Avoid This Mistake When Praying for Grown Children

Praying for your adult children - Ever Thine Home

For years I avoided reading the book of Job because I was afraid I’d contract some of his suffering.  I knew enough about his story to have zero envy of his previous and post suffering wealth and success. But my Bible study class during my children’s teen years included a week focusing on Job. I’m now a fan of his for what I learned about God and about Job’s prayers for his grown up kids. The timing was right for me.

As any parent knows endless frightening possibilities force us to pray.  Teenage driving, coed parties, international mission trips, or carefree backpacking in national parks are out-of-our-control scenarios that send us to our knees.

When our six children left the nest and moved away, I discovered I wasn’t in the know anymore. I no longer heard daily accounts of my kids’ activities and events once they went to college and then married. I no longer knew their friends, where they were, when they left or arrived back home to their dorm or house.

It was a great loss: a time of learning to trust God in new ways as their mom. I learned to pray differently, now that I didn’t have details.

With ten grown children, seven sons and three daughters, Job felt what every mom or dad feels today. The seven brothers hosted big feasts on their birthdays every year and invited the siblings, including their three sisters. Job wasn’t invited. But he knew they went all out with great food and fine wines.

Even though he missed out on the fun, Job developed a routine, a habit of prayer, to exercise when he knew the party was over and everyone was traveling back home. The focus of Job’s prayer was for the hearts of his children. Not their success, wealth ,or accomplishments. His prayers weren’t selfish and temporal focused but were holy and eternally focused.

“And when the days of the feast had run their course…he would rise early and offer burnt offerings for the number of them all. For Job said [he prayed], ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts’” (Job 1:5).

Interceding before the Judge of the Universe, Job confidently and faithfully went before God because as a parent he loved his children and knew it was best for them to follow God all their lives. Closing the door of their hearts on God, Job knew, was the first step away from the safety of God’s presence and the purposes of His plan.

My husband and I often pray prayers like Job’s, like the one with this post, for our grown up kids. We also bring other requests to God about qualities and values that line up with our Father’s.

  • Lord, help them always be quick to forgive, quick to ask for forgiveness, willing to do the hard work of relationship building and relationship restoration. (Ephesians 4:29-32)
  • Father, guide our children in your ways. (Psalm 43:3)
  • Lord, give them wisdom and understanding as they make decisions on school choices, career choices, marriage, and parenting. (Proverbs 2:1-11)
  • Protect them, Lord, from the temptations of the world and from the evil that wants to destroy. (James 4:1-8)
  • May they be like Job, faithful to You, Lord, no matter what befalls them. (Job 1 & 2)
  • Lord God, I pray my children, their spouses, and our grandchildren would grow to love Your Word with their whole hearts, that they would keep His word so they might remain pure. (Psalm 119)

But as you pray here is an important caution. Ask your adult children for specific needs to pray about for them. If they are willing to share those with you, whatever you do don’t share those requests with your prayer or Bible study group or friends. Once your children leave your home to live their own lives, their lives are their own to share as they wish with whomever they wish.

This is hard to learn for parents who as their kids were growing up found comfort at ballgames, church foyers, and prayer groups sharing challenges with other moms and dads with similar experiences. We found camaraderie, sometimes a few laughs, and encouragement that our kids weren’t the only ones doing something that drove us craze!

But when they turn 18 the rules change.

Respect your adult children’s need to make their own way, to grapple with the issues, morals, and cultural complexities of their generation. Give them space to learn and grow just as you did.

Remember, we are on this spinning planet for His agenda, His purposes. As Job did, line up your prayers for your children with God’s desires. As Jesus taught us, pray, “Thy kingdom come,” a request for Him to reign in your children’s lives and your own.

 

For encouragement on teaching younger children to pray read Teaching your Elementary Kids to Pray and Teaching Little Ones to Pray.

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Avoid This Mistake When Praying for Grown Children”

  1. I’ve been praying for my adult son he served in Afghanistan he came back with PTSD the is no longer the son he was I pray for a miracle healing of his heart mind and soul he doesn’t trust anyone he got sent to prison of volition of court order which should not have been put on him how do I pray he doesn’t want anything to do with us.but in reality he does

    1. When I read your post I took a double take, I thought I had posted it. It seems that military boot camp gives our young men PTSD and then a tour in Afghanistan puts so much anxiety into them, that it’s hard for them to recover. I’m a praying Mom and have the exact same issue. My son is no longer talking to me, is on major anti-anxiety medication and refuses to talk to me or his step-father. Let’s believe for our son’s – healing and restoration of their hearts and minds, in Jesus’ name.

    2. I am praying for all of those out there afflicted with PTSD. My children suffer from this, due to traumatic experiences they endured, as children. For us, it has gotten better, with regards to frequency of episides. It’s been over 10 years now and they are all adults, but, unfortunately, it rears up it’s ugly head, just when we thought, it had gone away. I pray that God will heal my children and all others who suffer this, and I pray for all thier loved ones, that even though we may not suffer from it, we do suffer from it, because our loved ones do and therefore we also need healing. God bless 🙏❤️🙏

  2. I need this. Thank you very much. My son is moving out tomorrow. This is surely from our heavenly father. I Thank you again.

  3. My 2 adult sons are very successful. They grew up in a loving family, taught the Christian faith with weekly church attendance. Taught to budget, manage their money and all responsible in life. When they went to college, now married they do not attend church anymore. I pray for them and always let them know that I continue with all I taught them. God keep a watchful eye out for them and may their guardian angel protect them

  4. Just dropped my youngest back at college for her sophmore year. Two hours away. I miss her already. I needed this tonight. My other 3 adult children are so far away and although we talk every week I feel so out of their lives. I will pray more. Thank you for the gift of your wisdom.

  5. Dear God, I fear for one of our children who is conflicted about a woman he’s with. Help him to listen to your guidance which often comes as intuition. Help him to follow you and keep his soul pure

  6. REBECCA JO TROSPER

    Thank you!! It is so difficult letting go of your child when they leave the nest. They follow their own path and their ways differ now than when they were younger. They see things differently and go on a destructive path. All you can do is hand them back to God. When they are young you talk to them about Jesus when they are older you talk to Jesus about them.

  7. Wow!!! This was incredibly timely. My first daughter left for college three hours away this past fall. I have had a rough time with this. In some ways it has been good because we were so close it gave me more time with my youngest daughter. I can’t hardly stand not being in the know. My girls have been my identity and I love being their mom. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    1. Sonya, I could have written exactly the same words that you wrote! Now, our younger daughter will graduate this Spring, so our time is short. I’m trying to prepare my heart for the fast-approaching Fall, when we will truly be empty nesters and must re-learn to “do life” without our daughters as a common bond and focus.
      My head knows that this transition is right and good, but my heart is saying, “not yet!” I appreciate Barbara’s insights, encouragement, and exhortations to grow into this new season of motherhood with my almost-adult daughters. Pray! Pray! and Pray some more!!

  8. Thank you!!! This insight and teaching about grown adult children is SO relevant and we’re not hearing it anywhere else. God is using you in our lives in this season

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