How can we pray for our families and know beyond doubt that we’re praying God’s will? The answer is simple: pray Scripture.
When we pray for our families, it can be difficult to discern God’s will because our own desires for those we love are so strong. We’re convinced we know what’s best. Jesus gave us the best example of effective prayer when He taught His disciples to pray (Matthew 6:5-15; Luke 11:1-13). One reason “The Lord’s Prayer” is effective is because it is praying for God’s will to be done. It’s a submission to His will above our own desires.
I pray many passages of Scripture for my family, but in recent years, these 3 have been favorites.
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
My prayer might go something like this:
“Father, may each of us grow in love – love for You and love for others. May we know You more and become more discerning, able to walk in wisdom and to know what is good and right and true. Help us to live according to Your Word, as Your ambassadors, pursuing holiness, and bearing the fruit of Your Spirit. This is not possible apart from Jesus Christ. Thank You for His redeeming power! Now may our lives bring glory and praise to You, drawing others to a deeper love and knowledge of Christ.”
“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length. and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Sometimes I will personalize a passage for a specific individual – even myself. In that case, here’s what I might say:
“Lord, You created the universe and hold the world in the palm of Your hands. You “own the cattle on a thousand hills“. Your riches far exceed anything I could ever imagine! By Your glorious riches, would You strengthen me by Your Spirit? Without the empowering of Your Spirit, I flounder in my own strength and grow weary.
I desire to abide in Christ and for Christ to be at home in me. May I be rooted and grounded in Your love. May it be the very foundation upon which my life is built. Your love is beyond my human understanding. May I have the strength to comprehend the incredible vastness, the breadth and length, the height and depth of Your love.
Knowing Your love eliminates fear. When I am secure in my relationship with You, I’m able to love others more freely. I want to grow in love, not just for my own benefit, but also for the encouragement and edification of the Body of Christ as a whole.
Fill me by Your Spirit to overflowing so that “out of the abundance of my heart” my mouth speaks Truth and praises You. Be glorified in me.”
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him; bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
This particular passage is one I love to pray for absolutely anyone I have the privilege of praying for. This is how I’ve personalized it for my husband:
“Thank You, God, for my husband. I pray that he would be full of the knowledge of Your will. May he grow in wisdom and understanding so that he walks in a manner that is worthy of You. May he be pleasing to You. Your Word tells us that it’s impossible to please You without faith, so may his faith continually increase and be strengthened by Your Spirit.
Teach my husband to live by Your Spirit, and as he does, may the fruit of Your Spirit grow; may the seeds he has planted sprout; may he be like the tree in Psalm 1, planted by streams of water, providing shelter and shade and refreshment to those around him no matter what season he may be in. May his roots go deeper as he grows in his knowledge of You.
Strengthen him by Your power. May he live, not by his own might, nor by his own power, but by Your Spirit. Give him endurance in the face of suffering and struggles. Enable him to choose joy and to trust in Your perfect timing. May he cultivate a heart of contentment and thankfulness to You.
You have qualified us – me and my husband and all our brothers and sisters in Christ – to share in Your inheritance! You have delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of Your beloved Son! Thank You for Your redemption. Thank You for forgiving our sins. Help us to live as though we know the Gospel is true. To God be the glory!
Praying For Needs
Maybe you’re reading these prayers and you’re thinking, “That’s not very specific!” Or “What about all the other needs? What about the job my husband needs or the struggles my daughter is having in school? What about the sibling rivalry that’s getting out of hand? What about my son’s chronic illness?”
I get it. Those are real needs and you should absolutely pray about them. Bring them to the foot of the cross and entrust them to a God Who cares (1 Peter 5:7) and has the power to do the impossible (Luke 1:37).
But praying Scripture is powerful. Not only are you praying God’s Word and in accordance with His will (which is the most effective prayer you can pray!), your own heart is being shaped and changed and molded by that prayer.
As I’ve prayed these prayers for my family, they have begun to shape my heart’s desires. The answers I’m looking for have changed. These particular passages are those I’ll be praying until I’m with Jesus face-to-face (Isaiah 40:8, Matthew 24:35). But I will never tire of praying them.
And I know beyond a shadow of doubt that He is answering them. Because they are His will (Isaiah 55:11).
More Scriptures to Pray
What about you? Do you pray through passages of Scripture for your loved ones? Which ones? Please share in the comments. Maybe we’ll all discover a new treasure to add to our “Scripture prayer collection”.