I recently wrote an article at Desiring God about praying hard prayers for our children. It was one of those articles that came out of time spent in fervent prayer over my children and of God’s work in my heart. As I thought and prayed over their future and their growth in faith, I realized that my prayers focused more on their temporary happiness and well being and not on their ultimate and eternal transformation and growth. (If you missed that article at DG, click here).
The Apostle Paul is one whom I model many of my prayers after. While he had every reason to pray for safety, comfort, and happiness for the churches he ministered to (after all, many of them faced intense persecution), the prayers he wrote in his letters reflected his concern for what was more important than safety, comfort, and happiness–their growth in faith in the gospel of Christ. He prayed for the gospel’s impact in their heart and that they would understand the depths of love God has for them through Christ. He prayed for the Spirit’s work of transformation in their hearts, enabling them to reflect God’s love and grace to others. It is these prayers which I pray for myself, my friends, my family and my children.
Below are several of Paul’s prayers:
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:17-19
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:9-12
“To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
I also have a printable listing 31 topics to pray for our children throughout the month. Click here to see it.
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” Abraham Lincoln