Have you every prayed specific scriptures over your children? Do you struggle to find passages that help with this? Do you feel like your prayers are often repetitive and ‘small?’ I know that I’ve had all of these issues as a praying parent.
A few years ago, during a bible study at our church, an older woman shared a passage of scripture that she had faithfully used through the years to pray over her children. It resonated deeply with me, and in the years since, has become a common passage we return to regularly. Our kids are very familiar with it by now.
This is from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
Colossians 1:9-12 (ESV)
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;12 giving thanks[a] to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
I go back to Colossians over and over again for prayer. It is such an encouraging book, filled with wisdom and instruction for how we ought to live as children of light.
For me in my morning prayer time, I pray for all my children, but I try to focus on longer, more specific prayer for one child each day. This way, I’m able to spend time interceding on behalf of each of them in ways that they need.
If you’ve never prayed the scriptures, it might feel awkward to you. But there are several reasons why this is a healthy practice to cultivate.
- We are given the example in scripture itself. There are many instances throughout the Old and New Testaments of God’s people praying His word back to Him. In fact, if you read through the Psalms, you’ll see that most of them ARE prayers. Jesus Himself prayed passages of scripture in the gospels. What better example is there?
- God’s word keeps our prayers fresh and vital. John Piper writes, “If we don’t form the habit of praying the Scriptures, our prayers will almost certainly degenerate into vain repetitions that eventually revolve entirely around our immediate private concerns, rather than God’s larger purposes.” If we long to know and see our children fulfill God’s purpose, we must find that purpose in the His holy word.
- Praying the scriptures generates affection for them and for the One who penned them. It helps us become for familiar with God’s word, and even memorize it.
- Scripture is perfect and true. Praying it back to the Father sets truth in our hearts and minds, gives our very souls joy.
- Scripture is powerful. I crave the power of the Holy Spirit to be demonstrated in my children’s lives. What better way to request that power than by praying God’s own words over the ones I love so dearly?
But, HOW to pray the scriptures?
For those to whom this is a newer concept, I want to give a short example of one way you can easily and simply use scripture in your prayer time.
This is another excerpt from Colossians, chapter 3:12-17
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
If I were praying this for my eldest, Noah, it would look something like this:
“Father, help Noah to realize that he is your chosen son, holy and beloved. Let him have a compassionate heart, demonstrating kindness, meekness, and patience. Help him to forgive others and You forgive him. I pray that Noah would put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in his heart, to which he was called in one body. Let him be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in him richly, teaching and admonishing him in all wisdom. Place psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in his heart, with thankfulness to God. Whatever he does, in word or deed, may he do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Amen.
This is just an example of how I pray a piece of scripture, but yours can be how you feel led. Set the bible open before you. Don’t worry if you stumble over words, just pray. The Holy Spirit hears the cry of your heart and the song on your lips. And when words fail you, He intercedes on your behalf.
If you need some more ideas for scriptures to pray, I’ve put some here. But the Psalms are always a great place to go.
- Jeremiah 29:11-14
- Psalm 139
- Psalm 23
- Psalm 91 (my favorite)
- Ephesians 6:12-13
- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
- Romans 8:12-17
Praying the scriptures is a spiritual discipline that is worthy to cultivate in your daily quiet time. Ask the Holy Spirit to set his word in your heart as you begin.