Praying for Our Children

We should pray for our children. I believe this, and you do too.

What does the Bible say about praying for our children? Well, practically nothing. I haven’t taken a turn for the worse into Progressive theology. The Bible simply doesn’t say, “This is how you pray for your children.”

The Bible does list a few examples of parents praying for their children. In the Book of Genesis, Jacob (Israel) prays blessings on the children of Joseph.

When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them” (Genesis 48:8-9, ESV).

And in Genesis 49, Jacob prays for all his sons. His prayers describe each son’s character, and then he utters a prophecy of their future based upon their past holiness or ungodliness.

From Jacob’s prayers, we can learn three principles to consider when praying for our children: blessing, admonishing godly character, and predictive prayer.

Blessing: We should pray blessings for our children. Parents have unique insight into how each child should be blessed. Knowing a child is athletic, we pray for humility while asking God to help an unathletic child see the true worth found in their unique giftedness.

Admonishing godly character: If we read the prayers of Jacob for his children, he doesn’t hold back from honesty regarding their character and actions from the past. Admonishing prayer is based on the good and the bad of our children’s characters.

Predictive prayer: Jacob uttered predictive prayers of blessing or cursing upon each of his sons according to their past behavior.

Jacob prayed/predicted that Judah’s heirs would be the lineage of Jesus. But he told Simeon and Levi that because of their tempers, they would be scattered in Israel.

So, how do we take Jacob’s example of blessing, admonition, and predictive prayer into a New Testament context of grace, mercy, and the fear of God in praying for our children?

First, recognize that it’s difficult to pray for children, which is why the Bible doesn’t give us a pat formula.  

Second, know that as parents, we have unique authority to pray for our children. 

Our prayers should not diminish holiness by overlooking their sin. Our prayers should speak blessings tempered in the fear of God and mercy; and our prayers should give a predictive admonition about a life lived or not lived for the glory of God.

We fight for our children in spiritual warfare when they can’t or don’t pray for themselves. We continue to pray for their victories and defeats, successes and failures, and obedience or rebellion.

Pray, pray, pray, and don’t give up. Praying for our children is our assignment!

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