I’ve always been a restless person, constantly looking for the next project or season or semester or beach trip.
And so it was with
my prayer life . . . wanting so desperately to be one of those “prayer warriors” that I was always hearing about, but never able to focus in and really, specifically talk to my Heavenly Father . . . especially as I prayed for my children.
I wanted to pray for their safety, their hearts, their dreams, their future spouses . . . I just didn’t know how. Did I sit around and list out to God what I wanted for each of them? Should I just lift up a general prayer of “you know what they need?” Pick an item for
prayer and make some sort of chart with one for each day? Nothing seemed right. So, usually I ended up with “Dear Lord, please keep this one safe, and let that one go back to sleep!”While I’m sure God could use that, I wasn’t really giving him much to work with!
When Doc was about 4 months old, a sweet friend invited me to a young mom’s bible study. Little did I know what God had in store for me.
A revolution in my prayer life was about to begin.
My first small group leader was a fabulous mom of four girls who had been consistently praying scripture for her children for years. With her ideas and some wise counsel, I set about changing the way I lifted up my own children to the Lord and He set out changing my heart. Not only could I pray specifically for my own boys in a meaningful way, suddenly I understood how to use God’s words in other situations when my own just wouldn’t come . . . when our newborn nephew needed open-heart surgery, we prayed Psalm 91 for him; when a friend lost her infant son in a tragic accident, Psalm 28:8-9 made sense when nothing else did.
Here’s the nitty gritty:
I pick one verse for each of child and pray it for a year, ideally everyday. I choose the verse around the new year, trace their little hand and write the verse on it. I try to think about what the year ahead will be like for them, any big milestones or new challenges they might be facing. . . like starting preschool or making new friends. Sometimes it’s hard to know, especially when they are little, so sometimes it’s a verse about something I’m praying they learn about who God is. For example, last year Mac was a newborn so I prayed Psalm 4:6-8 for him. I figured that if he was a joyful baby and a good sleeper, we could deal with the rest!
This year I’m praying Eph 3:17-19 for him, that his identity will be rooted in Christ and he begins to understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. For Doc this year I’m praying Col 3:20-21 . . .that he will learn to obey us and that we will not do anything to embitter or discourage him . . . obviously he’s a two-year-old! We have been totally blessed to have healthy little dudes, but I have friends who have spent years (literally) praying only verses for their child’s health. God always seems to lead me to a verse that turns out to be just perfect.
I’ve been using Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt to help pick the verses.
It is a great jumping off point because she has excellent examples of putting the child’s name into the verse and it helped me figure out how to actually pray the verse instead of feeling like I am just reading it. It’s written like a reference book and has sections like “praying for your child’s safety” and “praying for your child’s spiritual growth” as well as “praying for your child’s relationships” etc. You can just copy her’s with your child’s name in them or once you get the hang of it you’ll start picking your own.
Since the ones I pick tend to be somewhat short, I usually have them memorized after a few weeks or a month and then I can pray the verse for them whenever the mood strikes.
One day it will be fun to give the verses to them. I think that down the road we might start to see a pattern of the verses God leads us to for each child. I hope they will be able to see how God has been writing His name on their hearts since before they were born and how their Heavenly Father’s words perfectly encapsulated their mother’s hopes and dreams for them.
Send me any stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How praying FOR or WITH your children has changed your life or theirs in a big way.
Original Idea found at Lil Light O Mine