What drove Nancy Ruth to write this book? How does it work? Today’s blog answers these questions.
We know we should read the Scriptures (Ps 1:1-2; Matt 4:4; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Rev 1:3), but have you ever prayed God’s Word back to Him? Many of the Psalms are songs of prayer written to be used by others. For example, the explanatory note which begins Psalm 9 reads, “For the choir director; on Muth-lebben. A Psalm of David.” Many English Bibles put these notes in smaller print above the words of the Psalm, but these words are part of the original text of Scripture handed down through the generations. The Psalms are the prayers of God’s people. John 15:7 also closely links Scripture and prayer. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (NIV).
Praying Scripture over our children speaks life into them. It reminds them of God’s promises and commands while helping them see themselves as God sees them. The Holy Spirit may use it to convict them of sin throughout the day or to encourage them to keep doing the good they know they need to do.
Some may shy away from this practice worried that using someone else’s words to pray could lead to “empty words.” This is a valid concern. Matthew 6 provides warnings about prayer.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (NIV).
However, Paul often records his prayers for churches. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 is one of my favorites.
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ”(NIV).
Aren’t those the same things we want for our children? Do they know we pray things like this for them? Are they seeing us pray so they can learn from us?
Today’s the Day
I strongly urge you to consider praying Scripture over your children. Start today! It could be without their knowledge in your prayer closet or while they are asleep, but pray it aloud with them too. Let children hear you praying God’s promises for their life. Let them discover how God sees them through your eyes.
Parent Road Ministries just released a new eBook, 40 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Children. Use this as a starting point or search the Bible for verses specific to your child. Either way, pray God’s Word over them. He promises it will not return without accomplishing the work for which He intended (Isa 55:11).
The Author’s Heart
I chose Luke 2:52 as the outline of this collection of biblical prayers. You make be familiar with this verse or you may be among the many who skim right over it. Here is what Luke 2:52 says:
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man [people].”
I think you’ll agree that describes a well-rounded person. This verse is the prayer of my heart for the children in my life. I hope it is the prayer of your’s too.
It wasn’t easy narrowing it down to ten verses per category. I spent a long time looking up verses which spoke to wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with other people. At first, I didn’t even really know how to define some of those categories (like stature). Once I had 8-15 pages of copied and pasted verses for each category, I cut them up, laid them out on the floor, and prayerfully chose ten. In order to do that, I had to more narrowly define each category. I tried to choose verses that spoke to all aspects of each particular area of growth. Many wonderful verses ended up in the “no” pile. If I missed your favorite, feel free to add it to your collection of prayers.
I pray these verses speak into your life and the life of your children as they’ve already spoken into mine. May God bless your faithfulness to pray for your children and give them into His care.
Love in Christ,
How to Use These Prayers
There’s something powerful about praying God’s Words back to Him. Based on the four areas of growth in Luke 2:52 (wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with other people), this eBook provides 40 verses to pray over your children.
Use these prayers at bedtime, at meal time, just before your children leave for school, or in your personal prayer time.
Praying for Multiple Children
These prayers are written to pray over one child, but you can easily use them for two or more at the same time. List all the children’s names where it says “_____ (child’s name).” Then change the pronouns appropriately (i.e. “he/she” becomes “they”).
Some of these prayers are longer than others, but a fluent English reader should be able to read these prayers aloud in one to three minutes.
Is there a right order?
Some people will work their way through this book in the order it’s written. Others will choose a more random approach to add a little variety. Both ways work just fine. Find what works best for you and begin praying for your children.
There is quite a bit of repetition in these prayers. For example, the ten prayers in each category begin the same way. Other times we say the same things in different ways.
This repetition is intentional. Children learn through repetition. I hope you pray these prayers repeatedly over your children. Let God’s Word sink into their minds and hearts. Then watch for God to work in their lives.
All the Scriptures quoted in this book are taken from the New International Version of the Bible. There are lots of good translations out there. I chose this one because it is a common translation used to help children understand and memorize.
The words contained in brackets [like this] are words I have added. These changes mostly replace “you” with “him/her,” but they may also include explanatory phrases.
You will find I didn’t strictly stick to the forty Scriptures rule. A few times I couldn’t help myself because two verses complemented each other so well. I hope you will see why I just couldn’t separate them. Rest assured that those prayers are no longer than the others.
One quick note about Scripture references. You may notice that I have not abbreviated any books of the Bible. I want this guide to be accessible for those new to the Bible as well as those very familiar with it. I also want you to be able to look up any of these verses for yourself. This is why I spell out every book of the Bible referenced.
Lord, you said in Matthew 22:39 to “love your neighbor as yourself.” You said in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Lord, we know that we should be nice to other people, but you have asked for so much more. Your reputation is at stake. As Christians, people see what we do and say and think God is that way too. Help us to live for Christ. Help _____ (child’s name) to treat others in a way that honors you, Lord. It is not a way to get to heaven, but it is a way to tell Jesus how much we love him. Help _____ (child’s name) to love other people because he/she loves you.
Lord, I pray Ephesians 4:29 for _____ (child’s name). Teach him/her to “not let any unwholesome [mean or poisonous] talk come out of [his/her] mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I pray that the words _____ (child’s name) says would not tear other people down, but will build them up. Do not let these be empty words, but what is appropriate to say at that moment. Let the words ______ (child’s name) uses help other people see Jesus in the way _____ (child’s name) talks.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.