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Prayers for Families

“Prayers for Families” is just what is sounds like.  I am not faithful in prayer. And if being faithful is a matter of me trying harder then I’m definitely sunk! But, “He gives what he commands,” (St. Augustine). So, there is hope for me, although I often feel like Charlie when he studies and studies his picture books and then bursts into tears crying, “I don’t know the words.”  I feel so tired and lost when I try to pray. I need the words. So these are words I can print out and turn to for help with the most important and most neglected part of my parenting.  All of the seventeen prayers below are from Betsy.

1. Prayer for a Child in the Womb

Sovereign Lord,

Long before we were born, you planned to give us this child.

Thank you that it was your decision, not ours.

Even now you are knitting it together in the womb,

And all of its days are already written in your book.

Teach us to love our child with your love,

To provide not only for the needs of its body and mind,

But to nurture its heart in your ways.

Make this child your own at an early age, O Father,

And as it grows, let it continue to have the faith of a child,

Even as it acquires the wisdom of years.

Protect this family and make us an instrument of your grace in the life of this little one.

Help us never to think of this child as ours, so much as it is yours,

And may it grow up to be an oak of righteousness for the display of your splendor.


Psalm 139; Isaiah 61:3

2. Teach Them to Obey

Father in heaven,

We know that it is pleasing to you

When children obey their parents.

Just as you lovingly discipline your children,

Help me to teach my children to obey.

Help us train my children our submit

To us as parents

And to you as Lord.

May their obedience spring not from fear or duty,

But from your life in them and their love of you.

May they never fixate on your rules

And forget your character;

Let them instead recognize that you are good

And you do good, and all of your commands are good.


Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; 1 John 5:2; Hebrews 12:7-11; Psalm 119:68

3. Teach Them to Pray
Heavenly Father,

Teach my children to pray.

Let them approach your throne boldly in the righteousness of Christ.

Let them come to you with large requests, mindful that you are the Lord of all that lives.

Let them not merely praise you with their mouths, but with their whole hearts.

Let prayer be their first resort, not their last.

Let them seek mercy for their sin.

May they cry unto you in their troubles.

May they give thanks at all times.

May they see prayer not only as a means of asking and receiving, but as a means to know you.

May they not see prayer as preparation for your work; may they instead recognize that it is your work.

Let them not come to you like Pharisees, supposing that they will be heard because of their many words.

Let them not come to you trusting in their deeds, but in the undeserved favor that is theirs in Christ Jesus.

Help them to believe that you are a loving Father who gives only good gifts. If they ask for a fish, you will not give them a serpent.

The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Keep my children ever mindful of your power and ever expectant of your intervention.

For you are a kind and gracious God, and you love to answer prayers.


4. For the Love of Your Word

Author of All,

Teach my children to love your word.

May we be faithful to talk about it with them

When we go out and come in,

When we rise up and lie down.

As my children read your word,

May they taste and see that you are good

And take refuge in you.

May they find your word sufficient for

Teaching them in all truth,

Reproving them for their sins,

Correcting their paths,

And training them in all righteousness.

May it be to them a source of deepest joy.

Through it, make them wise for salvation

Through faith in Christ Jesus.

May they apprehend your promises

And, trusting them, prove you faithful.


Deut. 6; Psalm 34:8; 2 Timothy 3:10

5. For Control of the Tongue


Set your Spirit as a guard over my children’s mouths.

May their words be kind,

Never boastful;

May their lips be truthful and avoid deceit;

May they use their tongues to bless, not curse;

May their words build others up

Rather than tear them down;

May they be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Help me to model gracious speech with my own tongue,

And may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts

Be pleasing in your sight, O Lord.


James 3; Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 12:19; Psalm 19:14

7. For the Anxious Child

Lord who calmed the seas,

Calm the waves of my child’s anxiety.

Give him victory over his fears

And teach him to trust you,

For you are close at hand.

Teach him to be anxious for nothing,

Turning to prayer and supplication,

Making requests of you, with thanksgiving, and

Knowing the peace that surpasses understanding,

Peace that comes only in your presence.

Help me to model trust in your sovereignty

And bravery founded in your unfailing love.


2 Timothy 1:7; Philippians 4:6-7

8. When I’m Angry with My Child


I am your child,

And, right now, I’m impatient

With the child you have given me.

I confess that I want control,

And I get angry when my life

Seems out of my control.

You have trusted me

To discipline this child and

Raise him up in the way that he should go,

But I become angry

When he doesn’t conform to my will.

Teach me how to look to your promises

In the moment of temptation

So that I won’t respond to my child in anger.

I have forgotten that it is your kindness

That leads us to repentance;

Help me to speak always kindly,

Even as I teach him to obey.

You taught us to forgive those who sin against us

As we ourselves have been forgiven.

Help me to show to my child

The generous measure of grace

That you have shown to me.

Keep me mindful that

You don’t judge me as a parent

Based upon my child’s behavior;

You know my heart and my desire

To faithfully love and discipline my children,

And Christ’s righteousness covers me

When I fail.


Romans 2:4

9. When A Child Is Ill

Great Physician,

When my child is sick, I am reminded that we live in fragile bodies in a fallen world.

You have commanded us to give thanks in all circumstances,

For nothing comes to us unless it is from your hand,

And so I give thanks not for this sickness, but for your sovereignty over it

And for your presence with me as I keep watch over my child.

Your Son showed his mighty power over death and disease

By healing the sick and raising the dead.

I ask that by that same power, you would

Cure my child through medical treatment,

Or heal my child through a miracle.

If this is not your will,

Give us the grace to bear the affliction in faith.

Thank you that one day you will give your children new bodies that will never be sick.

I entrust my child to your care,

pleading that you who fashioned this fragile body would mend it.


1 Thess. 5:18; John 9:3

10. Prayer on a Child’s Birthday

Lord of all that lives,

Today we give thanks that you created_________.

Thank you for placing _______ in our family.

With each year that passes, make this dear child more like you.

Teach him to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk in humble fellowship with you.

May he delight in your creation

And glorify you in his heart

As he discovers the talents and abilities you have given to him.

As his will becomes stronger,

Teach him self-control

And help him to walk in obedience

To your will and your commands.

Thank you for the delight of knowing this child,

Made in your image,

And give me the wisdom to shepherd his heart in paths of righteousness,

For the sake of your name.


Micah 6:8; Galatians 5:23

11. In the Midst of Prosperity

Father of lights,

Every good and perfect gift comes from you.

Thank you for blessing my children.

Protect them from loving your gifts more than they love you, the giver.

May they not exult in cleverness, but grow in wisdom.

May they not meditate on their own physical stature or outward beauty, but on the health and beauty of

their souls.

May they never trust in the favor of man, but instead win others to worship you.

Help them to think more about others than they do about themselves and to look on their own lives with

sober judgment.

May their hearts be filled with gratitude,

May they overflow in your praise,

And, whether in plenty or in want, may they bless your name all the days of their lives.


12. In the Midst of Adversity

Sovereign Lord,

You do not allow your children to be afflicted

Unless you design it for their good and your glory.

Don’t let my children walk through this trial in vain.

Use it to strengthen their characters,

To remind them that this world is not their home,

To give them compassion for those who suffer.

Teach them that your steadfast love never ceases,

That your mercies are new every morning,

And that your faithfulness is great.

May they learn to worship you in the wilderness.

Wipe the tears from their eyes, and give them abiding joy in the midst of sorrow.

Prevent them from looking to anyone but you for their deliverance.

Where they have sinned, lead them to repentance,

And where they have been sinned against, protect them against bitterness.

You are a good Father, and you know that it hurts to watch my children suffer.

I pray that this trial would not last one moment longer than is necessary for you to accomplish your good

purpose in their lives.


13. On the Influence of Peers

Wise and loving Father,

Give my children friends who will influence them for good, not evil.

Friends who are trustworthy in spirit,

Who will love at all times,

Who will sharpen them as iron sharpens iron.

May they never stand in the way of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of mockers,

Nor walk in the counsel of the wicked.

May they run from companions who would entice them to sin.

In times of loneliness, be near to my children.

I would rather my children love you

Than be popular,

But I pray that you would sustain them in times of solitude

With a better portion

Than the favor of men.

As they choose their friends

Help them not to look on the outward appearance

To surround themselves with those the world approves.

Let them instead seek companions who bear the fruit of the Spirit,

Who are not given to anger,

Who fear you and walk according to your precepts.

May they influence their friends for good, and

May it be apparent to all who know them that they are, above all, a friend of God.


Psalm 1; Deut. 13:6-9; Proverbs 11:13; Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 22:24-25

14. For a Wayward Child

Gracious Father,

Bring my child to repentance.

I fear that he, like the children of Job, may have sinned and cursed God in his heart.

You have given him so much, and like the Prodigal, he has squandered much.

Bring him to his senses.

Give him a desire to be once again in your house.

Prevent me from ever being a stumbling block to his salvation,

And may his rebellion never be a hindrance to my trust in you.

Even as I intercede for him, keep my heart set on you.

May I live to see the day when I can say that my son was dead, but is alive again,

That he was lost but now is found.

May my tears of sorrow become tears of joy

And my mourning turn to dancing.

For you are a God who loves to show mercy,

Who rejoices when sinners repent,

Who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one that is lost.

For the sake of your son who died and lives to redeem the lost,

Bring my child home.


Job 1:5; Luke 15:17; Psalm 30

15. Letting Go

Father in Heaven,

You have heard the prayers I have prayed for my children.

I cannot keep them under my wings forever, nor should I wish to.

Help me to send them out into the world in faith,

Trusting that no matter how thoughtless, reckless, stubborn, or misguided they may be,

Not a hair of their heads will be touched without your permission.

May they gain true life by surrendering to your will.

Help me to be less concerned with their security

And more concerned with their eternity.

Give them undivided hearts to fear your name

And incline their hearts to your word.

Provide for them faithful companions

who will encourage them in the path of righteousness,

That they may walk in a manner worthy of your name,

For your glory.


16. For My Son, a Wife

Giver of every good gift,

Your word says that

He who finds a wife finds a good thing.

Prepare for my son

A wife of noble character.

Let her have the imperishable beauty

Of a gentle and quiet spirit.

Let her be industrious,

One who puts others first,

One who busies herself with your work.

Give her a love for my son that will endures

through times of plenty and times of want.

May she speak to him and of him

With respect and grace.

Genesis 24; Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 31; 1 Peter 3:4

17. A Family Benediction

Bless, O Lord, this family.

We are strangers in a strange land,

But you are our guide.

Give us triumph over temptation,

Obedience to your commands,

Joy in our journey,

And peace when it is done.

Make us generous givers

And gracious receivers.

May the light of Christ shine so brightly

In our eyes that we forget ourselves

And so brightly in our lives

That others forget us

And see only you, forever.


Hebrews 11:9; 2 Corinthians 4:6

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