Spending time in intimate conversation with our Heavenly Father on behalf of our kids can take away the feeling of powerlessness that we sometimes battle. These times spent with God can renew our sense of hope, open our eyes to what God is doing now in our kids’ lives, and impact our interactions with our children.
Parenting adult children through prayer can be an answer to our own prayers—especially if those children have drifted away from God. Spending time in intimate conversation with our Heavenly Father on behalf of our kids can take away the feeling of powerlessness that we sometimes battle. These times spent with God can renew our sense of hope, open our eyes to what God is doing now in our kids’ lives, and impact our interactions with our children.
We know that parenting adult children can be as difficult in some ways as raising them. They have left the nest and built family units of their own, and we no longer have the control we might have once had.
Instead we must rely on influence. In some areas we may have great influence. In other areas our kids may see us as irrelevant. But God is never irrelevant, no matter where our children stand with their beliefs. Because God is faithful, we can call on His influence as we impact our adult children through our prayers.
We may find ourselves without permission to speak truth into our kids’ lives. I don’t know of many adults who appreciate unsolicited advice, and our adult children can be sensitive to unasked for suggestions. We can rest assured that God does have the ability to impact our children. And He’s already at work there, even if we can’t always see Him.
By spending concentrated, diligent time in prayer for our families, God will work powerfully in our lives as well as in the lives of our kids.
All too frequently we look at prayer as the place of last resort. But in truth, coming to God through intimate conversation is our first line of defense—for us and for those we love. The knowledge of the power of prayer is something I’ve learned through experience. Because of those experiences, I’ve learned to ban phrases like, “Is there anything I can do except just pray?” In God’s world there is never anything secondary or weak when it comes to praying for one another.
Now that our kids are grown, the time for consistently modeling our own prayer life is gone. Occasionally we have opportunities to pray with them, usually at family gatherings where we share a meal. We should never discount these short times of shared prayer, but we can’t rely on them as our only time of letting our children know what—and how often—we’re praying for them.
Two Sides of the Prayer Coin
I’ve found there are two important aspects of parenting our adult children through prayer. The first is obvious. We pray for them and literally carry them to God, interceding with Him to impact their lives. The second part is not quite so obvious. This involves letting our kids know we’re praying for them. There are specific, spiritually-powerful, actions we can take as we practice praying for our kids.
Ways to Pray for Our Adult Children
When I was a young parent I would often pray for my children in general terms, asking God to bless them and keep them safe. As I’ve grown into a closer relationship with God, I’ve discovered how intimately involved in every detail of our lives He is. And this involvement includes the lives of our kids. God cares about the people and things we care about.
So here are some specific ways to pray for your adult children, especially if they’ve drifted away from God.
- Ask God to show up in their lives in ways they can’t deny. Ask Him for big miracles and little miracles, but most of all ask Him to open your kids’ eyes to what He’s doing.
- Ask God to give them peace that isn’t natural. In our world today it seems like everything is stressful—from the price of groceries to going out in public. We are surrounded by news reports that feed our fears. Feeling a sense of peace in the midst of this is supernatural.
- Ask God to act specifically. If your child has a need, take that need to God on their behalf. Don’t prejudge if the request is too small or too large. Give it to God and watch what He can do.
- Ask God to bless them in an exact way. Are they struggling with finances? Ask God to act. Are they trying for a work promotion, ask God to work that out.
- Use Scripture to pray for them. God’s Word is powerful. When we pray Bible verses for our children we can be assured that God is listening.
- Ask God to show them something. Perhaps they didn’t get a work promotion they wanted, ask God to show them why that was a good thing instead of a bad one.
- Ask God to draw them to Him. We can ask God to make our children so uncomfortable without Him that they’ll come running back.
Ways to Let Our Adult Children Know We’re Praying for Them
Just as important as praying for our kids, is letting them know we’re praying.
In the past, I’ve been guilty of just telling my children, at the end of a conversation, that I was praying for them. I think most kids already know their parents pray for them. But if a child has drifted from God, that statement may be overlooked or even misunderstood. Because of that, it’s important to let them know what exactly we’re praying for them.
- Tell them you’re praying for an exact answer to something they’ve shared. Perhaps they’re worried about car repairs. Share that you’ll be asking God to provide all they need. By being specific, we’ve primed them to notice a specific answer.
- Share with them that every morning you pray for their safety. When we let them know when and what we’re praying it makes our prayers more real to them. This is also a great way to model the fact that you spend time with God every morning.
- Point out the answers to the things you’ve asked God for on their behalf. When your child shares that they received something you’ve prayed for, point it out. It’s not important to make a big deal about the answers, just mentioning how we’ve seen God work is enough. The impact comes when we do this consistently. As our adult children see God answering our requests regularly it can be life-changing. In addition, by letting them know we were praying for that exact answer, we show them how God answers prayers.
- Share specific verses from the Bible that you’ve been praying. If you’ve been praying for God to make your child’s next steps obvious and the Bible verse you’ve been praying is, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:6, share that with them.
- Ask your adult children how you can pray for them. As they see the power that comes from spending time with God in prayer, they will often begin to open the spiritual door wider. When that happens, we can ask for ways they’d like us to pray for them.
Interceding with God through prayer on behalf of our children doesn’t end when they become adults. In some ways, my prayers for my adult children are more intense and focused than when they were young.
We never give up the job of parenting, even when our children are adults. The parenting chores may look different, but the basics still apply. Now is not the time to give in to the lie that we’re no longer relevant or have a meaningful impact in the lives of our kids. It’s time to redouble our efforts and sink to our knees—exercising the most powerful way to parent our adult children, by praying for them regularly.
©2023 by Edie Melson. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.