We all know that prayer is important, at least in theory. And we all know that family is important. So surely it should come naturally for us to pray for our families? 

But despite this logic, we probably all (at least from time to time) struggle with praying for our families. Here are 8 ways to pray for your family:


1.  Pray for their conversion. 

I pray, “Lord, may they love you and know that they are loved by you.” Ultimately, and above all, we want our children to be saved. We want them to know the love of the Lord Jesus. We want them to put their trust in Jesus, which means committing their lives to him personally. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


2. Pray for their character. 

I pray that they would grow up to be the kind of people that God wants them to be. I don’t want them just to “follow the rules.” I want them to be shaped by Christ and his Spirit through his Word, so that they become more and more all that God designed them to be. “We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling…” (2 Thessalonians 1:11).


3. Pray for their career. 

Some may give their lives to working at home; some may give their lives to working in the church; some may give their lives to working as a banker or a politician. But I believe all Christians have a task given to them by God. And I pray that our children would find that task and complete it so that, like Jesus, they will accomplish the work that God gives them to do (John 17:4). I want all the ideas and work that are prompted by their faith in God to be fulfilled in them. That verse from 2 Thessalonians quoted above continues “…and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11).


4. Pray for their protection. 

I am very aware of my responsibility to protect my family. I am also aware that I am not omnipresent or omnipotent, that this world is a dangerous place, and that much goes on of which I am unaware and unable to predict. Therefore, I pray each day that the Lord would protect each member of my family physically and spiritually. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).


5. Pray for their security in being loved.

It is easy to grow up even in a loving family and feel as if you don’t belong or be tempted towards jealousy to other members of the family. I pray that each member of the family would know that they are loved by me and by God. It is one thing to say that you love someone; it is another thing for that person to believe that you do love them. The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, is full of stories of children acting out of jealousy or a lack of security. I pray they would never feel what Esau and Jacob must have felt (Genesis 25:28), but know that they are loved with a prodigious love by their heavenly Father and their human father (Luke 15:24).


6. Pray for their training. 

Parents are called to train their children. On the one hand, we are not meant to ask so much of them that they become embittered or discouraged. We are not meant to neglect them so they become disappointed or directionless. We are not meant to sneer or use words to tear them down. On the other hand, we are meant to train them in the teaching of Jesus and the Bible. Pray for them to learn about God – to learn about the Bible, about Jesus, about the gospel – and for those times of devotions to be meaningful. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).


7. Pray for their obedience. 

The blessing that God promises towards children who obey and respect their parents is very clearly articulated in the Bible. What it means for children to obey differs depending on their age and the personalities of the child and the parent. A wise parent does not ask for the same sort of obedience of a 15-year-old as is asked of a 5-year-old. But all children are blessed by God if they obey—and, in an ongoing way even when they are grown up, respect—their parents. “‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ (this is the first commandment with a promise) ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land’” (Ephesians 6:1-3).


8. Pray for their spouses and communities. 

Some children may grow up to be single. Singleness is a gift from God. Other children may grow up to be married. Either way, I pray that God would provide for them what they need in terms of their future family life and community. If they get married, I want them to marry someone who loves Jesus. Not just someone who is churchgoer, but someone with a passion for God and for Christ. And I want them to marry someone who is kind and whom they can respect. So much depends upon the future spouse. Humanly speaking, whom you marry is the second most important decision you will make in your entire life (after the decision to follow Christ). Therefore, a wise parent prays for the future spouses and communities of their children.


Josh Moody (Cambridge, Ph.D.) is the Senior Pastor of College Church in Wheaton and the President of God Centered Life Ministries. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently BoastingHow the Bible Can Change Your Life, and John For You. He is married with four children.