Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Will Davis's new book, Pray Big for Your Child: The Power of Praying God’s Promises for Your Child’s Life (Baker Publishing Group, 2009).  

No matter how hard you may work to help your kids experience God’s best for them, there are limits to what you can do. Prayer, though, has no limits. Prayer goes where you can’t go – making it the most effective resource you have as a parent.

So pray your heart out for your kids. Don’t limit your prayers only to small requests; pray big prayers that claim God’s promises for them so they can benefit to the fullest.

Here’s how you can pray God’s promises for your kids’ lives:

Don’t settle for less than the best. When you pray about particular situations in your kids’ lives, pray for much more than just the bare minimum you need. Pray audacious prayers asking God to work in powerful ways, beyond what you can achieve yourself. Remember that God stands ready to answer in big ways. While it’s fine to pray for small concerns, don’t settle for small answers. God has promised that all of His power will be available to you when you ask Him something through prayer.

Be specific. Don’t waste your time praying broad, vague, safe prayers for your kids. Instead of praying prayers without a real point (such as “Please bless Sue”), pinpoint your prayers to your specific desires for your kids and root your prayers in the Bible, boldly claiming God’s promises for your kids that relate to those desires.

Ask for greater faith. Pray for the faith you need to believe that God will truly answer the big, audacious prayers you dare to pray for your kids. The more faith you have, the more likely you’ll be to keep praying big prayers and see big results.

Focus on honoring God. Check your motives when you pray to make sure that you’re seeking something big for God’s glory rather than your own self-promotion. Keep in mind that your prayers for your kids should never contradict biblical principles. Ask yourself: “Would Jesus pray for this?” Seek God’s vision for your kids’ futures – not your own – and pray according to that vision of God’s purposes and plans for them.

Lay a strong foundation for your kids’ lives through prayer. Pray that your kids will: awaken to the reality of God, have a healthy fear of God, develop a godly character, love obedience, experience God’s favor, grow up knowing the Bible well, and recognize God’s voice, marry a godly person.

Pray for your kids’ daily lives. Each day, pray that your kids will: be protected spiritually, emotionally, and physically; love learning; develop a good work ethic; have godly friends; honor God in sports and other activities by competing fairly and honorably; and respect authority.

Pray for your kids’ spiritual development. Pray that your kids will: see God as their heavenly Father, love God’s Word, love prayer, hate sin, know and use their spiritual gifts, and love to worship God both in church and in other parts of their lives.

Pray for your son to become the man God wants him to become. Pray that your son will: crave Christian community; pursue sexual purity; serve as a leader both in his family and in society; and have the vision, courage, and wisdom needed to become a strong leader.

Pray for your daughter to become the woman God wants her to become. Pray that your daughter will: love herself because she knows how much God loves her, make Jesus her greatest love in life, and have the confidence that comes from knowing that God is doing holy work in her through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Pray for your kids’ missions in life. Pray that your kids will: know God’s missions for their lives and how to fulfill those missions, and love serving others as a regular part of their lifestyles.

Pray for your kids’ role models. Ask God to help you be a great role model for your kids. Keep in mind that they’ll take their cues from you when it comes to topics like relationships, money, forgiveness, sexuality, church participation, and how you treat people like the poor, the elderly, and people of different races. Your kids will notice when you pray and when you don’t, how often you read the Bible, and how often you serve others. Pray for God to give you the right strategy for how to disciple your kids. Pray for God to strengthen other important role models in your kids’ lives, such as: teachers, coaches, church leaders, scout leaders, mentors, their friends, and their friends’ parents.

Pray to be able to let go of your kids well so they can become healthy adults. Your kids will need to gradually transfer their dependence from you to God as they grow up. Letting go of your kids will help you parent more strategically, mature as a person, help your kids mature, prepare your kids for life’s tests, increase your faith, help you look to God for your kids’ protection, and see your kids through God’s eyes rather than just your own.

As you pray for God to prepare your kids to function as healthy young adults, pray that your kids will: trust God instead of people or things, have an unshakable character, learn to choose delayed gratification over immediate fulfillment, practice good financial management, and be relationally mature. Pray that you will have the courage to let your kids make their own choices and resist intervening and rescuing them unless absolutely necessary.

Pray for your kids’ spiritual inheritance. Your own spiritual choices will create a huge wave of spiritual blessing or cursing that your kids, grandkids, and future generations will inherit. Pray for the strength to avoid sin and make faithful choices that will leave a legacy of blessing. Ask God to show you how to change unhealthy parts of the legacy that your own parents and grandparents left you, so the pattern of various sins in your family will stop with you. Pray for God to bestow spiritual favor on you, your kids, and on multiple generations after them.

Adapted from Pray Big for Your Child: The Power of Praying God’s Promises for Your Child’s Life, copyright 2009 by Will Davis, Jr. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.     

Will Davis, Jr. (DMin., Southwestern Seminary) is the founding and senior pastor of Austin Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Pray Big, Pray Big for Your Marriage, and Why Faith Makes Sense.