Prayers for Unbelieving Children

We have been given the privilege of praying for others. This means that we can pray for our children with confidence. Here are some ideas for praying for your children who are not followers of Christ. Adapt them according to the gender and situation. (Substitute “she/her/hers” for “he/him/his” where appropriate.)

Presupposition: What unbelievers need first and foremost is salvation. Without that, they cannot please God no matter how well-behaved they are (Rom. 8:8).


  • Thanksgiving to the Lord for each of your children. Praise for His sovereignty, wisdom, and love shown in placing each member into your family for His good purpose toward those who love Him and for His glory (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • That God would draw him/her to Himself, that he would listen to the Word and respond with repentance, faith, and submission (John 6:44; Rom. 10:14)
  • That the child would be convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment, to be persuaded of the need of the Savior (John 16:8)
  • That God would grant him repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth that he may come to his senses and escape from the snare of the devil (which is deception that keeps him trapped him in unbelief) (2 Tim. 2:25-26)



About Linda

Wifing, Singing, Studying, Counseling. I counsel at Gateway Biblical Counseling and Training Center. M.A. in Biblical Counseling. Certified by Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
This entry was posted in Parenting, Child-rearing, Prayer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Prayers for Unbelieving Children

  1. Joe Bigliogo says:

    I’ve an idea, why not accept them whatever they end up believing? Whether it’s your faith, another faith or no faith at all (atheism). That they chose thoughtfully and freely should be your primary concern. You pretty much have to respect their beliefs if you want them to respect yours in return.

    • Linda says:

      What you suggest is certainly an option that a parent may choose, but the consequences for that child last for eternity, beginning on earth.

      Eve thoughtfully and freely chose a faith other than faith in God. She was the first human to employ the scientific method. She accepted the serpent in spite of his faith. His words became a working hypothesis. She then applied her senses and reasoning to arrive at a conclusion. She observed that the tree was good for food. She observed that the fruit was a delight to the eyes. She tested the texture of the fruit by touch. She considered the evidence of trees and food around her and the testimony of the serpent. She reasoned and concluded that the tree was desirable to make one wise. In essence, she chose faith in the serpent and faith in the fruit to make her wise. Her thoughtfully and freely made choice reaped horrendous consequences.

      Thought and freedom do not make a choice either wise or valid; the choice can be deadly whether considered or impulsive. Despite what American culture says, thoughtful free choice is not the greatest virtue. Faith does not create reality; lack of faith does not make reality go away. My child once had great faith that playing in the street would make her happy. Her faith did not reflect reality and I did not just accept her and respect her belief.

      One can love and respect another without accepting that what they believe is truth. We all do so frequently in daily life. Correction ≠ disrespect.
      Jesus did not leave room for other faiths. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Therefore, any other faith is not the way, is false, and is death.

      Jesus didn’t tell people they could believe what they want without consequences. He warned that those who do not believe Him have been judged and, if they do not repent, will spend eternity in hell (John 3:18; 5:24). Of course we must not nag or browbeat, but if we do not warn a child about what Jesus said, if we do not tell a child the truth that could save his life, that is what would be unloving and disrespectful. Love would also hold out to the child the hope of forgiveness and eternal joy with God gained by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9).

      As for children still in the home, what you suggest raises a quandary for the Christian parent. Ephesians 6:4 commands parents to raise their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” That is God’s directive. It is not optional. Once children are grown, we love them and respect them, but that does not mean that we agree that any faith is acceptable to God other than the one He commands.

  2. Joe Bigliogo says:

    It is simply tragic to witness people taking such an unsophisticated literalist interpretation of scriptural doctrines clearly intended as parables. Even more disturbing is your dogmatic approach to holding these beliefs to the point where you feel they need to be imposed on young skeptics and atheists. Your theological position is one that declares war, not unlike the platitudes heard from histories notorious tyrants and dictators. The problem for you is that atheists quite strongly contend the reverse, that your beliefs are are both false and absurd, fostering intolerance and prejudice which is a very dangerous thing for peaceful human co-existence.

    Your personal belief that non-Christians are destined to be eternally tortured in hell, while suitable sick and twisted, is completely irrelevant to the issue because as atheists we don’t believe it. This renders the hell threat ineffective where rational minds are concerned. Your need to impose your personal theology also puts you in a rather vulnerable position. By not respecting young atheists right to their disbelief then you are rejecting the very principle that gives you your inalienable right to belief. In so doing you have forfeited your own rights in this matter. Who will then come to your aid when your beliefs are under attack? Fortunately the US and many other countries enshrine in their constitution the right to religious freedom… and like it or not that includes the right to reject religion. As atheists we claim this right for young and old alike.

    • Linda says:

      I can see that you place great faith in atheism and its teachings. Your reply demonstrates the hypocrisy of this doctrine of acceptance. You are dogmatic that I should accept your view while you remain intolerant of the truth about God.

      On one point we agree. The issue of whether God exists does not allow for any fence-straddling. Either God exists or He doesn’t. By definition, neither view can “accept” the other as true. God’s mandate for the Christian is to tell the gospel, not to demand that others accept it.

      Again, in neither case can one view accept the other as truth. That is why the leaders in Jesus’ day crucified Jesus. He presented Himself as God and others rejected that proposition. Jesus provided overwhelming evidence by the testimony of His teaching, of the prophets, and by miracles. Even His staunchest opponents, those who tried to find fault and had the power to investigate for shenanigans, never refuted His miracles. They could find no lie in Him. Nevertheless, rather than accept Him, they crucified Him.

      Even then, had they repented, He would have forgiven them because He died to pay the penalty for the sins of those who will repent. Then He rose, the Victor over death, and will one day judge all. He is merciful as well as just. His forgiveness is an option for you, too, if you turn to Him. I hope that one day, by the grace of God, you will know such joy.

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