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There’s a reason why so many of us begin praying for our children while they’re still in the womb: We understand that we’re in a war.
God’s Word describes it this way in Ephesians 6:12: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
And while we’re all targets for the enemy’s schemes, Satan is smart enough to recognize that attacks on our kids are especially powerful.
He understands that if he can grab their hearts and establish false teachings in their mind from the earliest age, all he has to do is sit back and watch the dominos fall.
Yes, it’s a terrifying thought to know that our children have an enemy that actively plots to hurt them.
But here’s the great news: The Bible promises that nothing, nothing can thwart God’s good plans for our children. No plan from the enemy can snatch our kids out of God’s awesome covering. And speaking of that enemy, we read in Revelation 20 that he has already lost the war. Amen!
As Christians, our job now is to fight! And as Christian parents, these great battles for our kids’ hearts are fought in prayer as we use God’s Truth to claim victory, break down half-truths and ask for divine guidance (2 Corinthian 10:3-5).
However, as a parent, it’s incredibly easy to be overwhelmed by this task! We know that we’re supposed to be praying for our kids, but what specific areas are our kids most susceptible to satanic attack?
Truly, there’s no one answer to that question! Every child is unique.
Yet, I believe there are 5 general areas where our enemy tends to attack this generation of kids. Let’s take a look at each of them and discover how we can best pray against the enemy’s evil schemes.
Area #1: Self-Worth
We want our children’s inner thoughts and self-worth to reflect the thoughts that God has about them.
Instead of being filled with puffed up pride or mere “self-love,” we desire that they believe the truth: That they are beautifully handmade by a Creator who loves them so much that He gave His son’s life to have a relationship with them.
We want them to understand how much God values them, and that nothing or no one can change who they are in Christ.
How Satan Attacks:
He teaches them that life is all about them and their pleasure.
He tells them that they need to ignore that voice of conviction that tells them things are right or wrong.
At the same time, he is quick to condemn them for their mistakes and to “rub their noses in it” and tell them they aren’t worthy.
How We Can Pray:
Dear Jesus, help our kids know that we are all born as sinners and separated from God because of our wicked hearts. However, at an early age, help our children grasp the life-transforming concept that they don’t have to live as a sinner under that condemnation.
Teach our children that they have the opportunity to accept a new, beautiful identity that is called “good,” not because of what they have done or what they look like, but because they are secure in who YOU say they are: treasured, delightful, known and protected. Let them not place their self-worth in accomplishments they may or may not achieve, but let them discover these deeper truths about who You believe they are and build every decision they make on that sure foundation.
Area #2: Body Image
We want our kids to have a deep reverence for the intricate way their unique body is formed, and because of this respect, we want our kids to grow up honoring their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.
We want our kids to treat their bodies with respect by honoring the boundaries God suggests, such as sexual exchange only between a man and a woman within the confines of a marital relationship.
While we want our kids to take care of their bodies through healthy food choices and regular exercise, we also want them to understand that they are not defined by their physical appearance.
How Satan Attacks:
The enemy is hard at work in this area today! First, he tells our kids that they’re not uniquely made, but that they’re simply a result of a random combination of genes that’s taken millions of years to create.
Then he convinces our kids that they are mere animals with physical desires that should be fulfilled at any cost. He wants them to believe that physical pleasure (such as sexuality outside of marriage) is normal and right and that anyone who tells them differently is being judgmental.
In terms of health, he uses television and the media to oh-so-subtly promote certain body shapes as ideal over others. Tweens and teens are especially weak in this area since their bodies are rapidly changing on the outside and they are asking pivotal questions about self-identity on the inside. He convinces them that every measure must be taken to achieve these ideal body images, including those that lead to eating disorders and drug abuse.
How We Can Pray:
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 kids 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 kids 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 kids 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.
Area #3: Influences
\We want our kids to be surrounded by those who can influence them toward God’s great purpose for their lives; and we also want our kids to grow to become those people who influence others in powerful ways for the greater good.
How Satan Attacks:
Satan’s easiest way to attack here would be, of course, to simply surround our kids with bad influences. But he’s a little trickier than that.
While he still does try to place negative influences in our children’s lives, he knows that we are good parents who do our best to protect our kids from the bad influences.
So he often attempts the opposite: He does everything in his power to (subtly) keep the good influences out.
He keeps our kids away from God’s word. He keeps our children’s parents (that’s us!) too busy and distracted to influence our kids the way that we need to. He strengthens our children’s natural tendency to laziness and complacency.
Using books, television, news reports and social media, he slowly simmers our kids in the false thinking that truth is relative and not absolute. Through this process, he affirms the falsehood that an individual’s godly influence is irrelevant and can even be considered offensive and judgmental against others’ beliefs.
Slowly, he convinces them that they can’t make a difference and that they really don’t have the power the change things anyway, so why even try?
How We Can Pray:
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 kids desperately need.
Second, while we do pray that our kids 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 kids 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.
Area #4: Passions
We want our kids to live purposefully and passionately, always seeking God’s direction. We want them to grow up with a willingness to persevere, a deep understanding of the cost (and joys) of commitment, and to be unwilling to settle for complacency and comfort.
How Satan Attacks:
He distracts and confuses them. He encourages them to use emotion to guide their decision-making instead of seeking to align their passions with what God is already doing.
In addition, he doesn’t want our kids to understand or appreciate their unique personality and talents that God has divinely given them.
Instead, he encourages them toward laziness. He convinces them to be content with seeking self-pleasure and the easy way out. Through mindless pursuits, he keeps them numb to the better life of magnificent beauty that comes from following God’s wild and wonderful best path.
How We Can Pray:
God, help us to know how to guide our kids in their passions by blessing us with the divine wisdom to know when to joyfully open up the gates toward new freedoms and desires, and when to curtail our children’s passions because they’re not able to accept the responsibilities yet in full. Help us model to our kids what it means to live passionately for You by boldly following the dreams you’ve placed in our heart, never settling for complacency.
Help us to direct our kids with both cautiousness and courage, not allowing our own fears about “what if…?” get in the way of how You want to use them in the world. We pray that our children would continuously seek your ways and your wisdom, regardless of what life brings. We pray that they would understand their importance in the world and that you’d make clear to them at a very early age how they can use their God-given talents to play a role in Your passion to show both truth and love to the nations.
Area #5: Money, Possessions and Work
We want our children to have a healthy relationship with money, understanding that possessions are not equated to a person’s worth nor do they bring ultimate happiness. We want them to understand that the things of this world can bring us enjoyment, but that lasting joy is found only in God.
How Satan Attacks:
Like Eve in the Garden, the enemy teases and tempts our kids with good looking “fruit” (worldly possessions) that he promises will solve their problems and bring fulfillment.
He convinces them that they need to do everything they can to get ahead (including compromising their values, if need be) because having lots of money and possessions is the ultimate goal.
Through a spirit of ingratitude, he keeps them insecure, empty and preoccupied with thoughts of what they do not have so that they’re always looking for more.
How We Can Pray:
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 kids 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 kids 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 kids 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.
Brothers and sisters, let’s commit anew today to begin regularly fighting against the enemy’s schemes by powerfully praying for our kids in these areas!
Alicia Michelle, author, speaker and blogger at YourVibrantFamily.com, is passionate about helping women discover their beautifully imperfect journey through parenting, marriage, homeschooling, faith and homemaking. She’s also happily married homeschool mom of four curious and amazing kids who keep her on her toes!
Alicia is the author of the books Plan to Be Flexible and the Back to School Survival Manual. She also teaches the online video courses “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom,” and “bloom: A Journey to Joy (and Sanity) for Homeschool Moms”.
Publication date: September 6, 2016