Arlean and I do not have children by birth but we have several by love and they occupy our thoughts and prayers constantly.
I have to be honest: when our children leave the nest, fear and anxiety can set in for us as parents. Personally, I find that my fear is rooted in a lack of faith, and I know from Romans 10:17 that “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (NKJV). My fears dissipate when I spend time in the Word, and when I pray actual Bible verses for my adult children. I love the idea of praying Scripture for our children (or anyone, for that matter) because we know without a doubt that we are aligning our prayers with the will of God for them. Here are the six passages I come back to again and again as I pray for my adult children.
1. Ephesians 1:17-19
As a dad I want to pray that the Lord would give my children the Spirit of wisdom and revelation of Him, that the eyes of their hearts would be opened so that they will know and cherish the hope to which he has called them; the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people); and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in their lives, in accordance with the working of his mighty strength.
2. Colossians 1:9-12
I like this model of prayer from Paul! He prays specifically that those in the church at Colossae would be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Why does he pray this? So that they will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, please him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in their knowledge of him. He also prays that they would be strengthened with all power, for endurance, patience (with joy!). Finally, he prays that they would give thanks to the Lord, who was the one who qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints.
3. Philippians 4:19
Our kids will be needy, and as empty-nesters, we can’t be there to meet their needs the way we could when they were younger. I want my kids to remember that my God will supply every need of theirs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
4. Micah 6:8
We want our children – no matter what their age – to remember that the Lord has told us what is good and what He requires of us: to be just, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.
5. Proverbs 4:23
This world is a challenging place to be, and I want my kids to guard their hearts diligently. Everything we do and say (Matt. 12:24) flows out of our hearts.
6. Hebrews 10:24
I want my kids to be leaders, pointing others to faith. So I pray that (through their words and their example) they would encourage others to love and good deeds.
I renewed my commitment to pray faithfully for my kids this year. What sparked that was when a friend of mine told me that since his kids had left home, her weapon of choice in their lives had become prayer. What he meant was that in the absence of his physical presence with his children (and thus the reduced ability to counsel and guide them), he had fully committed himself to support them through the power of prayer (Ephesians 6:18). I’ve embraced that and taken it to heart, finding great encouragement from the book, The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, by Stormie Omartian. Omartian packed this little book full of Scripture and prayers to pray right from the Word. It’s a great resource.