All children are loved by God and created in His image. Each child is unique, created according to God’s design and a part of His plan. Scripture has given us a model for how children should develop and grow in Luke 2:52. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” We are praying especially for vulnerable children— orphans, children in poverty, children without parents taking a role in their lives, children who are at risk of exploitation or disease, children who are differently-abled, children in foster care, in refugee camps, children who live on the streets, or who are abused, etc. We want to pray for the children to develop as God originally intended.
Caring for children is implicit in the design of family by God. Families in scripture show that parents are to bless their children, care for children and teach them in the ways of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 11:19 “Teach [the ways of the Lord] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”) So praying for vulnerable children needs to be at two levels: praying for the children themselves, and praying for parents or other adults in their lives. Other adults who have influence in the child’s life may be guardians, foster parents, relatives, teachers, church leaders, community leaders, etc. People who can bless them, care for them and teach them in the ways of the Lord.
How to pray:
- Pray for children to learn the ways of God; that there would be people in their lives who would be role models of God’s ways; that they would have the freedom to learn about who God is.
- Pray that children would have access to God’s word. This means not just having a Bible; it is having scripture read to them when they can’t read and it means being taught to read when they are old enough.
- Pray that children would have access to education. In addition to traditional education (for reading, writing and arithmetic), pray for them to be educated in creative areas, problem solving, analytical skills, etc. Each child is unique; pray that they would have opportunities to develop the particular gifts and talents that God has given to each of them.
- Pray for children to have a safe place to play, to grow in their social skills with other children, for them to develop their muscles and body. Play is important to both their physical and their social development. Pray for them to develop healthy relationships with other children and adults.
- Pray for the health of the children; that they would be protected from disease and well-nourished from birth.
- Pray for parents/guardians/other adults to bless and pray for their children daily. Pray for them to speak words of life over their children.
- Pray for parents/guardians/other adults to protect their children from harm. To create safe and healthy places for the children to play, learn, and grow.
- Pray for parents/guardians/other adults to provide for the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter; medical care when needed.
If you are praying for a specific group of children with a particular vulnerability, pray concerning that. For instance, pray for the street children of the Philippines to be protected from human traffickers. Pray for them to have shelter at night. Pray for safe places for them to go (church programs, etc.) that will keep them out of harms way in the streets. Pray for provision of families who will take them into their homes. Pray for them to adjust to living in a home rather than the streets.
Or if you are praying for children who have autism: Pray for the child to be full of God’s peace. Pray for the family around the child to take joy in the differences of his/her life. Pray for churches to accept the child and the family. Pray for support and refreshment for the child’s caregiver. Pray for the other children in the family to feel loved and be able to give love.Image courtesy of Cassidy Lancaster / Flickr.com