Honoring parents means more than sending cards on special days. And it’s more than an occasional invitation to dinner.
In the biblical context (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2), it includes respect and a commitment of grown children to care for their parents, especially when they are infirmed. It is one beautiful outworking of the Gospel. God cares for us, His children, and He models what ongoing, compassionate ministry looks like.
One of the greatest privileges of my adult life has been to pray for my elderly mom. Although we are separated by many miles and the burden of physical caring for her falls mostly on my precious sister, I do what I can and I love to pray for Mom.
Here are some of the things I’ve found useful to pray over the years. Perhaps they will be a template for prayers for your parent.
I pray for your continuing PROVIDENCE in my parent’s life.
I am grateful my parent trusted in You long ago, but I know there are many parents and elderly loved ones who still do not know you, Lord, and I ask you to woo them to Yourself and bring about their salvation and transformation (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Peter 3:9).
I pray You will bring to my loved one’s remembrance all the ways You have been their hope and help—in many cases since childhood (Psalm 62:5; 71:5; 121:2).
I thank you for all the ways You used my parent to shape my young life. What a precious gift! My parent guided me in practical ways and showed me how to trust You. Although my parent was not perfect, I sensed the desire to mold me into a good person, and I’m thankful I was encouraged to become a Christ-follower.
And now the roles are reversed. I have the privilege to help and serve, and remind my loved one of Your tender, shepherding care. Give me patience, wisdom and an understanding heart. Help me continue to show respect and appreciation, and to value who You, in Your Providence, created my loved one to be (Exodus 20:12)
Ultimately, I know Your care for my parent is beyond anything I can offer, for every good gift comes from You (James 1:17).
I pray for PROTECTION.
I pray my parent will keep on leaning on You, the Rock of strength and righteousness (Psalm 71:3a; 73:26; 92:12-15). Spread your protection over my parent, because You are the ultimate Refuge (Psalm 5:11; 46:1).
I ask you to protect my parent from the evil one, and show the way out in moments of temptation (2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 10:13). May wisdom, discretion and understanding protect and guide every day (Proverbs 4:6; 2:11; 138:7).
I pray my parent will be courageous, confident in Your presence, help and deliverance (Psalm 121:1-8; Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 34:19; Psalm 91).
I pray for PROVISION—that you will meet my loved one’s needs.
Show me how to meet my parent’s needs in ways that will please You, Lord. Equip me to be a good steward in my loved one’s care (1 Timothy 4:5; 5:1-2).
There is much I can do, but You are the Great Provider. Thank you for your willingness to supply my parent’s needs for Your glory and my loved one’s joy (Romans 8:32; Matthew 6:31-32; 7:11; Philippians 4:19; John 14:13-14; 16:23-24). I pray my parent will be made holy through Your grace and receive Your good favor (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Psalm 84:11)
I pray for POWER, your strength in my parent’s weakness.
As strength declines, I pray for a greater sense of Your presence and power (Psalm 71:9, 18a). You are mighty, Father, and our strength is in You alone (Ephesians 6:10).
In times of need, help my parent lean on your sufficiency and everlasting arms (2 Corinthians 9:8; Deuteronomy 33:27); and when life feels so impossible, remind my loved one that nothing is impossible with You (Matthew 19:26).
I pray for PEACE in my parent’s aging years.
I ask You to give my parent a trusting and thankful heart, especially as days grow more difficult (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Help my aging parent take every disappointment to You. Preserve from any bitterness or spirit of discontent (Psalm 25:21).
I pray the Holy Spirit will teach and comfort, guide and calm (John 16:13; 2 Corinthians 1:4), and that my parent will not become discouraged in aging.
I pray for continuing PURPOSE.
I ask you to help my parent flourish—“like the palm tree… bearing fruit in their old age”—with an eternal perspective (Psalm 92:12-15). Work in my loved one’s life for Your glory (2 Corinthians 4:16). Open appropriate opportunities for ministry and influence.
Help my parent live as a holy and faithful role model, Father, for as long as you allow (Titus 2:2-5). I pray my parent, from a wealth of experience, will share important life lessons You still want me to learn.
Fill my parent’s mouth with Your praise, and a desire to worship and bring You glory from a testimony strong and true (Psalm 71:8).
Thank you for the many ways parents can influence children and grandchildren for good. I pray my loved one will, by word and deed, proclaim Your power and care to this generation (Psalm 71:18b).
Father, I thank you for Jesus, who makes possible our God-honoring transition from this world to everlasting glory. As I pray these things for my parent, I pray them for myself as well. I pray we all will someday hear Your “well done.” Amen!
Dawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. Dawn assists author and radio host Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, and also publishes LOL with God and Upgrade with Dawn and writes for Crosswalk.com. Dawn also travels with her husband in ministry with the International School Project.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 23, 2017
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One might think I have no business writing a post like this.
One might be right.
Because although my parents are aging in the sense that every human on the face of the planet is getting older day by day, they’re still far from elderly.
But while I may lack personal experience, I’ve had numerous opportunities to observe the examples of my parents and others caring for their aging parents.
People I’ve been blessed to watch firsthand as they’ve loved their elderly parents lavishly and served them sacrificially.
As I think of them and look to the Scriptures, I find plenty of inspiration that will encourage you as you begin praying the Scriptures for your aging parents.
Prayers for Aging Parents & Their Children
If your parents don’t know the Lord as Savior, pray that they would be saved, reminding God that He isn’t willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Ask the Lord to make this your parents’ testimony: “My mouth is filled with Your praise, and with Your glory all the day.” Pray that the Lord wouldn’t forsake them in their old age, that they might proclaim His might to another generation (Psalm 71:8,9,18).
Ask the Lord to be the strength of your parents’ hearts and their portion forever, even though their flesh and heart may fail (Psalm 73:26).
Pray that by God’s grace, your parents would not be discouraged as they age, knowing that although their bodies are wasting away, their spirits are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Ponder the truth that the righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon, still bearing fruit in old age. Ask God to enable your parents to declare, “The Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (Psalm 92:12-15).
Ask the Lord to help your father to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Pray that your mother would be reverent in behavior, and not a slanderer. Ask God to help her teach what is good, continuing to serve as an example of love for her husband and children, as well as self-control, purity, industriousness, kindness, and submission to her husband (Titus 2:2-5).
Pray that God would help you to honor your father and your mother all the days of your life (Exodus 20:12). Ask that He would guide you in treating your parents with respect, not rebuking them but encouraging them with a pure heart (I Timothy 5:1-2).
Commit to the Lord your desire to care for your parents in whatever way He desires. Ask Him to help you show godliness to them, returning to them a portion of all they’ve done for you, for this is pleasing in the sight of God (I Timothy 4:5).
Claim God’s promise that He is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8). Share with Him your needs in relation to caring for your parents, trusting Him to fully equip you for this good work to which He has called you.
Dear Heavenly Father, parents are a precious gift from You. Thank you for allowing me the joy of having my parents for many decades, that I might enjoy them and learn from them. I pray that you would help them to continue growing in grace and in their relationship with You until the very end of their time here on earth. Please grant me wisdom and strength to care for them in a way that honors them, and honors You. It’s in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.