Some of you may remember that I posted last August about praying Psalm 119 over my kids. Well this summer, I’ve been finding more great scripture prayers for children nestled in the letters of Paul in the New Testament.
If you’ve never thought about praying scripture, you’re not alone. I’m not sure how the movement toward this kind of prayer began, but it wasn’t until recent years that I began to hear of it from several sources.
The purpose of scripture prayer is to align our prayers with the will and the Word of God. And to that end, the Bible becomes a guide about how to pray for others.
Now, I’m not suggesting that the purpose of the Bible is to serve us as a prayer book. The Bible points us to Christ and shows us the way of salvation. Psalm 119 teaches that the Word of God guides us and teaches us how to live. 2 Timothy 3:16 states that the scripture teaches and trains us in righteousness. It’s much, much more than a prayer book.
But when we can see in the Bible what God wants to accomplish, then it makes sense that we ask him to accomplish these things, even borrowing his words to pray directly.
As you’ll soon see, a scripture prayer simply reads the verse and inserts someone’s name into it. Most scripture prayers contain a dash where you can place a name. Sometimes you can simply replace one word in the verse with a specific person’s. Other times it’s necessary to paraphrase or rearrange the verse to make it into a prayer.
If you’d like to practice in a group and hear others pray scripture prayers for children, why not join a local Moms in Prayer group? You can check out their website or simply text GROUPS to 51555. Moms in Prayer has played a significant role in my life since 2012, and is primarily where I began praying like this.
Scripture you can pray directly
Some verses in the Bible are already prayers. This is especially common in the book of Psalms. Besides just reading the prayer that the psalmist prayed, isn’t it completely natural and appropriate to pray the same for ourselves? Take as an example, Psalm 51:10.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
David’s prayer belongs to his story. But it encourages the same response within us. Therefore, the verse has value as we objectively recognize it as part of David’s heart regarding his own sin. As we internalize the verse, looking at it subjectively, we let the verse read us to see if our hearts toward sin invoke the same response.
Scripture prayers that switch out the pronouns
We could easily make this into a prayer for a child.
“Create in ___________ a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within her.” Some verses lend themselves very easily to this sort of substitution. Other examples would be Romans 15:13 and Psalm 25:4.
Scripture prayers from paraphrase
At other times, a verse isn’t a prayer but the idea expressed lends itself to prayer. Like when God is sharing his will, or someone is teaching a truth that we need to obey. The word convicts or teaches us, and our response is a prayer.
Take Romans 13:12 as an example. The verse in NIV reads, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” So here we have a command that we know God wants for us and our kids. Why not paraphrase it into a prayer, such as, “Lord, may _______ put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” What a great prayer that is! I lifted it directly from scripture. It’s from my heart for my kids, but I borrowed the words from the Bible. This prayer helps me to articulate something that both God and I want for my kids.
And that’s the beauty of scripture prayers for children.
Scripture prayer as a tool not a restriction
When you pray, by no means do you need to limit yourself to scripture prayers! There are many other kinds of prayers that I don’t need to go into here. Prayer is simply talking to God. It doesn’t have to be categorized or complicated. Scripture prayers can help you find ideas of how to pray for others and yourself. Or they can also help you express in words what you have been unable to find words to express.
As I was saying…Inspiration from Paul
I’m now a mother of adult children and although Paul was never a parent, I’m beginning to see how much we actually have in common. Every person that Paul led to Christ was like a child to him. And Paul expresses the same desire for his “kids” that I have for mine – that they would grow up into Christ, that their lives would be fruitful and productive, that they wouldn’t fall prey to distractions and deceptions. Like Paul, I want my kids to understand that there is no greater treasure than Jesus Christ. And as I’ve been reading through Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians and now I’m starting 1 Timothy, I find myself jotting down these words to pray for my peeps.
Philippians 1:9-11 “Lord, may _________’s love overflow more and more. May _________ keep on growing in knowledge and understanding so that he/she may live a pure and blameless life until Christ returns. May ________ always be filled with the fruit of his/her salvation, the righteous character produced in his/her life by Jesus Christ.”
When we realize the power of salvation and our desperate need for Christ, we gain a new heart that is full of gratitude and love for our Savior, and grace and compassion for others. As our love grows more Christ-like, our nature becomes more Christ-like.
Colossians 3:10a “May ______ put on his/her new nature, available in Christ, and may ___________ be renewed as he/she learns to know you, the Creator, and becomes more like you.”
We don’t accidentally grow more Christ-like. I’m praying that our kids value spending time with their Creator, see themselves as God’s creation, and make choices that reflect their status as God’s children.
Philippians 2:13 “Father, please work in _________, giving him/her the desire and the power to do what pleases you.”
Whether or not our kids demonstrate a desire to please the Lord, we can be praying for that desire to grow in them, and for the Holy Spirit to equip them with power to live holy lives.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Lord of peace, may you give ______________ your peace at all times and in every situation.”
God is the Lord of peace. There is never a situation that rocks him. And he can be our Rock and Strength and Peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Instead of worrying, may _____ remember to pray about everything so that he/she will experience your peace which exceeds anything we can understand. May your peace guard _______’s mind in Christ Jesus.”
Epidemic anxiety surrounds us, and many times, engulfs our kids. God can give, to both us and them, his peace as we pray.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “Lord God of peace, make ______ holy in every way. May ________’s whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until you come again.”
Paul wants his kids wholly sold out for Jesus, and so do I. Rather than worrying, I love the invitation to ask God to keep my kids blameless.
Colossians 3:16a “May the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill ____________’s life.”
Holding fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ, anchors us to the centrality of our individual purpose as well as the Father’s kingdom purpose.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 “Lord, may you enable __________ to live a life worthy of your call. May you give her the power to accomplish all the good things that her faith prompts her to do.”
It’s not easy to live focused on the call of God. I want my kids to have a faith that prompts them to do good rather than a fear that triggers striving to be good.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 “Lord, you who love ________ may you by your grace give _________eternal comfort and a wonderful hope and may you strengthen _________ in every good thing he/she does and says.”
May our kids have the comfort and hope that they need for strength. May they know they are loved.
1 Timothy 1:5 “May your purpose be fulfilled in _________. May he/she be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”
In the end, God’s plans are the best plans for our kids. Let’s pray that God’s purposes are fulfilled in their lives. And what Christian mama doesn’t want her kids to be filled with love from a pure heart, a clear conscience and a genuine, devoted faith?
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Thanks for reading! Blessings to you and your family! Be sure to leave some love in the comments below. And if you found this resource helpful, why don’t you share it with some of your friends?