Honoring parents means more than sending cards on special days. And it’s more than an occasional invitation to dinner.
In the biblical context (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2), it includes respect and a commitment of grown children to care for their parents, especially when they are infirmed. It is one beautiful outworking of the Gospel. God cares for us, His children, and He models what ongoing, compassionate ministry looks like.
One of the greatest privileges of my adult life has been to pray for my elderly mom. Although we are separated by many miles and the burden of physical caring for her falls mostly on my precious sister, I do what I can and I love to pray for Mom.
Here are some of the things I’ve found useful to pray over the years. Perhaps they will be a template for prayers for your parent.
I pray for your continuing PROVIDENCE in my parent’s life.
I am grateful my parent trusted in You long ago, but I know there are many parents and elderly loved ones who still do not know you, Lord, and I ask you to woo them to Yourself and bring about their salvation and transformation (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Peter 3:9).
I pray You will bring to my loved one’s remembrance all the ways You have been their hope and help—in many cases since childhood (Psalm 62:5; 71:5; 121:2).
I thank you for all the ways You used my parent to shape my young life. What a precious gift! My parent guided me in practical ways and showed me how to trust You. Although my parent was not perfect, I sensed the desire to mold me into a good person, and I’m thankful I was encouraged to become a Christ-follower.
And now the roles are reversed. I have the privilege to help and serve, and remind my loved one of Your tender, shepherding care. Give me patience, wisdom and an understanding heart. Help me continue to show respect and appreciation, and to value who You, in Your Providence, created my loved one to be (Exodus 20:12)
Ultimately, I know Your care for my parent is beyond anything I can offer, for every good gift comes from You (James 1:17).
I pray for my parent's PROTECTION.
I pray my parent will keep on leaning on You, the Rock of strength and righteousness (Psalm 71:3a; 73:26; 92:12-15). Spread your protection over my parent, because You are the ultimate Refuge (Psalm 5:11; 46:1).
I ask you to protect my parent from the evil one, and show the way out in moments of temptation (2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 10:13). May wisdom, discretion and understanding protect and guide every day (Proverbs 4:6; 2:11; 138:7).
I pray for PROVISION—that you will meet my loved one’s needs.
Show me how to meet my parent’s needs in ways that will please You, Lord. Equip me to be a good steward in my loved one’s care (1 Timothy 4:5; 5:1-2).
There is much I can do, but You are the Great Provider. Thank you for your willingness to supply my parent’s needs for Your glory and my loved one’s joy (Romans 8:32; Matthew 6:31-32; 7:11; Philippians 4:19; John 14:13-14; 16:23-24). I pray my parent will be made holy through Your grace and receive Your good favor (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Psalm 84:11)
I pray for POWER, your strength in my parent’s weakness.
In times of need, help my parent lean on your sufficiency and everlasting arms (2 Corinthians 9:8; Deuteronomy 33:27); and when life feels so impossible, remind my loved one that nothing is impossible with You (Matthew 19:26).
I pray for PEACE in my parent’s aging years.
I ask You to give my parent a trusting and thankful heart, especially as days grow more difficult (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Help my aging parent take every disappointment to You. Preserve from any bitterness or spirit of discontent (Psalm 25:21).
I pray for continuing PURPOSE in my parent's life.
I ask you to help my parent flourish—“like the palm tree… bearing fruit in their old age”—with an eternal perspective (Psalm 92:12-15). Work in my loved one’s life for Your glory (2 Corinthians 4:16). Open appropriate opportunities for ministry and influence.
Help my parent live as a holy and faithful role model, Father, for as long as you allow (Titus 2:2-5). I pray my parent, from a wealth of experience, will share important life lessons You still want me to learn.
Fill my parent’s mouth with Your praise, and a desire to worship and bring You glory from a testimony strong and true (Psalm 71:8).
Thank you for the many ways parents can influence children and grandchildren for good. I pray my loved one will, by word and deed, proclaim Your power and care to this generation (Psalm 71:18b).
Father, I thank you for Jesus, who makes possible our God-honoring transition from this world to everlasting glory. As I pray these things for my parent, I pray them for myself as well. I pray we all will someday hear Your “well done.” Amen!
Dawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. Dawn assists author and radio host Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, and also publishes LOL with God and Upgrade with Dawn and writes for Crosswalk.com. Dawn also travels with her husband in ministry with the International School Project.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
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