What We Can Do
Almost every night since they were babies, I have prayed the same prayer for my children: “Father, may they know you, love you, serve you, seek you, honor you, and delight in you all the days of their life.” It is a simple prayer for faith and a life of faithfulness. Every Christian parent knows this longing for their children. Most would even confess that our children coming to saving faith is, in fact, the greatest desire we have for our children. Yet, we cannot force this faith. We labor for it, we teach to it, we encourage it, and above all, we can pray for it.
Pray for Ears to Hear
Our children need to hear the truth of the Scriptures. In a world filled with the unending drone of voices, we desire them to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd above all the rest (John 10:2–6). As Christian parents, let’s pray for the Lord to give them a spirit of humility, able and willing to receive the word as it is read, preached, and taught. It is good to pray, “Father, they have ears, let them hear.”
Pray for Eyes to See
Our children not only need to hear, they need to see. As parents, we pray that they would possess vision beyond what lies before their eyes. We plead with God for their sight to be lifted higher above carnal appetites and instant gratification. We desire that they see a world not only before them, but a world to come. By grace, we know there is clarity in such seeing. They were created to live for eternal things and thus will find their greatest satisfaction in things eternal. So, we pray, “Father, grant them eyes that see.”
Pray for the Mind to Understand
Our children need to not only hear and see, but to understand. Pray for their minds to be inquisitive about spiritual things. We want them to be lively and active in wrestling with spiritual truths. The Lord stirring their minds will lead to questions like Moses envisions from children, “What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you” (Deut. 6:20)? And as they wrestle with the word of God, the life you live before them, and the church life they participate in, may the Lord seal eternal deep truths in their vigorous minds. Let’s pray, “Father sow your truths deeply and eternally in them.”
Pray for the Heart to Receive
Our children need the Lord to open their hearts to receive this truth. It is the Lord alone who takes “the heart of stone” and gives “a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). We can labor as Christian parents upon the hard ground of their heart, but it will remain stony until his grace makes it fertile. Pray that the Lord would prepare that ground for the sowing of the seed of the gospel (Matt. 13), and that when the seed of his word encroaches upon their hearts, they have hearts that embrace it. We can pray, “Father, make their hearts soft to the penetrating truth of your word.”
Pray for Affections to Soar
Our children need the Lord to grip their affections. When they glimpse the beauty of the glory of God, they cannot help but fall in love with him. There is nothing more excellent, nothing more beautiful, nothing more lovely. Every Christian knows this truth. We find that when God first gave us a glimpse of himself in Christ, we experienced the great longing of our hearts. It was unknown longing at the time, but it became quite apparent when we saw his beauty.
Pray that the Lord would do this for your children. Paul prays for the Ephesian church, “that according to the riches of his glory,” God might “grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16–19).
Praying for our child provides comfort for our anxious souls by reminding us that our Father is also the God of all salvation.
Here is a love so grand, it knows no bounds. It can’t be measured, it can’t be quantified, it can’t even be fully known. Yet, when that love descends upon a child of God, it marks that life forever. And the only proper response to this love is reciprocated love. Pray, “Father, may my child know this incomprehensible love and be moved with love for you.”
Pray for a Life Lived
Our children need grace for a life lived. We want them not only to know Christ but to live lives of fruitfulness for Christ. “Whether they eat or drink or whatever they do,” may they “do to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Therefore, we pray for not only faith, but faithfulness. As Christians ourselves, we know that faithfulness is a daily pursuit. God’s grace is needed every moment of every day. What a gift that his “steadfast love never ceases” and that his “mercies are new every morning” (Lam. 3:22-23). So, let us pray in faith, “Father, be steadfast in love towards my child and grant them your mercies anew every morning.”
Comfort and Hope for the Parent
As Christian parents, we are provided great comfort and hope. Though we cannot guarantee our child’s salvation, God gifts us the blessing of praying for them. Praying for our child provides comfort for our anxious souls by reminding us that our Father is also the God of all salvation. We can trust our children to him. In a world filled with temptations, rampant sin, a fierce adversary, and a crowd to divert, we pray to a sovereign God who holds all this world in his hands. Our child is not absent from his mind, nor hidden from his sight. And as we pray, our child is not absent from his ears. Our God is the God of salvation. Let’s keep praying for our child, because our Father listens to his children.