Note: Many of us pray frequently for our children and our spouse. But we don’t always pray with the same kind of focus for our parents unless they’re facing a health crisis or change in their living situation. We may have complicated relationships with one or both of them, or we may be uncertain exactly where to begin. I appreciated this handy little prayer guide releasing May 1 called 5 Things To Pray For Your Parents by Chelsea Stanley. You can enter to win your own copy of this book. Click here to email us your name and mailing address (U.S. addresses only) before midnight, Sunday, May 9th. 

Chelsea was very gracious to pass along a sample from the book (below) in order to give you a taste of this helpful resource. 

Growing up, honoring my parents came easily to me. It wasn’t until my mom and dad divorced in my early 20s that it became more difficult. I wasn’t sure what honoring them looked like when I strongly disagreed with some of their life choices.

Thankfully, God led me to a church where I learned that the gospel—the good news that Jesus died for our sins—wasn’t just for my initial salvation. It applied to every area of my life, including my relationship with my parents. As I processed through my parents’ divorce, God transformed my heart, showing me how I could love and honor my parents because Christ had first loved and honored me. 

Around that time, I also learned to pray using Scripture as my guide. As I prayed for my parents in this way, God helped me to see them through his eyes and not my own. My prayers were no longer self-serving because I was praying according to his will as found in his word. And my prayers were richer too! Instead of just praying the same old things in the same old way, I found myself praying fresh and intentional prayers.  

Now that I’ve experienced the power of praying for my parents on a personal level, I want to help other adult children experience it too. I believe God has so much goodness for us and our parents if we humble ourselves and pray. 

To that end, I’ve put together a little book called 5 Things to Pray for Your Parents: Prayers that Change Things for an Older Generation. Each of the 21 prayer themes in this book takes a passage of Scripture and suggests five things to pray for a particular area of your parents’ lives. You can use this book in any number of ways: work through it as part of your daily quiet time or pick it up whenever a particular need arises.

My hope is that this book will encourage grown children to pray rich, intentional prayers for their parents using Scripture as their guide.

To give you a taste for the book, here are five prayer prompts based in Psalm 90:12-17 asking God to give our parents purpose.

Lord, you created my parents to enjoy and glorify you. I ask you to… 

(1) Humble them 

“Teach us to number our days” (Psalm 90:12). 

When we “number our days,” we realize that our time on earth is limited. This could have a paralyzing effect on some, but pray instead that it would propel your parents to humbly acknowledge our everlasting God and to live out the remainder of their days in his service. 

(2) Have compassion 

“Have compassion on your servants” (Psalm 90:13). 

How much we all need God’s compassion! We belong to him, but we usurp his purpose for our lives and selfishly labor for our own success and glory instead. Take a moment to confess your own idolatry to the Lord. Then ask him to convict your parents of their sin and to have mercy on you all. 

(3) Satisfy their souls 

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love” (Psalm 90:14). 

The world offers our parents a smorgasbord of goodies that promise to satisfy them. They’re told that this cruise, this magic pill, this retirement village will make them happy, but the Bible says that true satisfaction comes from God. Pray that your parents would be satisfied in him and that they would know his unfailing love day by day. 

(4) Show your deeds 

“May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children” (Psalm 90:16). 

The work of redemption is God’s most marvelous deed. If your parents are God’s servants, marvel at the saving work Christ accomplished on their behalf. If they are not his servants, pray that he would allow you to behold his splendor as you watch him do a work in their hearts that only he can do. 

(5) Establish their work 

“Establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17). 

Think about the work your parents do each day. Whether they work with their hands, sit at a desk, or volunteer in retirement, ask God to make their work fruitful—not for their own personal gain or praise, but for the good of their fellow man and the glory of God. 

A Beautiful Promise

The command to honor our parents comes with a beautiful promise—“that it may go well with you” (Ephesians 6 v 3). We hope that you will reap this blessing as you come before God with prayers that change things for an older generation!

Article adapted from 5 Things to Pray for Your Parents: Prayers that Change Things for An Older Generation by Chelsea Stanley (The Good Book Company, 2021).