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20 Ways to Pray for Your Adult Children

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This series on 20 Ways to Pray has 4 lists for family: husband, wife, children, and adult children. Honestly, until I became an empty-nester, I never thought about how much my grown children would still need my prayers. But they do and their needs, once out on their own, are far different! So the 20 Ways to Pray for Your Adult Children list was born!

This list – just like the others – is not exhaustive and is not meant to be. Instead, it is to give you a starting point of Biblically-based needs your adult children have. Each item on the list – just like all the other lists – is grounded in one or more verses from Scripture. These verses make great prayers as you personalize them!

20 Ways to Pray for Your Adult Children

Even if your children don’t see you much -or even want to, {{hugs}} – they still need your prayers. And they always will. Don’t let your children face the world and life without your prayers covering them!

Prayer: A Privilege & Responsibility

Praying for your children is a life-long privilege and holy responsibility.

I did not grow up in a praying home. My parents never knelt by my bedside and guided me to the throne of grace. And as I grew into a young woman, naïve in so many ways and desperately needing guidance, I felt the lack of prayers offered on my behalf deeply. I do not fault my parents for this – you cannot teach what you do not know.

When our first son was born and I was now the parent, I determined to give my child what I did not have. Although far from perfect, I prayed for them regularly from birth through high school and then college graduation. Now, I’m grateful for the privilege of praying for them as they raise their own families.

As your children grow – just as with mine – the focus of your prayers will change. You will never know – and neither will I – the impact of your prayers on your children. “For this child, I prayed” (1 Samuel 1:27).

How to Pray for Your Adult Children

pray for your adult children

When you become a parent of adult children, so much changes. You may feel adrift as a parent. Your children make choices daily that will have ongoing repercussions for years. And they might not care about your opinion or advice – or even keep you informed! Don’t take that as your parenting ‘pink slip.’ Once a mom, always a mom (or dad!).

When your children are small and at home with you (at least most of the time), it is easier to know how to pray. You see them and their needs daily. You know their struggles, their pain, their dreams, their faith.

When they move out on their own, you lose that intimate contact with their lives and may be confused about how to pray. Thankfully, the Bible gives us plenty of ‘prayer ammunition!’

Anything the Bible teaches about is worthwhile to pray about – and that goes for yourself as much as your adult children! If you need more ideas beyond what is below, start praying through the book of Proverbs. What young adult doesn’t need wisdom?? Or older adults for that matter!

A note about pronouns: I have used male pronouns with odd numbers, and female pronouns with even. Of course, all points apply to both genders.

20 Ways to Pray for Your Adult Children, part 1

  1. If your adult child has never committed his life to the Lord, start with praying for his salvation (Acts 4:12). Nothing else really matters, for this is the whole of eternity. However, if he has made that commitment, pray that he will value time in God’s Word and prayer. Pray that this discipline will be one that is important to him and that through it he will grow closer to the Lord and become a strong believer who can then pour his life into others. 1 Peter 2:2
  2. Pray that she will be faithful in worshiping the Lord corporately with other believers. Pray that she will find a God-fearing, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving church to attend and serve and worship in. Pray that she will prioritize going to worship services and serving in and through the church over more self-centered pursuits. Hebrews 10:24-25
  3. Pray that God’s spirit will empower him to live a godly life. Pray that he will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit not only in ‘spiritual’ matters, but throughout all of life – work, family, friendships, and schooling. Joel 2:28
  4. Pray that she will have deep friendships with godly women of all ages. Women her own age will be able to understand where she is in her life and the struggles and challenges she is currently facing, while older women will be able to share the wisdom gained through living a long time with Jesus. Pray that she will be open to the counsel and wisdom of older women. Titus 2:3-4;
  5. Pray for sexual purity, whether he is married or single. He will always need to guard his life and his heart in this area. Pray that he will understand the sanctity of sexual relations and the importance of reserving this holy act for the blessedness of marriage. Proverbs 6:20-28
  6. Pray for her career and job situation. I realize that not all adult children will be employed, some may be in school full-time or enjoying a season of being a stay-at-home parent. Nonetheless, at some point, most adults work in a career, so pray for the current situation, if this applies, or the future, if necessary. Pray that she will have good relationships with co-workers and supervisors. Pray that she will enjoy her work and find fulfillment and satisfaction in her career. Pray for growth in her career, even if that means changing jobs or taking scary chances. Colossians 3:23
  7. Pray for his marriage. Pray that he will be a godly husband, regardless of the example that was set for him while he was growing up. So, whether that example was good or bad, he can choose to love unconditionally, lead humbly, and set a good example of walking with the Lord. Colossians 3:18-19
  8. Pray for her finances. Pray that she will be faithful in supporting the work of the Lord through giving the first-fruits of her income to God’s kingdom. Pray that, as she is faithful in giving the tithe, the Lord will enable her to live on what remains, not falling into the trap of debt. If she is already in significant debt, pray the Lord will convict her of her covetousness and idolatry in always needing the latest and greatest which led to the debt problems in the first place. Pray she will be convicted of the need to make changes so that her life is a testimony to the grace of God that enables us all to live on what He provides as we trust in Him. Ecclesiastes 5:10; Malachi 3:8-10; 1 Timothy 6:10;
  9. Pray for godly relationships. Pray that the Lord will lead him to find the right friends who will be able to encourage him in godliness, not in wickedness. Pray he will nurture and support relationships with extended family members that can help him to be a stronger Christian. Pray that these relationships will never take the place of the more important relationships he has with his family and his God. Proverbs 13:20
  10. Pray for her calling. Apart from her career, a calling – or purpose – is what God wants to accomplish through her life. It may be in line with her career, or it may be separate – serving the Lord outside of her job setting. Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to her what her specific gifts are that she should be developing and how she should develop them (school? volunteer work? more challenges at work?) Romans 11:29; Ephesians 4:1-7; 2 Thessalonians 1:11

20 Ways to Pray for Your Adult Children, part 2

pray for your adult children
  1. Pray for strength in tough times. He will have tough times in his life – everyone does. Pray that he will have the strength of faith and strength of character to persevere through these times of trial. Pray that he will be surrounded by godly friends and counselors who can help him navigate these tough times in wisdom and with success. You may be one of those godly counselors. Pray for the opportunity to minister to your own adult child when he needs it. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  2. Pray for a sound mind, a spirit of praise, and emotional stability. Pray for protection from evil thoughts and influences that would undermine her emotional stability. Pray that she will understand that a spirit of praise and worship can short-circuit the instability that can come from enduring challenging times, attacks from sinful people or the enemy, or simply hormonal or other physical reasons. 2 Corinthians 10:5; 2 Timothy 1:7
  3. Pray for his physical health. Even if your child is currently experiencing a season of extended good health, pray that he will continue to enjoy health. Pray that he will not take his health for granted, but will use his abilities to maintain good health – whether that means having regular check-ups, maintaining health insurance, wearing his seatbelt, or brushing and flossing regularly! Proverbs 4:17-22; 3 John 1:2
  4. Pray for her children. Pray that she will be the mother they need. Pray that she will understand the need for boundaries with children, that she will be a firm but loving disciplinarian, and that she will love her children boundlessly. One of the great privileges of parenthood is leading our children to faith in Christ – pray that she will have that wonderful opportunity. Pray she will set a good example of following Christ by prioritizing her relationship with God in such a way that her children can see it and be encouraged in their own faith. Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:20
  5. Pray for healing in his emotions and mind. No one comes unscathed through childhood and adolescence. Pray that the wounds that were experienced there will not be permanently disabling, but that the Lord will bring healing and wholeness, and the weak places will be made strong. Pray that, if necessary, he will be willing to pursue counseling with a godly counselor to experience the freedom that comes through complete emotional and mental healing. Romans 8:5-6; 1 John 4:18
  6. Pray for opportunities to minister to others. It is easy to be myopic – focusing only on ourselves and our immediate circle of family and friends. Pray that she will open her eyes to see the needs in the world as the Lord sees them and that she will take steps to meet those needs. This may mean sharing the gospel, going on a mission trip, volunteering with a homeless ministry, or teaching middle schoolers at church. Whatever it is, pray that her vision for a world that needs her unique talents and abilities will be enlarged and that she will answer the needs of her world. Matthew 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:7
  7. Pray that he will have the wisdom of the Lord. Pray that he will live his life with wisdom, not following those whose “feet run to evil” (Proverbs 1:16), but that he will pursue righteousness and wisdom, and model his life after that of Christ. Wisdom is sorely lacking in our world today, and he will need it to navigate the treacherous waters of living in a godless society. James 1:5; 3:17
  8. Pray for her relationship with you, her parents. Having a relationship with your adult children means learning new skills and embracing new roles. You are no longer parenting in the same sense as when she was living down the hall from you. She still needs you, but as a friend and counselor, not a disciplinarian or enforcer! And she will always need your unconditional love. Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2-3
  9. Pray that he will be a man of prayer – praying for his wife, his children, his friends, his church, his pastor, and others. Pray that through his prayer life, his vision of the world will grow larger, he will see the needs of others through the eyes of Jesus, and he will grow deeper in his walk with the Lord. Pray that he will learn to pray hard, trust God, and work hard. Psalm 5:3; Proverbs 15:8; Daniel 6:10
  10. Pray for the unknown future. None of us knows what the future holds, but we can pray to the one who holds it! She will need strength to face the future, no matter what it holds. She will need a deep faith and a strong foundation in the Word to be successful in whatever the future holds. Man makes plans, but God directs the steps. Proverbs 16:9

Check out the rest of the 20 ways to pray lists:

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