This is one of my favorite things ever written. Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote this prayer for his son.
A Prayer For My Son
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee — and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, give him, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”
An absolute classic. I get a lot of comments on this, and if you enjoy it, then chances are good you’ll also appreciate this piece, called “Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier.”
We love our sons so much and desire God’s greatest blessings and guidance on their lives. We spend endless hours caring for, teaching, helping, training, protecting and encouraging that we often miss out on one of the greatest resources God has given us to lead them – prayer. The below prayers for your son cover many topics such as self worth, protection, purity and wisdom. These will equip you for the battle against Satan’s attacks and give you discernment for handling situations that arise. You can cast your cares on Jesus and find peace in God’s favor and love for your son as you speak these prayers!
Table of contents
- 1 1. A prayer for your sons discernment
- 2 2. A prayer for your own wisdom
- 3 3. A prayer for a son who has turned from God
- 4 4. Scriptural prayers for your son
- 5 5. A prayer for your sons relationships and influences
- 6 6. A birthday prayer for your son
- 7 7. A prayer for your sons body image and purity
- 8 8. A prayer for your sons self worth
- 9 9. Prayer for your sons purity
- 10 10. A prayer for protection over your son
- 11 11. A prayer for your sons view of money and possessions
1. A prayer for your sons discernment
Lord, I pray that my son will develop an eternal perspective and purpose, not an earthly one. Help him to see life–and every challenge–through Your eyes, eager and unafraid to share with others the good news of Jesus wherever he goes. I pray that they will set his minds on things above, not just what’s going on here, and that he will be rooted and grounded in Your love. I pray that he will come to understand the extent of Your own love for him–that it surpasses all the head knowledge they will acquire in school. I pray he will be filled up with You from morning ’til night.
~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
2. A prayer for your own wisdom
Lord, Your Word says “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Lord, I need that kind of wisdom to know when to speak to my son and when to be silent. “Do not let any unwholesome talk, lecturing, judging, or accusing come of my mouth, but only what is helpful for building my son up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29). Let me also be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for my anger doesn’t bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19).
~ Cindi McMenamin
3. A prayer for a son who has turned from God
Dear God,You know our hearts, you hear our prayers, and care about all that concerns us. You understand the burden we carry and how we want, more than anything, to see our loved ones come to you. Help us to remember that you love them more than we ever could. And you desire to extend your great love and forgiveness, your mercy and hope. Thank you that nothing is too difficult for you. Thank you that your power is unlimited and you came to set the captives free. Thank you that you wait, arms open, for the prodigal to return, that you look for his arrival to lavishly celebrate that he’s come home. We praise you for you are Redeemer and Rescuer, Savior and Lord. We know and believe that there’s no pit so deep that your love can’t reach us still. We understand that your mercies are new every morning, and your faithfulness is great.
Lord, we ask that you would halt the plans of the enemy over these we love as we bring them before you right now. We pray that his schemes be demolished and that your plans for good, for a future and hope, would prevail. Would you open blind eyes that they might see your Truth. Would you rescue those walking in darkness and heal the deep wounds of those who’ve been hurt.
We pray for the miraculous intervention of your Spirit to draw them to yourself, to work strong on behalf of our loved ones who are lost and wandering. For you came with good news, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for captives and release for the prisoners. Though we deserved penalty for our wrong, you stood in our place and took the blows on our behalf. You choose to die, so that we can live. Forever and free.
Lord, forgive our unbelief. Forgive the times we’ve doubted that you could ever change a distant heart. Forgive our hard-heartedness, our weariness, or forgetfulness to “pray continually.” Thank you that you never give up on us. Remind us of how you’ve changed our own hearts. How your miracle of life and hope has sprung up deep within our souls. We love you Lord, we need you, and we thank you that you hear our prayers and are at work even now. Powerfully. Faithfully. Miraculously. Thank you for the gift of our Savior, God with us. Thank you for your goodness and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
~ Debbie McDaniel
4. Scriptural prayers for your son
1. Create in my son a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within him (Psalm 51:10).
2. May my son walk after You, God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice. May he serve You and hold fast to You (Deuteronomy 13:4).
3. May my son be strong and courageous and not fear or be in dread, for it is You, Lord, our God, who goes with him. You will never leave him or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6).
4. May my son walk before You, God, as King David walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that You have commanded him, and keeping Your statutes and rules (1 Kings 9:4).
5. Like Timothy, may my son be an example to believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
~ Brooke McGlothlin, Proverbs 31 Ministries
5. A prayer for your sons relationships and influences
First, oh Lord, forgive us for the times when we have misplaced our priorities so that we haven’t been available to model a strong relationship with You in front of our kids. Help us to understand the power of our influence in our children’s lives and to reorder our schedule so that we can be available to both directly and indirectly offer the godly influence that our sons desperately need.
Second, while we do pray that our sons would be protected from negative influences, we also pray that you would surround them with friendships and mentor-type relationships that portray what it means to have an authentic relationship with Christ. In turn, we pray that you would raise our sons up to be the influencers of the next generation. We pray that you would allow godliness and righteousness to dwell in their hearts so richly that these evidences of your truth spill out of them and to every person they encounter.
Through it all, we pray that they would not be prone to laziness or complacency, but that they would believe that even a single candle burning in the dark makes a difference and would boldly stand up for truth, even when it’s unpopular.
~ Alicia Michelle
6. A birthday prayer for your son
Dear Lord, on this day that we celebrate ________’s birth, I pray for blessings and joy over ________. You knew everything about him before his birth and You have a plan of prosperity and hope for his life! Let him feel confident and ready for the year ahead knowing that You have an order to his steps and a purpose for his life. Help him to find joy in every circumstance in life, knowing that You work all things out for good. I thank You for ________, for loving him with unconditional love, and for the promises You have spoken over his life. In Jesus Name, Amen.
7. A prayer for your sons body image and purity
Dear Jesus, we weep with you over the number of our kids who are buying into the lie that sexual pleasure is something to experiment with. We pray that our sons would treasure their sexuality as a true gift from You, and that they would honor that gift by saving it as a precious treasure to give their future spouse. We ask that you would help them to be strong in the face of their own desires and that they would choose purity in the face of temptation.
Lord we also ask that you’d protect our sons from the idea that they must do anything and everything (including abusing their bodies through eating disorders, drug abuse, or other harmful behaviors) in order to attaining a “preferred” shape or figure. We pray you’d protect our sons from that kind of destructive thinking, and that if they’re tempted to take these kind of drastic measures, that you’d send someone in their lives to stop them. Help them to remember over and over that their identity is not in how they look on the outside but what you see as their potential and worth on the inside.
We pray that our children would treasure their health as a gift from God and that they would have a passion to eat nutritious food and to stay active in order to do their part to take care of this treasure.
~ Alicia Michelle
8. A prayer for your sons self worth
Dear Jesus, help my son know that we are all born as sinners and separated from God because of our wicked hearts. However, at an early age, him grasp the life-transforming concept that he does not have to live as a sinner under that condemnation.
Teach my son that he has the opportunity to accept a new, beautiful identity that is called “good,” not because of what he has done or what he looks like, but because he is secure in who YOU say they are: treasured, delightful, known and protected. Let him not place their self-worth in accomplishments he may or may not achieve, but let him discover these deeper truths about who You believe he is and build every decision he makes on that sure foundation.
~ Alicia Michelle
9. Prayer for your sons purity
Lord, I pray that You will create in my son a clean heart and that You would constantly renew a right spirit within him, keeping his thoughts and actions pure and motivated by love. Guard him from temptation, and let him know You are always faithful to give him a way out and help to endure. May the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart always please you and edify others.
~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
10. A prayer for protection over your son
Lord, I pray Your emotional, physical, and spiritual protection over my son. Keep evil far from him, and help him to trust You as his refuge and strength. I pray You will guard his mind from harmful instruction, and grant him discernment to recognize truth. I pray You will make him strong and courageous in the presence of danger, recognizing that You have overcome and will set right all injustice and wrong one day. Help him to find rest in Your shadow, as he lives in the spiritual shelter You provide for him. Let him know that the only safe place is in Jesus,and that his home on earth is only temporary.
~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
11. A prayer for your sons view of money and possessions
Heavenly Father, help us to model a healthy example of how to handle possessions and money. Help us to work hard, but to not wear ourselves out in order to get rich so that our children can witness a positive, godly view of hard work and the pursuit of success.
We pray that our sons would persevere in whatever vocation you give them and that they would work with cheerful hearts as if they were serving you directly.
We pray that our sons would see at an early age that money and possessions are a gift from You and thus must be always held with an open hand so that You can use those gifts to bless others.
We ask that our sons would find their value in their true identity as a child of You, not in the possessions they do or do not have. We pray for contentment and gratefulness in whatever situation they’re given—rich or poor. We pray they would have a steadfast commitment to work hard with the talents you’ve given them so that they could support themselves, their families and use their money as a way to bless others in need.
Ultimately, we pray that they would discover that the greatest “wealth” they could possess would be in relationships, especially in a relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
~ Alicia Michelle
We hope these prayers have been able to guide your thoughts and calm your soul as you seek God’s will for your son. Join other moms who are praying for their sons in the comments below and experience the power of a praying community. Gain support and encouragement for the work that God has called you to!
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersThe Prayer of JabezShort PrayersThe Lord’s PrayerThe Prayer of St FrancisSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for GuidanceIntercessory PrayerIrish Prayers and BlessingsAdvent PrayersChristmas PrayersThanksgiving PrayerHoly Week Prayers for Each DayEaster PrayersMother’s Day PrayerPrayers for My HusbandPrayers for My SonPrayers for My DaughterPrayer Quotes
Now available is our new Daily Prayer devotional! An easy way to find start your day with prayer, read today’s prayer and sign up to receive by email.