. I pray for their character to be formed to love Him. I pray for discernment for them. The following verses have helped me as I pray for them.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:8-10 NIV)
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27 NIV)
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21 NIV)
I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. (Psalm 119:125 NIV)
2. Prayer for Protection
I pray for protection for their whole being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I pray for protection to save them from darkness and despair; for their minds and bodies to be whole and able to withstand attacks from the enemy. I often pray the armor of God over them. These are just a couple verses I often pray.
The Armor of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:10-17 NIV)
For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ( Eph. 3:14-19 NIV)
3. Prayer for their future
I pray for the choices they make. I pray God will make himself known to them and direct their paths. I pray they obey God and His will for them. I pray for their future spouses and for their friendships. I pray all they do will be done for the glory of God.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. (Eph 6:1-3 NIV)
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Prov 29:25 NIV)
To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22 NIV)
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. (Prov. 4:14 NIV)
Fear the Lord and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials,
for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring? (Prov. 24:24-25 NIV)
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers. (Psalm 1:1 NIV)
These prayers are out of obedience to the Lord as my role as a parent. I know I don’t have control over the choices my children make, but I can do my best to guide them and pray for them as they grow in the Lord. Prayers are powerful and matter. I choose to pray over my children and for my children, in order for them to help guide them in their own personal relationship with God. I hope this inspires you to do the same for your children.
- What My Toddlers Taught Me
- Motherhood: What I Know Now
- When Motherhood Shifts
- 3 Prayers for Your Children
This brief essay is a supplement to our Facebook video series in the Facebook group Being Brave dot Faith which discusses the same topics more in-depth. You can watch the videos by joining the group HERE.
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