When our young adult children leave home— heading off to start college, join the workforce, or marry— we, as parents, feel a renewed sense of urgency to pray for them. For the first time they must face the unique dangers and responsibilities of living life on their own and we worry whether or not we’ve adequately prepared them for the challenge.
My husband and I are no exception. At this point we’ve launched two sons into the world. We pray for them often. On one particular weekend, we knew our second son would be traveling from his college to another state to visit his girlfriend and we had been praying for his safety. The weather in that part of the country was not going to be good for the next few days so we were praying a little more fervently than usual. As we finished up dinner on the night he was to travel back to college, the phone rang. It was our son. He said, “Mom, I’m driving through a blizzard and my windshield wipers quit working. I can’t see anything.” He was about half way back to his college at that point and had several hours to go. After having a brief panic moment, I handed the phone to my husband, confident that he would handle the situation with calmness and wise advice, which he did. Our son found a place nearby were they could replace his wipers and made it safely back to college later that day. That scenario could just as easily have had a not-so-happy ending.
There is no way we can protect our young adult children from every danger they face after leaving home. But, we do have a powerful tool at our disposal—prayer. Here are 5 ways we can pray for them:
- Pray for their physical safety. Your children are now out from under your protective wing. They are navigating the college campus, finding their way around large cities and–now more than ever—traveling across the country and the globe for foreign study, internships, mission trips, and cultural enrichment. If we think too much about the dangers out there we will be paralyzed with fear. But we can pray that God will put a hedge of protection around them and that no harm will come to them. And we can have peace. After all, let’s remember that our loving, omnipotent and omnipresent God has them in the palm of his ever-steady hand.
- Pray that God will place godly influences in their lives in the form of friends, co-workers and mentors. There is a community of believers to be found just about anywhere you go around the country and the world. God’s people are everywhere. In the case of our own children, God has graciously brought other believers into their lives wherever they have gone—from Chicago, to West Virginia, even to Japan! My kids would tell you that the support of Christian friends has been invaluable to them.
- Pray for clarity and direction for your children regarding college decisions, job searches, and marriage partners. At this point your young adult children are facing some major decisions; they are new at it and sometimes unsure about what they should do. Of course, we can give them advice when they ask, but the most important thing to do is to pray. Pray that they will seek God’s direction and that he will make his will known to them through open windows and closed doors and the many other ways in which God speaks. It’s time for them to learn to seek God and make their own decisions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for protection from liberal ideology and boldness to stand for truth—the truth of God’s Word. Our culture is spiraling downward away from absolute truth towards relativism, secularism, humanism—at a break-neck pace. Whether your children attend college or enter the workforce, they will encounter thought and speech that is antithetical to Christianity. Pray that God gives them discernment to sift through the trash and find the truth. And then to stand up for it!
- Pray that they will take ownership of their faith. Up until this point, your children have followed you to church. They have listened to you espouse your beliefs. They have faithfully gone to youth group because that’s what was done in your family. They may or may not have read their Bible on their own. But, in most cases, its been your faith that they have walked in. When young adults leave home it is time for them to take ownership of their faith. No one is there anymore to make them go to church, read their Bible, pray. They have to come to a decision to walk in the faith on their own. The statistics are staggering as to how many young people fall away from the church after leaving for college. (Lifeway Research says that 70% of them do) Pray that your children do not become a part of that statistic.
Just as a predator will swoop in and devour a baby bird who has fallen from the nest while learning to use it’s wings, Satan would love to snatch our own kids as they struggle to fly on their own. He sees it as a great opportunity since Mom and Dad are no longer there to protect them—to tell them what is right and true.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NKJV
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:6 NKJV
Pray for your young adult children who have left home.
Pray often. Pray fervently. Pray specifically.
Prayer is effective and powerful and God is faithful and true.