Anxiety creates more anxiety. It is a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. Sometimes, as we watch our child struggling with overwhelming fears, we notice a heavy burden creeping over us, one holding notes of our own anxious thoughts. It’s easy to feel like a helpless bystander. We can even question whether our attempts to help are doing any good, or worsening the situation. Satan has a way of causing us to doubt our strategies, but the one strategy we know for certain will help is prayer. Our faithful intentional prayers are a powerful way to intercede and pray in line with God’s heart for our son or daughter. Here are three ways to pray for an anxious child …
Placing a name to our fears has a powerful way of disarming them. Often, we are afraid of something because we don’t quite understand it. When fears linger in the dark, where we cannot make out their form, they can seem much bigger and much more dangerous than they are. They feed off the unknown. Yet Jesus promises us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Dear God, help my child to articulate their fears. Help them to bravely walk forward into the arena just enough to see their fear for what it is. Help them to find the words to describe to me what they are afraid of. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.
With a name in place, fear is exposed for exactly what it is. Sometimes this allows us to show our child that their fear, although very real to them, has a crumbly foundation. They can find refuge in knowing the unlikelihood of the scenarios they are imagining. We can point them toward the truths that back their anxiety into a corner. Sometimes, however, the exposure of a fear can open the floor for very difficult conversations. It might lead to a child confiding in us something very hurtful or a wrong that was done to them. Whatever the situation, we know the exposure of fear opens a door to healing and peace. Stripping away darkness always leads to light, just as we read in John 1:5, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Dear God, expose the fears in my child’s heart for what they really are. Now that my child is able to name them, may the fears begin to lose their power as light forces the darkness away. Cast Your light into the shadows, so that fear would have no place in my child’s heart. Prepare me to see and understand their struggle with anxiety, and to be able to comfort and guide my child into light. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.
In God’s Word, we are told “fear not” or “do not be afraid” approximately 365 times. We cannot assume our heavenly Father would emphasize this command and invitation so heavily if He didn’t also make a way for it to be a reality in our lives. God holds the power to diffuse every fear in our child’s heart. He has already defeated death on the cross, and He can bring the very power of the resurrection into our child’s spirit. Let us pray Psalm 34:4 on our child’s behalf, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Dear God, You alone hold the power to rescue my child out of fear and anxiety. Teach my child methods of not only coping, but thriving. Give them sacred glimpses of Your light and life. Help them in the darkest and most consuming moments to think upon all that is true, lovely, pure, honorable, and life-giving. I trust You with my child’s heart and life. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.