But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15, NIV)
Belly full, clean body, clean teeth, tangles combed, one last drink of water, bedtime stories read; your little one is finally in bed! Yes! Amen! Now, go to bed! But before you turn off the light and slip out, your little one reminds you, “Mommy, Daddy, you forgot to say prayers!” Yes, prayers. But, what to pray?
A lot of times my boys say “thank you Lord” prayers. “Thank you for mommy; thank you for daddy; thank you for all that food we ate; and thank you for the new puppy I’m going to get that’s going to be super duper fast.” (Wait, what?!) While it is good to give thanks to the Lord (Psalms 107), I want my own prayers over my children to be more than a list of thank yous.
What gave you the idea to start praying scripture with your children?
For us every night during our bedtime routine we found we had a good time to pray with and for our children. But quickly these prayers began to feel repetitive or unproductive, like we were praying for things that were not so significant just because we didn’t know what else to pray about. After a while, asking God to bless our sleep or bless our day, etc., can get old fast. This prayer time became something we stopped looking forward to. During this time, I (Amy) had received some books on praying for our children and began to read and re-think the prayer time we had. Using scripture in our prayers was a way to revive this time. First, it got rid of the monotony. Second, I felt like I had a better handle on what to pray for and how to pray things of significance and how to pray according to God’s will. And finally by praying these prayers out loud it was also helping our children to meditate on God’s word and help them “hide” the word in their hearts.
What are some of your favorite verses to pray over your children? Do your children have any favorites?
“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)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
These are some of my favorite verses I seem to come back to time and again to emphasize specific ideas. For example, I pray the Luke 10:27 verse in hope that my children will one day come to salvation. I pray the Psalm 119:105 verse in hopes that my children will learn true wisdom comes from the Bible and that they will treasure God’s word.
Have you noticed your children praying differently since you start praying scripture with them?
Our youngest child is still a bit young to really “get” the prayer time. But our oldest daughter, now 5, has really grown from this. I can’t say I have seen her prayers change because she is not comfortable praying completely on her own yet. But I have noticed her begin to ask for specific things for me to pray and am always surprised by the depth of understanding and compassion she has for others in these requests. And, more importantly, since we have begun these prayers, it is as though the “soil” of her soul, in reference to the parable of the sower, is very fertile and willing for seeds to be planted and take root. And she has astounded me with how much truth she already knows and expresses to me regularly in conversation.
What is your advice for parents that want to start praying scripture over their children?
Don’t be intimidated! If you are unsure of how to get started you can begin with a simple prayer to ask God to guide you. It may sound trivial, but there is wisdom in praying about what you should pray about. And then let God speak to you through the scriptures. Maybe ask questions like, “What does my child need or where are they struggling?” or “What are some spiritual goals I have for them?” And then search out the scripture related to those topics. And the beauty of praying the scripture is that you don’t have to have the complete verse memorized down to the reference chapter and verse. You just have to know the gist of the truth in the verse to be able to turn it into a prayer.
Here are a few excellent resources that can help:
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson
The Power of Persistent Prayer: Praying with Great Purpose and Passion by Cindy Jacobs
Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian
Also, David and Amy have provided some Scriptures by Topic so you can start tonight!
Thank you for our Children. They are gifts from You. We know that you love them beyond measure. Help us as parents to create fertile soil in our children’s hearts by praying Your Truth over them. Your Word is powerful, alive and active. By Your Spirit, help guide us to the verses we should pray over our children.