A Softening Prayer for the Hard-Hearted Child
- Meg Bucher Writer and Author
- 2022 3 Jan
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
Dead weight activated, I could not lift my toddler out of the middle of the grocery aisle. Though her big blue sparkling eyes gave way to the deep spirit in her, outwardly she protested vigilantly when she didn’t get her way. As she stepped into the water to be baptized recently, I marveled at the shift in her heart over time, at the hands of God, the only one with authority and ability to mold the human heart like clay in a potter’s hands. We can do our job as parents, diligently leading them to the Lord’s feet and praying our hearts out to Him daily on their account. But the final work is His.
A pliable, malleable heart yields to the leading of the Holy Spirit. “The heart sits central to our salvation,” Kristi Woods explains. “Belief resides there.” Scripture refers to the heart as much more than the organ which pumps life through our physical bodies. It represents the seat of our emotions, and the state of our souls. Matthew wrote, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34 NIV). Let’s not grow weary in praying for our children’s hearts! Even more powerfully, lets pray specific Scriptures over their lives. God hears, sees, and answers our prayers. He is good, He is faithful, and He loves our children infinitely more than we do.
A Softening Prayer for the Hard-Hearted Child
We come to You today to intercede for our children in prayer. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray for softened hearts for them. As You draw them to You, let the truth of Jesus Christ and their salvation take root in their souls, Father. You tell us not to be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present our requests to You. And Your peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). Search our hearts, today, Father. Renew, restore, and cleanse us. Give us a willing, obedient spirit. We not only want Your peace in our own hearts, but for our children, too! Soften their hearts to understand who You are and Whose they are, in a way only You can, no matter their age. We are reminded, Father, that You are their Creator! You love them more than we ever could! You know them better than we do. You know the plans You have for them.
Pray Maturity and Growth in Faith
Father, we pray our children will “listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end be counted among the wise” (Proverbs 19:20). May they have humble hearts, Father, able to discern the unique gifts You have given them. Let them "make every effort to add to [their] faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if [we] possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep [us] from being ineffective and unproductive in [our] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV)
Pray for Freedom from Sin
Father, when our children are angry, protect them from temptation and sin. Though anger is a natural and essential emotion, we pray they do not let the sun go down on their anger, and don’t give the enemy a foothold. Prevent unwholesome talk from coming out of their mouths, and instead let them speak life and love over their own lives, and others. Rid their hearts of all bitterness, rage, anger, slander, and malice. We pray they are kind and compassionate, and forgiving just as they are forgiven by You through Christ, Jesus (Ephesians 4:26-32 NIV).
Soften the hearts of our children, Father. Particularly for those struggling with a sinful stronghold, an addiction, or a temptation harassing them. Deliver and heal them, Father. No matter what their age, our kids are still our kids. For the entirety of their lives, we pray your army of angels will surround and protect them (Psalm 91). Teach them to pray, Father! Move and mold their hearts to know You and talk with You daily. Let prayer become a friendly conversation they carry with them throughout the days of their lives, and their first reaction when they are grateful, in need, worried, or need healing.
Pray for Salvation and Passion for Jesus
Father, we pray the salvation of Jesus Christ over our children’s lives. Soften their hearts to the truth of Your Word, which is Jesus. Let the power of the Holy Spirit lead their lives to the plans You have for them, which are more than we can ask for or imagine! We pray they declare with their mouths, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead, and that they may be saved (Romans 10:9). For Father, You promise in Your Word, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Father, we see the human nature bent towards rebellion and sin so early in life! When our toddlers are lying flat on the ground in protest, and when our teenagers lie straight to our faces. The world and its sin so easily entangles us, Father. But in Christ, we are free from the chains of it. We pray this freedom and peace over our children’s lives, no matter what age they are or struggle they are facing. We pray they know they are loved, no matter how hard life can be and how grandly we can all mess it up, sometimes. Through Christ, we are always forgiven, and never loved less. We pray this truth over our children’s lives; we pray it would be the beat of their hearts, souls, and minds. Our prayer is that they do not harden their hearts in rebellion (Hebrews 3:8 NIV). Protect and prevent them from sinful, unbelieving hearts that turn away from You, the living God (Hebrews 3:12 NIV). Father, encourage them daily, so they will not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)
Pray for Generous and Fruitful Lives
Softened hearts help us to grow in selflessness. In a self-centered world, Father, we pray our children have hearts to serve others, and bring glory to You with the work they do in their lives. In their friendships, relationships, and daily pursuits, may they be selfless and full of Your love. Let nothing they do be out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility may they value others above themselves, not looking to their own interests but to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV). Fill our children with Your Holy Spirit, God! Let the fruit of the Spirit flow through their lives! (Galatians 5:22 NIV)
Father, let our children grow in kindness and compassion, find and embrace their identity in Jesus. May they follow You all the days of their lives, through the hard seasons and the celebratory milestones. Let them pause to pray and cut You in on every plan, conversation, and moment of their lives, Lord. Soften their hearts to You, and create a desire in them for Your Word, Your Truth, and Your Son, Jesus. God, You are always good, always faithful. Morning by morning, Your mercies are new. This life can seem long. As a parent, we worry about our children a lot. Today, we lift our worries up to You, and place them in Your hands as we commit to prayerfully interceding for them each day. Let all glory and honor always go to You, Father God.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Prostock-Studio
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Join her in the journey at Joy Overflowing. She is also the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her passion to write. Always active in her community and local church, Meg also leads Bible study, and serves as a leader for teen girls.
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