Eight Ways to Pray for Your Children and Grandchildren
Eight Ways to Pray for Your Children and Grandchildren
February 11, 2007
Please turn to Colossians 1:9-12 in your Bibles. While you’re doing that, I want to open with a short story.
A father prayed faithfully and fervently for his children throughout the years when they were growing up. He especially prayed for their spiritual well-being, often using the great prayers of the apostle Paul as a guide. One day the boyfriend of his 18-year-old daughter, a young man who was experiencing some serious difficulties in life, said to her, "Everything just seems to go so well in your life. How come? I just don't understand it." She answered, "It's because of my father's prayers."
Can you imagine the joy in that father's heart when she reported that conversation to him? As a matter of fact, he wept for joy to know not only that God had honored his faithful prayers but also that his daughter had come to recognize that God was blessing her life through those prayers
The Apostle Paul, who was like a father to those who had come to faith in Christ in Colosse, prayed faithfully for his spiritual children. Listen to this magnificent prayer found in our Scripture reading for today.
”So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom.
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy,
always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light.”
I am here today to tell you, faithful intercessory prayer will help your children and grandchildren live lives worthy of the Lord, grow in their knowledge of him, and have power to joyfully endure trials. So, if you decide to pray faithfully for your children and grandchildren, what should you pray? Follow your outline on the back of your bulletin as I go through the things we can pray all found in Colossians 1:9-12
First, Pray That They Will Be Filled with the Knowledge of God's Will (as verse. 9 says: “We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom and understanding.“)
· Pray your children and grandchildren will have a rich, full knowledge of what God wants for them not simply a head knowledge about God or memorized commandments but "knowing" and trusting Jesus as Savior
and accepting Christ as Lord of their lives.
· And pray that knowledge will come through the wisdom and understanding given by the Holy Spirit
Spiritual literally means "from or of the Holy Spirit."
As mentioned before, Wisdom is the ability to see things from God's point of view, while Understanding means insight into spiritual things. We want our children and grandchildren to know God, to be wise, and to understand spiritual things.
Second, Pray That They Will Live Lives Worthy of the Lord (v. 10 tells us: ” Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others.”
· We want our children and grandchildren to lead lives that reflect the huge investment Christ has made in us
He has made us new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” ).
We are his workmanship ( In Ephesians 2:10 we’re told: “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for. “).
Several decades ago a plain bar of iron was worth about $5.00. The same amount of iron shaped into horseshoes was worth $10.50. Formed into needles, that bar of iron would be worth about $5,000. Forged into balance springs for watches, it would be worth $250,000. It's the same iron. The only difference is the refining. The value depends on the refining and the use made of it.
· We want our children and grandchildren to mirror Christ and to lead lives that are truly valuable to the Lord
- We are of great value to God in building His kingdom. We are saved to serve. We want this for our offspring and their future generations. We want them to be disciples who make disciples who make disciples and so on and so on and so on, and they will if we are praying faithfully that our children know God and live worthy of His calling on their lives
Then third, Pray That They Will Live Lives Pleasing to the Lord (v. 10)
· They should live in obedience to His commands. This is the primary way to please the Lord.
It's not brilliance, wealth, prosperity, popularity, or beauty but obedience that pleases the Lord (see 1 John 3:22 where we read: “And we will receive whatever we request because we obey him and do the things that please him.” ).
It's the primary thing that disciples of Christ need to learn (Matt. 28:19-20 affirms this in what we call the GREAT COMMISSION: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." ).
· It takes prayer for this to happen in the lives of our children and grandchildren
- We don't have the power to do this without God's grace and power released through prayer.
The fourth thing to pray for your children and grandchildren is That They Will Bear Much Fruit (v. 10)
God produces fruit on earth through Spirit-filled believers (As Galatians says in 5:22-23: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” ). I recently listened to a tape by Ray Comfort who expanded on this. Fruit is our proof of being a genuine believer. We are to bring forth fruit. What fruit? 1. The fruit of repentance (Matthew 3:8 says “Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God. “ 2. The fruit of good works. As Colossians 1:10 puts it, “Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. “ 3. The fruit of thanksgiving. Hebrews 13:15: says: ” Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
4. The fruit of righteousness – Philippians 1;11 states, “May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” And 5: the fruit of the Spirit : “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, “ Galatians 5:22
We must bear much fruit – good fruit. Matthew 3:10 says: “Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
And, fruitfulness involves multiplication. For example, if you plant one kernel of corn in fertile soil, the healthy cornstalk that comes from that seed will have two ears of corn, each yielding about 500 kernels.
Being fruitful involves good choices and spiritual growth. According to Peter, believers who add spiritual qualities like repentance, righteousness, thankfulness, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to their faith will be effective and fruitful in the kingdom of God (2 Peter 1:5-9 states: “So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive (fruitful) and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin.” ). Fruitfulness! Isn’t that the end product of what we want for our children and grandchildren? Peter ends with this beautiful exhortation “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
So, five, Pray That Your Children and Grandchildren Will Grow in Grace and Knowledge of God (v. 10)
· This is not simply knowledge about God but knowing God.
- It's having a relationship with God, knowing him as a person knows a friend.
It's knowledge that comes through the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17 says: “asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. “ )
· No knowledge makes a greater difference in a person's life than knowledge of God.
The better we know God, the greater will be our love, our peace (Isaiah 26:3 states: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!” ), and our joy (Isaiah 61:10 adds: “I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. ).
The better our children and grandchildren know God, the greater will be their discernment, their purity, and their righteousness (As Philippians puts it in 1:9-10: “I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns.” ).
Also, six, Pray That Your Children and Grandchildren Will Be Strengthened with All Power (again we go back to our Colossians 1 passage, verse 11 says: ”We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, “ )
· Believers need to be empowered in order to live for Christ.
A car without an engine is useless.
Your children and grandchildren need power in order to be effective witnesses for Christ (Acts 1:8 affirms: “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." )
We all need the power of our Redeemer in order to minister effectively. He gave us a spirit of love and of power and a sound mind (well, most of us anyway). He also gave us spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are really spiritual empowerments that enable believers to be effective in God-given ministries.
· The power believers need in order to serve comes from God's glorious might.
We are strengthened with power through his Spirit in our inner being (As Ephesians 3:16 states: “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. “ ). And will they need to be strong? You bet! Now more than ever!
7. Pray That They Will Endure When Tested (again v. 11, goes on to say: “We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy,” )
· Life will not always be easy.
There will be trials and temptations that test the faith of your children and grandchildren. (James 1:2-3 puts it so well: “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever (notice it says when, not if) trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” ).
Your children and grandchildren will be challenged by the spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12 says: “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. “).
Trials are intended to strengthen faith and to result in praise, glory, and honor to God (1 Peter adds in 1:7 : “These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” ).
• God sustains and protects our children and grandchildren through our prayers. God's protection is a hedge around us. Satan accused Job of fearing God only because God made a hedge of protection around him and his household (Job 1:10)Psalm 139:5 says “You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.”
Jesus prayed for the protection of his disciples (in John 17:11 and 15 we read: “
Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind and coming to you. Holy Father, keep them and care for them—all those you have given me—so that they will be united just as we are…….. I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” ).
Lastly, let us Pray That our Children and Grandchildren Will Joyfully Give Thanks to God (vv. 11-12)
· Joyful thanksgiving is the life-attitude of men and women who live worthy, fruitful, empowered lives.
- They are conscious of God and his blessings.
- They are secure in God's love and power.
· "Joy is the echo of God's life within us ..." - Thanksgiving is the feedback we give to God out of glad hearts.
I want to read to you from a book called “How to Pray for Your Children” by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock:
The passage I am reading specifically talks about how to pray for wayward children. Not that you all have wayward children, but we, undoubtedly, know someone who does. Right?
God...grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth... that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2 Tim. 2:25, 26
If you have a wayward child, take hope. Believe you'll see that one restored to wholeness, singing praises to Jesus. Hold tightly to that faith as you pray. Then read Luke 15—the "lost and found" chapter. You, too, will find reason to rejoice.
Luke 15 has encouraged many downhearted parents. For one thing, it shows us that the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to go hunting for the lost one. He finds it, heaves it over His shoulder, and brings it back safely. Calling His friends, He says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep" (Luke 15:6).
One of the most heartwarming examples of our time has been the restoration of evangelist Billy Graham's son, Franklin. Now an ordained minister serving in missions, this young man was once a rebel. One night while praying for her "lost lamb," as Ruth Graham called Franklin, she slipped to her knees to once again commit him to the Lord. Ruth realized she must first "commit what was left of me to God." She did this, then sought God's response.
Ruth says "God impressed upon me, 'You take care of the possible, and trust Me for the impossible,'". On the day of Franklin's ordination, his mother shared her story and added, "Today you are seeing the impossible."
"But that was Billy Graham's son," you might say. "What about ordinary people with wayward children?"
Prodigals Are Coming Home
As we read on in Luke 15, we come to the story of the Prodigal Son. I call him the "give-me son" because he demanded his inheritance before it was due him. He may have added, "Dad, you can't die soon enough for me. Give me what's mine so I can get out of this dull place."
No amount of pleading, bargaining or threatening would have changed that son's mind. Some of us know what that feels like. We've been wounded by our children. But can we, like the father of the prodigal son, forgive? Can we believe that, regardless of the circumstances, someday we will look out our front doors and see our repentant sons and daughters coming home?
Notice how badly that prodigal son "blew it." He went to a distant country and spent his entire inheritance on reckless living. When famine hit the land, he would have gladly eaten the pods offered the hogs, but no one gave him anything. He knew his father's hired servants had it better than he did. So he came to his senses and headed home, willing to be just a servant.
While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. This convinces me that the father believed someday he'd be back. He watched for him expectantly every day. When he spied his wayward son, he was so filled with compassion he ran to meet him, threw his arms around him and kissed him over and over again.
Imagine smothering a stinking, dirty boy straight from the pigpen with love, even before you knew he had a repentant heart. But that's what this loving parent did. The lost son was found and restored. What rejoicing!
But wait a minute! What about all the money he threw away? What about the heartache and embarrassment he'd caused his father? If we faced similar conditions, could we forgive such a debt?
The focus of the parable is not on the son's actions—it's on the compassionate dad. The analogy is clear: If we want to follow our heavenly Father's example of forgiveness, we must forgive and show compassion for our prodigals just as this father did.
If you have a wayward child, you’ve probably learned to lean on God like never before. He has helped you to show love to your son or daughter and keep the lines of communication open. The Lord also has provided a few trustworthy prayer partners who are standing with you. Our confidence in His faithfulness is rock-solid, and we refuse to be moved by visible circumstances.
The Prodigals Are Coming!
Prodigal children are coming home in droves these days. Some with regret and remorse, but not all with repentance. Some are still strung out on drugs. Some are pregnant, but not married. Most are penniless. Others, with broken marriages, are returning and bringing their children with them, because they have no other place to live.
Every family must decide by seeking God's will whether to receive a prodigal back into their home. Some families feel the harmful influence on younger children still at home is too great a risk. Others allow an addicted child to stay in their home in order to nurse him or her back to health—and to pray "at closer range."
No pastor, counselor or psychologist has yet been able to explain why some children reared by loving parents with godly values go astray, while others without this nurturing do not. The fact is, some children from Christian homes abandon their upbringing, disappoint their parents and wander in confusion before finally allowing God to guide their lives.
Lord Jesus, help us to love all our children and grandchildren with Your love and to communicate that love to them. Give us Your wisdom and discernment to help and guide them. Thank You for the assurance in Your Word that nothing is impossible for You (see Matthew 17:20). We anticipate the day when, through prayer and faith, our prodigal, wayward children will turn their hearts toward You. Bring them out of darkness to light, "from the power of Satan to God" (Acts 26:18). Grant them repentance leading them to truth that they may escape the trap of the devil. We praise You in advance for what You are doing to draw them to Jesus Christ. In His name, Amen.
· Isn't this what you want for your children and grandchildren, and other believers in your church?
· It doesn't come by wishing; it comes by prayer—faithful, urgent, fervent prayer like the prayers of Paul for his friends in Christ.
Let me close by reading Colossians 1:9-12 again: ”So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light.”