Praying the Scriptures for your Children

Erin Davis

Erin Davis | 02.17.11
Twitter: @ErinGraffiti


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When I was only twelve weeks along with my first-born son, the doctor called us with some devastating news. The baby’s tiny bladder was blocked meaning he couldn’t process amniotic fluid and wasn’t expected to survive the pregnancy. My husband and I immediately decided that I would carry the baby to term despite the diagnosis. That decision launched us into a season of prayer unlike anything we had every experienced before.

I quickly realized that I didn’t have the words to ask God to respond the way I wanted Him too. All I could pray was “don’t let him die!” but that didn’t really capture the mighty work I was asking God to do.

So I started praying Scriptures for my son.

I often prayed “Lord, every good and perfect gift is from you (James 1:17). Please let this gift be born perfect, and without defects.”  Many, many days I prayed Psalm 139 which promises that God was forming my son in the depths of my womb and had His hand on even my baby’s inmost parts. I asked God to make the “inmost parts” of my baby’s bladder and kidneys whole and healthy. I quoted James 5:15 often to God. That verse says, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” I also prayed Romans 8:28 and asked God to work the entire situation for my good.

During that season of intense prayer, when I didn’t know what words to say, I learned the power of praying the Scriptures for my children.

When my baby was born, Nancy mailed me a book titled Praying the Scriptures for your Children. It has been an invaluable resource in teaching me how to pray for my kids. It outlines specific passages of Scripture to pray for your child in areas like your child’s salvation, spiritual protection, your child’s marriage and purpose in life.

In the forward for that book, Fern Nichols writes:

“I believe the greatest influence a mom can have in the life of her child is through prayer. As she stands in the gap for her beloved child, the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth hears and answers her prayers . . . One of the most powerful [prayer] principles is Scripture praying. When we pray the promises of God for our children, our faith increases because we are praying back the very words of God.”

I now pray God’s Word for my kids as often as possible.

When they are struggling in an area of behavior I don’t just say, “God, make them behave!” instead I pray “Lord, I know that lacking self control makes my kids vulnerable to the Enemy (Proverbs 25:28). Self-control comes from your Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23); please teach them self-control through your Spirit.”

Instead of saying, “keep them pure,” I pray, “Lord, hide your word in their hearts so that they don’t want to sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

Do you see how that works? Instead of just asking God to change my kids, I find Scriptures that apply to my children’s needs and then turn my heart toward those specific truths.

Does it work? You betcha. In fact, allow me introduce you to some proof. Meet Elisha. My strong, happy three-year-old with a healthy bladder and near-perfect kidneys. He’s a good and perfect gift alright, formed by the hand of an exceedingly loving God.

(Be sure to check back for tomorrow’s post on choosing a life verse for your kids.)

Topics: With Your Kids


  1. Praise the Lord! What a gift!
    posted by Emily
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 7:16 am
  2. I'm not a mother, but I loved this post! What a wonderful story about your son. He's precious!

    I guess we can also pray Scripture for siblings and friends - especially when we want to pray, but don't have words of our own.

    Thank you for the encouragement!
    posted by Elisabeth
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 7:21 am
  3. What a wonderful post. Thank you Erin for this. I often pray too broad for my son. Thank you for giving examples of specific ways to pray.

    I'm so glad that Elisha is a healthy little man. His whole young life is a testament to prayer. Thank you for sharing.
    posted by Jennifer
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 7:39 am
  4. Thanks for the testimony. I'm going to make this a topic of discussion at a future women's meeting. We need to sharpen the tools of spiritual warfare.
    posted by Dianne
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 8:09 am
  5. Once again Erin you have blessed me by speaking directly to my heart. This is exactly what I needed to know. I truly thank God for you and your blogs. I am without words because God is just sooooooo good! You have non idea how much you just helped me! Thanks for letting Him use your experiences to share with total strangers.
    posted by Aja
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 8:26 am
  6. I enjoyed your post, Erin, and am inspired by it. My children are grown, and yet I am so immature in this area of praying Scripture for them. I certainly cannot express by my own words what is in my heart, and want to use Scripture much, much more when praying! I was thinking on my walk this morning about what verses I might pray for the different ones. This is just another area where we have to be intentional and disciplined about cultivating a good habit!
    Thanks, and take care.
    posted by April
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 8:46 am
  7. Erin, this is a beautiful truth and a beautiful testimony! Thank you so much for posting this. I'm planning to order the book you referenced, too -- sounds great. Amen to praying the scriptures for our children. I desire to do so more. When Ann Dunagan was on ROH (and live-blogging), she mentioned praying Pr. 4 for our children. I found that very helpful.
    In His love,
    posted by Leslie S.
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 8:50 am
  8. Wonderful post! Thank you!! My kids are grown and out of the house, but I pray daily for them and found this very helpful.
    posted by Lynda
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 9:35 am
  9. I have raised all three of my adult children in the church and Christian schools. However, I have a prodigal child who isn't enjoying God's blessings in his life because of poor choices. I continue to stand on God's promises for his salvation, especially Acts 26:31 which says "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, and your household! He's part of my household and will be saved. It gets discouraging waiting, but I trust God will keep his wonderful promise.
    posted by Mrs. Carole Santiago
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 9:57 am
  10. Thanks Erin very good one i have learned something valuable today. God bless u.
    posted by brenda
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 10:26 am
  11. My children are grown and married but I continue to pray for them by name daily as well as my soon to be 11 grandchildren...what blessings!... I have been learning to do this so your post today was such an encouragement! Thank you!
    posted by LK
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 10:36 am
  12. What a precious boy! Praise the Lord for his answering of your prayer!
    posted by Susan McCurdy
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 11:58 am
  13. Praise God for giving you "the desires of your heart!" Thank you for sharing your story and believing the LORD for healing!
    "without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please him."
    posted by Nicole
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm
  14. This is heart-warming. Thanks for posting.
    posted by Heidi
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm
  15. Thanks so much for this post. I am having some extreme behavior issues with my sons right now and I know that praying over them is the best thing I can do. Thanks for sharing your story, HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD!!!
    posted by Arian
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm
  16. I too learned this early in my Christian life. Now that my children are teenagers, I still have a journal full of verses that God has impresed upon me to pray for them. The list grows and morphs into just what they seem to need at their stage of life. I love it that the Lord is such an attentive and detail oriented parent and that He not only leads our children, but He leads us as we lead our children. I could write volumes of all the prayers that have been answered as I have prayed scripture over the last 26 years I've been born again.
    posted by cyndi
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm
  17. Praying the Scriptures for our children is so powerful! Through His Word, the Lord touches them in ways we cannot AND in ways the enemy cannot stand against. I do this weekly with a group of other moms at our Moms In Touch church-based group meeting. Our prayers are so very powerful in the Lord whether our kids are toddlers or in a career with a family of their own.
    posted by Debi Grenseman
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm
  18. Dear Erin,
    Thank you for the encouragement.
    When our 24 y.o. Laurie was in a car accident, she had so many spinal taps. Her spin is riddled with scars. And the spinal fluid can't flow at times.
    You encouraged me to pray for this specific area.
    What a blessing you have been to many.
    posted by Leslie.n
    on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm
  19. Thank you for this encouraging reminder to use the powerful tool of God's word in our prayers.
    posted by Sherrin Drew
    on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 3:43 am
  20. Oligohydramnios due to genitourinary obstruction, detected on routine ultrasound? Broadly similar to the problem that Angie Smith's little Audrey had. I'd like to think this one was a case of the doctors being wrong through erring on the side of caution, rather than that God supernaturally fixed one baby but not the other. That scenario is inherently unjust.

    To be fair, it is just as miraculous when a baby survives circumstances where doctors recommend termination of the pregnancy, and is born normal and healthy. Only today I read a story of a woman who underwent several months chemotherapy for breast cancer while pregnant, and gave birth to a healthy daughter.
    posted by Bonnie
    on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 4:15 am
  21. Bonnie,

    Let me assure you, ours was not a simple case of misdiagnosis. Eli's blockage was spotted at 12 weeks. Every two weeks after that we had a high-tech ultrasound with a team of specialists in the room. I watched with my own eyes as my tiny baby's bladder got bigger and bigger and his kidneys got smaller. Right before delivery I saw his bladder filling his entire abdomen. With well over 25 ultrasounds and a battery of tests by multiple physicians in multiple facilities, I know for sure that Eli's bladder was blocked before birth and that He was miraculously healed and normal after birth.

    I have read Angie Smith's book, "I will carry you" and have met Angie in person. I hate that Audrey was not miraculously healed, but I am confident that Angie would not wish that no other babies would ever be healed because hers was not because that would be more fair.

    It sounds like you are wrestling with the Sovereignty of God. I think most Christians (myself included) wrestle with His ways especially when innocent lives are impacted in ways that are painful. I don't have all of the answers but I do know:
    1. God is all powerful - Genesis 18:14; Luke 18:27; Revelation 19:6
    2. Nothing surprises Him - Psalm 139:2-6; Isaiah 40:13-14
    3. Death was not His original plan - Romans 5:12
    4. Jesus did what it took to conquer death once and for all. We see this clearly in His resurrection.
    5. He is able to redeem all things, even the painful things that happen as a result of the fallen world we live in, for our good - Romans 8:28
    6. He is a good God - Psalm 25:8; Psalm 34:8; Mark 10:18
    7. His ways are not our ways - Isaiah 55:8-9

    These Truths are easy for me to type out on a Christian forum like this, but admittedly sometimes hard to cling to when life throws a serious curveball such a sick baby or one who doesn't get the chance to live long at all.

    But I choose to believe God's Word. I choose to believe that God is who He says that He is and that He will do what He says He will do. Having a correct understanding of who God is gives me so much strength to face the challenges that life offers no matter how huge.

    Eli was originally going to be named Truett. We changed his name to Elisha because it means, "God saves." I had some doubt about this change because I didn't know if God was going to save my baby. But my husband said, "Even if He doesn't heal our baby, we are going to name him Elisha, because God still saves." I would be no less convinced of God's sovereignty or goodness if my baby were in the grave right now instead of sleeping peacefully in his room. Moms who have lost their babies, including Angie Smith, would tell you that they wouldn't choose that loss, but that God was ever faithful during the trial.

    Bonnie, would you mind if I prayed for you? Can I start praying that God would help you see Him in new ways so that you can have peace when life seems unfair?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you reading as I shared mine.

    Grace and Peace!

    Erin Davis
    posted by Erin Davis
    on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm
  22. So sorry there was an error in my post. Regarding the word defiantly...... I meant to say definitely.
    posted by S. W.
    on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm
  23. I am going to be forming a group for parents who will be praying specifically for salvation for their unsaved adult children. Would appreciate scriptures which are appropriate,
    posted by Mary Jane
    on Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm
  24. Mary Jane

    We’re delighted you’re organizing a group to pray for the salvation of their adult children!

    I’ve included a number of Scripture references for you below, but also wanted to make you aware of Stormie OMartian’s book “The Power of Praying For Your Adult Children”. This book is filled with Scriptures that will give guidance to your prayers (

    • Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
    • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
    • No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him… (John 6:4).
    • If I be lifted up…, I will draw all men to Myself (John 12:32).
    • In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents (Luke 15:10).
    • The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name (Isa. 49:1 NLT).
    • He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:14).
    • And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

    Praying salvation will soon come to your families, friend.
    posted by Carrie Gaul
    on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm
  25. I have three adukt children who are strong willed and living lives that are outside His will. I have prayed and prayed for decades and I do not know what to pray to really help them because He gives them free will.......I claim generations of praying family members . I need guidance in scripture because I feel like my praying for them has come down to me begging God to hel[ them.......
    posted by norma jean
    on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 11:57 am
  26. Dear Norma Jean,

    I can only imagine the burden that is on your heart for your children. It can really tug on a momma’s heart when our children are not making wise choices. You can continue to pray that God will soften their hearts. Ask God to not give up but continue to pursue them until they respond to Him. I want to encourage you to pick up Stormie Omartian’s book “The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children”. It will give you specific Scriptures that you can pray into the lives of your three prodigals (

    You might also be encouraged by listening to Nancy’s interview with Fern Nichols about praying for prodigals (; and Jim Cymbala’s testimony of how God used prayer in the life of his prodigal daughter (

    Please don’t give up praying for your children, Norma Jean. Remember the story of the prodigal son? God is waiting for your children to turn back to Him and He will run to them and welcome them with open arms. Nothing and no one is too hard for God to reach (Jer. 32:17). I’m praying for you right now!
    posted by Lorree, with the TW Team
    on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm
  27. Hi Erin
    Thank you so much for such a helpful article. I am not so well-versed in the bible. Could you share what tools I can use to search out appropriate verses to pray for my kids.
    Much thanks!
    posted by JK
    on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 2:17 am
  28. JK

    I'd just start with a good concordance. I like the online one found at Then just think about what quality you most want to see in your kids. You can do a word search on topics like:
    * peace
    * righteous
    * bold

    See where God leads!

    Grace and Peace!

    posted by Erin Davis
    on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm
  29. Thank you so much for sharing your story, praise be to God for your beautiful child. I am praying for my 9-year old grandson who lives with me and I take care of, who is exhibiting signs of behavioral problems, and your words gave me the direction I need.

    Blessings to you and your family.
    posted by Terry
    on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm
  30. I am so thankful I found you website. It has encouraged me to use the word to pray for the people in my life
    posted by Helen
    on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 11:14 am

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