Praying for Your Children: Raising a Child for God

Part 3 of 6

Study the following principles and mark the ones where you are failing. Then use these principles as a springboard for prayer. Ask the Lord to help you raise each of your children for Him. Ask Him to help you eliminate each negative pattern and practice the positive patterns more consistently.

Open your Bible to each verse and pray out loud the associated Scripture for each child. A few hours on your knees now may save days or even years of grief in the future.

  1. Examine your expectations for your child. Are they realistic? Evaluate them in the light of God’s Word. (See I Corinthians 13:11, Matthew 18:10, and Genesis 33:12–14.)
  2. Love your child unconditionally. (See Deuteronomy 7:7 and I John 4:10, 19.)
  3. Look for opportunities to commend your child. Express appreciation for him frequently. (See Philippians 1:3, I Thessalonians 1:2, and II Thessalonians 1:3.)
  4. Seldom criticize without first expressing appreciation for your child’s good points. (See I Corinthians 1:3–13.)
  5. Give your child the freedom to make decisions where serious issues are not at stake. Your goal should be to bring him to maturity in Christ and not to dependence on you. (See Ephesians 4:13–16, 6:4, Proverbs 22:6, and Colossians 1:27–28.)
  6. Do not compare your child with others. (See Galatians 6:4, II Corinthians 10:12–13, and I Corinthians 12:4–11.)
  7. Never mock or make fun of your child. Do not demean or belittle your child, and beware of calling him dumb, clumsy, or stupid. (See Proverbs 12:18, 16:24, Matthew 7:12, Ephesians 4:29–30, and Colossians 4:6.)
  8. Do not scold your child in front of others. (See Matthew 18:15 and I Corinthians 16:14.)
  9. Never make threats or promises that you do not intend to keep. (See Matthew 5:37, James 5:12, and Colossians 3:9.)
  10. Don’t be afraid to say “no,” and when you say it, mean it. (See Proverbs 22:15, 29:15, I Samuel 3:13, and Genesis 18:17–24.)
  11. When your child has problems or is a problem, do not overreact or lose control of yourself. Do not yell, shout, or scream at him. (See Ephesians 4:26–27, I Corinthians 16:14, II Timothy 2:24–25, and I Timothy 5:1–2.)
  12. Communicate optimism and expectancy. Do not communicate by word or action that you have given up on your child and are resigned to his being a failure. (See Philemon 21, II Corinthians 9:1–2, and I Corinthians 13:7.)
  13. Make sure your child knows exactly what is expected of him. Most of the book of Proverbs is specific counsel from a father to his son.
  14. Ask your child’s advice; include him in some of the family planning. (See Romans 1:11–12; II Timothy 4:11, I Timothy 4:12, and John 6:5.)
  15. When you have made a mistake with your child, admit it and ask him for forgiveness. (See Matthew 5:23–24, and James 5:16.)
  16. Welcome contributions from your child. (See Psalm 128, James 1:19, 3:13–18, Titus 1:6–8, and Proverbs 15:22.) Have family conferences where you discuss the following items:
    • Family goals
    • Family projects
    • Vacations
    • Devotions
    • Chores
    • Discipline
    • Complaints
    • Suggestions
    • Problems
  17. Assess your child’s areas of strength and then encourage him to develop them. Begin with one area and encourage him to really develop in it. (See II Timothy 1:6, 4:5, and I Peter 4:10.)
  18. Give your child plenty of tender, loving care. Be free in your expression of love by word and deed. (See I Corinthians 13:1–8, 16:14, John 13:34, and I Thessalonians 2:7–8.)
  19. Practice selective reinforcement. When your child does something well, commend him. Especially let him know when his attitude and effort are what they should be. (See I Thessalonians 1:3–10, Philippians 1:3–5, Colossians 1: 3–4, and Ephesians 1:15–16.)
  20. Be more concerned about Christian attitudes and character than you are about performance, athletic skills, clothing, external beauty, or intelligence. (See I Samuel 16:7, Galatians 5:22–23, I Peter 3:4–5, Proverbs 4:23, and Matthew 23:25–28.)
  21. Have a lot of fun with your child. Plan to have many fun times and many special events with your child. Make a list of fun things your family can do. (See Psalm 128, Proverbs 5:15–18, 15:13, 17:22, Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21, Ecclesiastes 3:4, and Luke 15:22–24.)
  22. Help your child to learn responsibility by administering discipline fairly, consistently, lovingly, and promptly. (See I Samuel 3:13, Proverbs 13:24, 19:18, and 22:15.)
  23. Look on your child as a “human becoming,” as well as a human being. Look on the task of raising children as a process that takes 18–19 years to complete. (See Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6, Galatians 6:9, I Corinthians 15:58, and Isaiah 28:9–10.)
  24. Live your convictions consistently. Your child will learn more by observing your examples than he will by listening to your words. (See Deuteronomy 6:4–9, I Thessalonians 2:10–12, Philippians 4:9, and II Timothy 1:5–7.)
  25. Recognize that you are responsible to prepare your child for life in this world and in the world to come. (See Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:4–9, Psalm 78:5–7, and II Timothy 3:15–17.)
  26. Be very sensitive to the needs, feelings, fears, and opinions of your child. (See Matthew 18:10 and Colossians 3:21.)
  27. Treat your child in a way that he knows he is important to you and accepted by you. (See Matthew 18:5–6.)
  28. Avoid the use of words expressing anger or exasperation. (See Proverbs 15:1 and Ephesians 4:31–32.)
  29. Maintain the practice of daily Bible reading, discussions, and prayer. (See Deuteronomy 6:4–9, II Timothy 3:15, Ephesians 6:4, Psalm 1:1–3, 18:5–8, and 119:9–11.)
  30. Become thoroughly involved as a family in a Biblical church. (See Hebrews 10:24–25 and Ephesians 4:11–16.)
  31. Make your home a center of Christian hospitality, where your child will be brought into frequent contact with many Christians. (See Romans 12:12, Hebrews 13:1–2, and II Kings 4:8–37.)
  32. Make it easy for your child to approach you with problems, difficulties, and concerns. Learn to be a good listener when he needs you. Give your child your undivided attention. Avoid being a mind reader, an interrupter, or a critic. Show an interest in whatever interests your child. Make yourself available when your child needs you—even when you are busy. (See James 1:19–20, 3:16–18, I John 3:16–18, I Corinthians 9:19–23, and Philippians 2:3–4.)
  33. Seek to bring your child to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Become all things to your child that you might win your child to Christ. God, of course, must do the saving, bring conviction, and give repentance and faith. You, however, may provide the environment in which God saves—by your prayers, godly speech and examples, family devotions, and involvement in a sound Biblical church. (See II Timothy 1:5–7 and 3:14–17.)

Adapted from material by Jim Logan, except where noted otherwise.

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