We all want to pray for our children more. For me, the topic has come up repeatedly in discussions, blog posts, and other places recently. (Maybe God is trying to tell me something!) One of the most effective ways to pray is to quote Scripture back to God or use Scripture as the framework for our prayers. That principle stands when we pray for our children as well. So here, I offer you 4 areas in which you can pray Scripture for your children, all based on Luke 2:52.
We have so little documentation of Jesus’ childhood, and all we know of Mary’s prayers are that she spent time thinking about her memories (Luke 2:19, 51). I’m not even sure that’s a prayer. At any rate, it’s not much guidance for us in the 21st century. Ah, but there is something… Recently, someone drew my attention to Luke 2:52, noting that this verse covers every major aspect of Jesus’ life.
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Wisdom is intellectual: knowledge, understanding, and application of learning.
Stature is physical: height and strength.
Favor with God is spiritual.
Favor with man is social/emotional.
We can take these areas of growth and apply verses from other parts of the Bible as we pray for our own children under these same headings! I’ll just give you a couple of examples on each. I’m also including a suggested prayer with each verse. If you’re not accustomed to praying Scripture, let this be your introduction.
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom…then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5 (1-11 is better!)
Heavenly Father, please give my child a tender heart to receive correction and direction from me (and show me how to frame my words to be more effectively received). Show her heart what real wisdom looks like so she can recognize it…and the many counterfeits out there. Reveal yourself to her in both Your awesomeness and your gentleness.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
Lord, help my child retain what he learns about you: the facts of your time on earth, yes, but more importantly, help him understand your grace as we know it from the Bible and from experience. I pray that, as his knowledge increases in all areas, he will draw closer to you and celebrate you rather than rejecting you, as some do.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
O God, please show my child that her body is borrowed, that it belongs to you. Help her treat it like something precious and save it for Your glory: sexually, yes, but also regarding exercise, food, substances, sleep, behavior, and everything else.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… Isaiah 40:30-31
Father, please strengthen my child’s confidence in you. Don’t let him depend on his youth or his physical strength but rather let him place his hope in You because You alone can sustain him through the physical trials he will face.
Favor with God
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20
Heavenly Father, please help my child learn how to be obedient—not for my convenience but for Your glory. Let her experience Your pleasure as she obeys the many authority figures in her life.
Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8b-10
Lord, I pray that my child is always interested in pleasing You. I ask that he will live in Your light, loving everything good, righteous, and true.
Favor with people
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16
Father, I pray that my child always acts and reacts with gentleness and respect, especially when she’s sharing about Jesus. I pray that her words and behavior will be so excellent that her enemies cannot find anything to criticize.
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Lord Jesus, you know that I want a well-behaved child. We all do. I pray, however, that I will not expect or seek good behavior for my own glory. I pray that my child’s behavior reflects well on You. I further pray that he and I both learn to be quick to give You credit.
If the Lord leads you to a great verse in any of these four areas, please let everyone else know by leaving a comment! I’m going to keep an on-going list to use as a resource.