Praying Over Your Children With Power
CHILDREN are a blessing from the Lord. They may not always seem like it, but they are truly are. In fact, the Bible says they are a heritage, an inheritance, a valuable legacy entrusted to us by God Himself. "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth" (Psalm 127:3-4). As parents, our job is to receive this great heritage and give direction and momentum to our children. We are to send them out like arrows into the world in such a way that they hit the mark of God's high calling for them.
This is a tremendous responsibility, and daunting. But God has given us a tremendous authority as well. The magnitude of this is seen in the Fifth Commandment, as Paul explains: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'" (Ephesians 6:1-3). God has great respect for authority, for it is established by Him. That is why honoring those in authority brings reward (and dishonoring them cuts off the flow of God's blessings). The exercise of authority is how God works in the world, and He will not violate it.
As parents, we have a spiritual, God-given authority on behalf of our children that is very powerful indeed. One of the primary ways we exercise this authority is by prayer. God has given us many wonderful promises which express His will and desire for the total well-being of our children. We have the privilege of claiming these promises and praying them over our children, agreeing with what God has said about them. We also have great authority to expect God to answer these prayers in a mighty way. The Bible says, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15). God's will is revealed in His Word. Here are some of the ways we can pray over our children with the authority of heaven, in agreement with God's Word.
We have authority to pray over our children for salvation.
When the Philippian jailer asked, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:31). You see, the Lord was not just interested in saving the Philippian jailer, He also desired to save his family and household.
It is a wonderful thing for children when their parents know the Lord, because it means that the Lord has brought the Gospel within their reach. Some churches recognize this reality when they baptize infants; others recognize it by a special service dedicating their children to the Lord. Either way, of course, each child will have to make the decision to own the faith for himself and enter into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. As parents, we cannot make them come to Christ, but we can certainly pray in agreement with God's desire to bring them into the fold — and expect to see it happen.
We have the authority to pray over our children for the empowering gift of the Holy Spirit.
Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus promised the disciples, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:38-39).
We have authority to pray over our children for blessing.
When our children were little, my wife and I began to give them a blessing every night before they went to bed. I remember tucking them in and placing my hand on their heads, their hair still damp from bathtime. I would pray the "blessing of Aaron" over them. This is a prayer found in Numbers 6:22-27, where the Lord told Aaron and his sons, "This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: 'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.'" Then the Lord declared this promise, "So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them."
This is a priestly blessing, for Aaron and his sons were the first priests in Israel. Although the Old Testament priesthood is no longer with us, today we are part of a better covenant in which we are called "a royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). Therefore, we have even greater authority to speak blessing over our children and expect the Lord to bless them greatly.
We have authority to pray over our children for instruction by the Lord.
The prophet Isaiah declared, "All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children" (Isaiah 54:13). Of course, we have our part to play in this, for God's plan is to instruct the children through the parents. God said of Abraham, "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him" (Genesis 18:19 NIV). God promised to make of Abraham a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him (v. 18). But in order to accomplish this, God required Abraham to instruct his children to follow the way of the Lord.
The word of the apostle Paul to fathers is to bring up our children "in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). The book of Proverbs teaches us, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). The promise that our children will be taught by the Lord means that, as we raise them up in godliness, they will walk in His ways. If we will teach our children to honor the Lord and obey Him, it will not only mean great blessing for them, but for us as well — we shall leave a legacy that will bless the whole world.
We have authority to pray over our children for prosperity.
God desires the success and well-being of all His people. He delights in our prosperity. "Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant" (Psalm 35:27). As Christian parents, we have the authority to pray and agree with God for the prosperity of our children. Listen to these promises:
- Our children will inherit the earth. "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth" (Psalm 25:12-13).
- Our children will never have to beg. "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).
- Our children will be mighty on earth. "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever" (Psalm 112:1-3).
- Our children will experience increase more and more. "May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, Who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 115:14-15).
- Our children will have an inheritance. "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous" (Proverbs 13:22). Certainly God desires for us to have a spiritual inheritance for our children, but He also desires for us to have a material inheritance as well. We just read in Psalm 112 that wealth and riches will be in the house of the righteous, and in Proverbs we see that the righteous will receive the wealth of the sinner — we know this is material wealth, not spiritual, for the sinner is spiritually impoverished.
- Our children will have great peace. "All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children" (Isaiah 54:13).The word for "peace" here is the Hebrew word shalom. It refers to wholeness and prosperity, with nothing missing and nothing broken. It is the well-being that comes from the blessing and favor of the Lord.
These are all promises of the Lord, but they do not happen automatically. They have to be received. They are for us and our children, but we have to claim them. We do this by faith, believing and obeying what God has said in His Word.
As a child of God, you have great authority over the inheritance He has given you. Therefore, set His promises before your eyes and see how great is His heart toward your children, and your children's children. Boldly proclaim the revealed will of God over them. Prophesy the Word of God over their lives. Lift them up before the Lord with confidence, for you are praying with the authority of heaven.
I thank You for all the wonderful promises and provisions you have made for my children. I thank You that salvation belongs to them, and I thank You for the empowering presence of Your Holy Spirit in their lives.
Lord, I speak words of blessing over my children, and I trust You to bless them in every way. I thank You that they will be taught by the Lord, and great shall be their peace — nothing will be missing, nothing will be broken. Bless me, O Lord, as I direct my children and my household after me to keep the way of the Lord. I thank You that, when they are old, they will not depart from it.
Lord, I thank You that Your heart toward my children is very great, and that You watch over their well-being. I thank You that You delight to prosper them, that they will be mighty in the land, and that they will inherit the earth. I thank you that they will experience the increase of Your blessing more and more in their lives, and that I will leave a wonderful inheritance for them and their children.
Father, I pray these things according to Your will and Your Word, and in agreement with Your heart and desire. I receive Your promises and I bless Your name.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
© 2002 Jeff Doles.
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“JEFF DOLES is a Christian author, blogger and Bible teacher. His books include The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth: Keys to the Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Matthew and Praying With Fire: Change Your World with the Powerful Prayers of the Apostles. He and his wife, Suzanne, are the founders of Walking Barefoot Ministries. Visit their website at www.walkingbarefoot.com.”