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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Seven Prayers, Seven Blessings

Shaping your child’s future begins on your knees

By Tom Lindberg
Dec. 28, 2014

Not long ago a young father asked me, “I want my kids to grow up healthy, successful, and godly. Any suggestions on how I should pray for them?”

He knows my three children are not perfect, but they are now all married and each is healthy, successful, and has a passionate relationship with God.

Speaking as well for my wife, Sandi, I told him: “When our kids were very young, we asked God to teach us how to pray for them. Let me share with you what He revealed to us.”

Pray for their salvation.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household” (Acts 16:31, NIV).

Our number one prayer for our children has always been for their salvation and continued relationship with God. More than good grades, popularity, or being healthy or successful, we prayed for our kids to make the decision that would shape not only this life but also their eternal lives — to believe in the Lord Jesus and be saved.

In Exodus 28, the high priest wore a robe. Over the robe, on the priest’s chest, was a breastplate with 12 gemstones in four rows of three. Each gemstone represented one of the tribes of Israel. As well, two onyx stones, each engraved with six tribal names, rested on the priest’s shoulders.

As a parent, you are a priest in your home. Your children are like gems. Shoulder your responsibility and pray for their salvation. Carry that prayer burden always over your heart. Remember, your son or daughter could gain the whole world, but they will be destitute if they lose their souls. God honors the prayers of a faithful parent who calls out for their child’s salvation.

Pray for God to give your children wisdom.

“Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you,” Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians. “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9).

There’s a war going on in our land today. The war I’m talking about is not being fought with guns; it’s being fought with ideas. It is a culture war.

The battle lines are clearly drawn. One side says God exists; the other side says there is no God. One side teaches that ideas and actions are either right or they are wrong; the other side teaches there are no absolutes and each individual decides what is right and wrong. One side asserts the Bible is God’s Word; the other side asserts the Bible is a collection of myths.

Your children, whether they are 5 or 45, need God’s wisdom to be victorious in this culture war of ideas.

When our three kids were still in elementary school, I took a portion of a day each week to fast and pray for them. I did this for about 15 years. One of my consistent prayers was, “God, give them wisdom.” Was it worth my effort? Absolutely! Do you think God will answer a prayer like that? He did for me, and I’m persuaded He will for you too!

Pray for your children’s protection.

“‘No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).

We live in a dangerous world. Violence, drugs, school shootings and deception fill the headlines.

Sandi and I prayed to God: “You gave us our children. Please, we boldly ask You, give them uncommon protection.”

The devil will not always confront our children with visible threats. There are a host of ways in which the forces of hell try to fly under the radar and attack our children before they are even aware of the danger. That is why you need the Holy Spirit to alert you and warn you of the enemy’s schemes.

Our two sons and daughter are in their 20s and 30s. We still pray for God to protect them in every area of life, so that nothing will compromise their relationship with Him.

Pray for your child’s future.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

That promise works both ways — the woman who finds a good husband is also experiencing God’s favor. The person your child marries can either make or break their commitment to God.

Sandi and I prayed constantly over our three children that they would find the partners especially designed by God to walk through life with them and help them to be all that they can be as followers of Christ. We watched God answer our prayers.

Once our children married, we were not about to stop praying. We asked God to make them the right mates as well, and to be the parents God designed them to be as their children were born.

Had our children never married, that would not have made our earlier prayers futile. I believe all of our relationships contribute to our lives in countless ways. Sandi and I want our children to build a circle of relationships that will carry them spiritually strong into the years to come. Whether or not your child marries, commit his or her future to the Lord.

Pray for your child’s boldness.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

Sandi and I have a goal for our three children. We ask God to make our two sons more dynamic Christian men than I am, and that He shapes our daughter to be more effective for the Kingdom than Sandi is. And we are watching God answer our prayers. I want to urge you to have the same goal. Let me also remind you it will never happen without spiritual boldness.

“We’re praying for spiritual boldness to develop in our son,” a couple once told me. “We are watching God pour His uncommon boldness into our boy.”

I think that’s glorious! That couple’s experience can be your experience. But it will not happen automatically. Remember these famous words: “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

Pray for endurance.

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need” (Colossians 1:11, NLT).

It’s one thing to make the right choice once, twice, or three times; it requires a whole different resolve to make right choices for 40, 50, or 60 years. That’s why I pray for endurance to be pressed into my children.

The cheetah is one of the fastest animals on earth. It can reach speeds of 70 mph! But it can only do that for a very short time. Why? The cheetah’s heart is disproportionately smaller than its body. If the cheetah does not capture its prey quickly, it has to give up. It doesn’t have the endurance for a long run.

Sandi and I prayed and continue to pray that our children will have big hearts, spiritually speaking. I pray they will endure in their walk with God and never give up or allow their passion for Him to begin to flag.

Pray for the Spirit’s fullness.

In order for the ark of the covenant to be built, the Bible tells us God filled the workmen with His Spirit.

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts” (Exodus 31:3).

When our children were young, Sandi and I had no idea what their job choices would be. That’s why we claimed this verse in Exodus 31. It’s an offer of Spirit-fullness for anyone in any type of occupation.

But God’s Word, in describing any blessing He offers, reminds us to ask Him for such blessing in faith. When you rent a hotel room, electricity is provided in the price of your room. But when you open the door to your dark hotel room, it’s your responsibility to flip the switch and turn on the lights.

In the same way, God is able to supply Spirit-fullness to your son or daughter’s life, but you must pray that your child develops the spiritual hunger needed in order to receive that blessing from God.

With each of the above blessings, I encourage you to pray this prayer, or one similar:

“Lord God Almighty, thank You for my children. Give them Your uncommon favor today. Save them, protect them, and fill them with Your Spirit. Teach me to effectively pray for them. Thank You for answering this prayer. In the strong name of Jesus. Amen.”

TOM LINDBERG, D.Min., is senior pastor of First Assembly of God of Memphis in Cordova, Tenn. Dr. Lindberg contributed to the Pentecostal Evangel for more than 25 years.

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