While all of us have had different thoughts, feelings, responses, and reactions to events this year, there is something universal among parents and caregivers this fall: the kids we love are heading into an uncertain school year. There is also a shared desire in our hearts to see our children thrive spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Jesus guaranteed us in John 16:33 we would face hard times. “In the world you have tribulation,” He told His followers. When we break this word “tribulation” down to its Greek roots, it means pressure, distress, affliction, burden, and trouble. Along with our own trials, we have all seen the children we care about struggle this past year with unpredictable circumstances, and significant shifts in the ever-changing world they’re trying to navigate.
Thankfully, Jesus did not stop at tribulations. He went on, “but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Subdue, conquer, and get the victory — these are all held within that promise of overcoming, and this is a truth we can pray over our children as they face uncertainty. Because Jesus was victorious over death on the cross, He has claimed victory in our lives. With that in mind, here are three powerful ways we can pray over our children as they head into this uncertain school year.
In the conversation with His followers in John 16, before touching on tribulation and overcoming, Jesus focused on peace. He was preparing His disciples for His death, resurrection, and departure back to heaven, and was painting a very uncertain picture in their minds. Things were going to be very different. We can only imagine the anxiety rising in their spirits, and the questions crowding their thoughts. Their security — the very real presence of Jesus at their side — would be changing. In light of the uncertainty, Jesus assured them with this: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.”
We can pray this supernatural, unworldly, incomprehensible peace over our children as they head into change and uncertainty. They won’t find this peace in anything this world offers, as we see in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
Dear God, help my child experience Your unique and unmatched peace in a new way this year. Through every change and trial, may they lean into You and seek to better understand and claim Your promises. When anxiety rises in their heart, help them to pause, take a breath, and recall Your Word in order to come back to a calm place, where they can rightly discern the situation and what You say about it. In Jesus’ name, amen.
For some of us, there is a very real, heightened fear regarding our children’s safety this year. As we encounter that new level of fear, we can pray intentionally and powerfully for protection over our children’s hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life.” The word used for “defense” offers the imagery of a fort or fortress. We can pray for God to set up a wall of protection over our homes, as well as the health of our children. Psalm 54:4 shows us how we can pray for the same protection over their souls, “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul.”
Dear God, in Psalm 119:50 we see the power of Your Word reviving and sustaining our lives. As I face my own personal fears this year over my child’s safety, help me to lay every anxious thought and feeling into Your caring hands. Thank you for being patient with me and growing my trust in You. Thank You for recognizing the very real dangers we face in this world, and for Your faithfulness in protecting and sustaining us. Each day, I pray You will set up a fortress around my child and our home. Let nothing evil or harmful enter our bodies, minds, or souls. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Fear, anxiety, and even disappointment have a way of narrowing our focus on what is directly in front of us. In Romans 5, Paul gives us a beautiful framework for turning our trials into beacons that point us to the unshakeable hope of Christ. “We also exult in our tribulations,” he begins, “knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” As our children encounter new hardships and challenges this year, may their hearts and minds be led by an eternal perspective and a hope that does not disappoint.
Dear God, You have a bigger picture of what’s going on in our world. You see details we cannot comprehend. Help my child and me to earnestly seek the answers to our questions in Your Word, and to rest securely in Your promises. If I do not have the answers to my child’s questions, help me to seek those answers in the Bible alongside them. When my child faces something hard, may they press into that difficulty and consider what You want to teach them through it. Give us an eternal perspective to view our struggles through the lens of the Gospel, to see how You have equipped us for this life, and how You want to use us to bless and encourage others. In Jesus’ name, amen.