By Julie Sanders, Crosswalk.com
Zebedee’s wife wasted her big chance. Kneeling before the Son of God, the mother of James and John had a favor to ask. “What is it you want?” Jesus asked her (Matthew 20:20-21).
In response, she asked Jesus to give her boys the best seats in his heavenly house. But there are more important things for a parent to ask for when it comes to the faith of our children.
God invites all moms and dads to kneel before Him with our hopes for our sons and daughters. These are 6 powerful prayers for our children’s faith.
1. The Thinker’s Prayer – A Prayer for Their Mind
Life and peace begin in the minds of our children. “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace,” (Romans 8:6).
When the Spirit of God lives in us, He governs our thinking. Imaginations, opinions, and logic please God when the thinker sets their mind on what the Spirit desires, instead of yielding to the arguments of the flesh.
All other passions, actions, contributions, attitudes, and commitments grow from a child’s thoughts. Powerful prayers begin with prayer for the mind, The Thinker’s Prayer.
Dear Father, make my child a Thinker in the direction of Your ways. Help them set their mind on Your things. Teach me to be skilled at filling our home with Your thoughts and truths. I ask You to govern my child’s mind and lead them to life and peace.
2. The Lover’s Prayer – A Prayer for Their Heart
Parent’s long to pass on our passions, but with each passing birthday, children become more and more the captains of their own hearts.
Rather than a short-sighted prayer to attach earthly affections to family favorites like a team or an alma mater, a prayer for a child’s faith leans toward loving what God loves.
God shows us what is good and we teach this to our learners. Out of our learning we consider, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” (Micah 6:8b).
Mothers and fathers never receive the rights to a child’s heart, but we can petition God to endear them to those things He holds dear.
Oh Lord, I ask You to captivate my child’s heart. I long for them to love what You love. Give them a love for mercy and justice, for truth and grace. Tutor me in how to show my child what it looks like to be a Lover of You and to develop a heart like Yours.
3. The Sojourner’s Prayer – A Prayer for Their Walk
When prayers for the minds and hearts of our children come together, they naturally lead to prayers for their walk.
As we sojourn on this earth and lead our children alongside us, God lets us know what it looks like to “walk humbly” with Him.
Like us, our children face fleshly desires of their own, threatening to derail their faith. To walk with the Spirit is to walk away from the flesh, to move in tandem with God’s plan for fruitful faith.
Sojourners like these produce gentleness, peace, patience, and love. These are the faith-fruits worthy of a parent’s pleas and much better than seats of significance.
My Father, Your word says we’re sojourners here and citizens of heaven. As a Sojourner, help me be an example of walking worthy of my calling. Guide me in how to have my child walk by Your Spirit alongside me. Grow faith-born fruit in our lives as a family.
4. The Viewer’s Prayer – A Prayer for Their Pride
Every parent wants their child’s best. We can’t be too hard on Mrs. Zebedee, but her lack of vision in her request cautions us.
Instead of promoting pride in how our children view themselves in relation to others in God’s kingdom and to His Son, may He help us all see ourselves accurately.
When Jesus gently answered the favor asked by this first century Tiger Mom, He guided us all in the better request. “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Matthew 20:26-28).
The powerful prayer for faith is for children to have a humble view of self and others, in place of pride. In Romans 12:3 Paul warned his spiritual children to be mindful about viewing themselves more highly than they ought to, instead viewing self and others through a lens of faith.
Dear God, the world applauds the proud, but You love the humble. I ask You to shape my child’s pride. And my pride. We want to be Viewers of ourselves and others who see through the eyes of faith. Would You give my child a desire to serve others in humility?
5. The Maker’s Prayer – A Prayer for Their Service
Children can’t really be anything they want to be. But they can be what God designed them to be, and that’s better. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (Ephesians 2:10).
Every child is a masterpiece made by God, with potential to make something else wonderful. The world offers enticing options for wealth and fame, but a parent longing to see childlike faith flourish will ask God to use their son or daughter’s life to serve others after the example of Jesus Himself.
This may require a powerful prayer for God to first work in our heart as parents to release our children for His service and His plans. The Great Maker’s plans for His masterpieces trump our plans for their lives.
As we pray for our child’s faith to mature into service for God and others, we pray for our Maker to make our children into makers for His glory.
Great Creator, would You grow my child into a Maker of what brings You glory? Would You use them to serve as Your masterpiece? As they collect achievements and receive opportunities, please give them an appetite to create what serves You best.
6. The Worshiper’s Prayer – A Prayer for Their Devotion
So fleeting are the days and nights when an infant loves her parents most. With a widening world comes new people, things, and experiences to love.
When parents are first worshipers, prayers turn to pleas for our child’s faith to be fixed on God as their first love. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
We’re told to impress this truth on the hearts of our children, talking about it during all parts of our parenting days in all areas of family life. Worshipping parents want their children to love God most with all they are. “What is it you want?” Jesus asks.
We want our child’s devotion to be Yours and Yours alone, Lord.
Father God, my child’s life is amazing. I worship You as their Creator. Please help me to talk about Your faithfulness as we do life together as a family. I ask You to attach my child’s devotion to You first, to make them a Worshiper of You.
So what is it you want for your child?
We want more for our children than the best seats in the house. With all that’s in us, we can lift up powerful prayers for our child’s faith to be strong and ready to stand in the world.
We kneel before the Lord Himself, asking Him to shape their mind, their heart, their walk, their pride, their service, and their devotion. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/ChristinLola
Julie Sanders loves helping women find God’s peace in today’s challenging times. She is the author of Expectant, The ABCs of Praying for Students, and the creator of How to Prayer Walk for Your School. She and her husband call Central Oregon home, but serve leaders globally and cross-culturally. Julie can be found at juliesanders.org.