Prayers for Our Children

The following prayers are excerpts taken from the Prayers of a Parent four-book series by Kathleen Nielson, available where all good books are sold. 


A Prayer For My Child to Think on Jesus

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Heb. 2:9

So many things there are to pray for, along the way! As we walk with our children on the first part of their path, let’s fix our eyes on the One who walks with us: the living Lord Jesus. Let’s pray for our children to know him and see him. This is the main thing.

This will be the main thing in the end: that we will see Jesus, the one who died for us and who conquered death for us. Let’s pray that our children see the end even from the beginning. Let’s pray in Jesus’s name, and for his glory, to the end.

In the midst of all our bustling days,
O Lord who knows and sees our bustle,
may we not forget the presence of our Savior.
May my child be learning how to think on him who died for us, to see him,
as his Spirit opens our eyes.

In the midst of play,
of meals either hurried or prolonged,
in quiet rest and busy running,
may my child be mindful of the risen Christ
right here with us,
as his Word lights our eyes to see.

In the midst of growth,
with needy body that demands much care
and mind that would be filled and satisfied,
may my child think on Jesus,
Lord of all things made by his own hand,
and Lord who lives in us who trust in him.

May my child think on Jesus,
Seeing all the rest more clearly
In the light of him.

A Prayer For My Teen’s Love of the Church

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Heb. 10:23-25

In all stages of life, the church is the crucial community for us as God’s people. The teen years, however, are arguably the most crucial stage to foster church connection-and, sadly, sometimes the stage when that connection weakens. It’s easy to let the call of other involvements begin to shape the com­mitments of a child’s life.

The teen years do shape many fundamental directions in life. Should not the body of Christ, our eternal family, be the crucial context for this shaping? We in the church do not always do a good job of embracing teens-involving them in worship, fellowship, biblical study, and service, not just among themselves but as an integral part of a whole congregation.

May we parents teach our teens the priority of life with God’s people. May we let them know that to be in our own family is to live and worship as part of God’s family. This aim may not always fit smoothly with our children’s own desires and agendas. There’s much to pray about here.

So easy to neglect, it is, this gathering of God’s people,
perhaps especially for those not little and carried along
but also not grown and fully fit to carry others.
For these young growing ones, O Lord,
please help your church
to give clear thought and urgent care,
as hearts and minds are taking shape
invisibly (with stealthy, shocking speed)
in these not-formed but right-now-forming
pillars of your church for years to come
all by your grace.

Please give them teachers from among us
who will seek them, like them, shepherd them,
who by your Spirit see into their hearts
and understand their roving minds
and speak in ways their ears can hear,
so girls and boys (in just a moment, women and men)
might learn to listen to your Word
and love the Savior who shines forth
and follow in the company of many saints,
all sinners saved by Jesus’s blood.

May church mean family, a gathering
that my child loves, of which he feels a part
and wants to share with fellow growing ones
who know, or who will come to know
the indispensable, incomparable sweetness
of God’s people gathered.

Photo of Kathleen Nielson

Kathleen Nielson

Kathleen Nielson (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is an author and speaker who loves working with women in studying the Scriptures. After directing the Gospel Coalition’s women’s initiatives from 2010–2017, she now serves as senior adviser and book editor for TGC. She and her husband, Niel, make their home partly in Wheaton, Illinois, and partly in Jakarta, Indonesia. They have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and five granddaughters.

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