If you’re a parent, there’s little you care about more than the wellbeing of your children and your relationship with them. Your sense of success or failure not only as a parent but even as a person seems in many ways tied up in how your children are doing. And when things are not going well your heart aches for a breakthrough for your child.

It hurts because you can see the outcome if your child continues in the way they are going. You’ve lived long enough to know the results of their behavior and choices. Or perhaps life has brought them overwhelming struggles through no “fault” of their own. As their parent you would give just about anything to prevent the pain you can predict is coming, or that they are already experiencing.

And so you pray.

These things will help as you pray for a breakthrough for your child.

God is a Parent

Remember that God is a parent. Jesus often spoke of God as His Father, and especially throughout the New Testament God is often spoken of as our Father.

But God Himself, the Perfect Parent, has also experienced and is experiencing the pain of children who disbelieve Him, leave Him, rebel against Him. He placed His first earthly children, Adam and Eve, in a perfect environment, and had a close intimate relationship with them. But they disbelieved Him and rebelled, causing untold misery for millennia. Jesus chose twelve. And one of them betrayed Him.

So know that God understands intimately the struggles in your heart when your child(ren) go astray. He loves them even more than you do. He feels their pain more acutely than you do.

Keep that perspective when you pray. When you ask God to intervene in your children’s lives, you are not asking Him to do something He doesn’t want to do. You are cooperating with Him.

And know that your children’s challenges do not mean you were a bad parent. God has been the Perfect Parent, and His children have messed up. You’re in good company. (We’ll talk about parent guilt next time.)

As you seek a breakthrough for your child, these five steps will help provide resilience and focus to your prayers.

  1. Out of Your Control

God loves your children enough that He gave them free will, just as He did to you. He desires love and worship from His children, and that can only be offered from a heart that is free. That may be one of the biggest struggles parents are faced with.

Once your child is grown you are still the parent, but they are no longer under your control. Trying to manipulate will only drive them farther away. Your role now is to be an invitation to your child – to come closer to you and to God.

You won’t do that perfectly; no human parent does. It may be hard to know what to say or not say. But you can still pray! Try this:

Heavenly Father, knowing that You love my children even more than I do, I ask for Your love to fill me so that I can love them more like You do. Give me wisdom to know how to take my hands off and leave them free, and also to know how to BE the invitation for them to come closer – to me and to You. Amen.

  1. Keep an Open Heart

A child who has walked away will cause you pain. And you are likely to be tempted to close off your heart in some measure to keep from hurting more. It’s human. It’s understandable. But it makes things worse.

If you desire a relationship with your child, a major focus you will need to maintain is keeping your own heart open. That doesn’t mean giving in if your child is demanding or destructive, but it does mean your heart remains soft and inviting. You can pray like this:

Heavenly Father, I need Your presence with me to keep my own heart soft and open toward my child. I bring my hurt, bitterness, and embarrassment to You. Do the work in my heart that is needed so that You can use me in connecting with my child. Let my heart be the place they long to come to. Amen.

  1. Watch for Where God is Working

God has been and will continue to be working in your child’s life. You may not always see it, but He is. And remember that He knows your child even better than you do. He cares about their wellbeing more than you can imagine, and He knows what will draw their heart to Himself.

Remain alert to how God may be working in your child’s life. God may be using the very pain they experience for His purposes. You don’t want to sabotage what God may be doing. Try a prayer like this:

Heavenly Father, I choose to believe that You are working in my child’s life. I’d really like to see some of what You’re doing, if You would show me. And in any way You can use me in my child’s life, I’m available. Bring into their life the people my child will be able to hear. Just don’t stop! Amen.

  1. Who is the Real Enemy

The conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness is over the hearts of men and women. And your child’s heart is in the middle of that controversy. Your child’s earthly success or happiness is not the point; Who they will love, honor, and worship is the point.

That spiritual warfare perspective should lend a great deal of power to praying for your child’s breakthrough. You cannot choose for them, but you can speak into the spiritual realm and press back the plans of the enemy, like this:

Heavenly Father, Jesus came to die for my child. I plead the blood of Jesus over them right now. In Jesus’ name I cancel the plans of the enemy for my child. I release Your Holy Spirit to have full access to do whatever is needed in my child’s heart. Where the enemy would sow darkness in their life, bring Your light and Your love to bear. Amen.

  1. The Long-term Perspective

God cares about your child’s wellbeing here and now. But much more than their physical or mental health, their marriage, their job, their happiness, or even their relationship with you, He cares about their eternal wellbeing.

Intellectually you probably care most about that too. Remember that, and that that is God’s primary desire for your child as well. God is not frustrated by the process of dealing with your child’s heart (or with yours), or with how long it takes. Keep that in mind as you pray.

Heavenly Father, regardless of whatever happens along the way, I ask You to save my child for eternity. Use any means necessary. Use me if You can. I must trust that You desire my child’s eternal wellbeing even more than I do. Don’t stop working until my child comes to know You! Amen.

As a parent, the heart-cries of your prayers make a difference. God has used the prayers of parents to save many a child.

Our online course Powerful Breakthrough Prayers will deepen your understanding of the principles of effective prayer, and help you experience practical ways of cooperating with God in what He is doing.

Join this course to learn more about praying for a breakthrough – for your own heart, and for your child.


Your Turn: Are you wrestling in prayer for a breakthrough for your child? Leave a comment below. 

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