How Guilt Holds You Back from Praying for Your Kids

November 20, 2019

Joanna Teigen

For many years, the word “prayer” brought up feelings of guilt and frustration. After all, good Christian moms pray all the time about everything, right? I just knew I was blowing it when it came to praying for my children. Maybe you feel like me, and guilt holds you back from praying for your kids. You and I tell ourselves,


I don’t pray often enough.

I don’t pray hard enough.

I don’t pray specifically enough.

I must not love my kids enough.

I must not love God enough.


Those negative emotions held me back even more from approaching God in prayer. It wasn’t until a crisis—when prayer was all I had left—that God began showing me how prayer brings freedom, not guilt and shame.


Prayer is the act of placing my children in God’s hands. It’s realizing I cannot protect them from harm. I can’t teach them everything they need to know. I’m unable to give them real happiness or make their dreams come true. I can’t make them be good or save their souls. Compared to what God can do, I can’t do much. There is freedom in taking those burdens off of myself and placing them on the Lord in prayer.

Here are three ways prayer brings freedom to our lives as moms and dads:


Freedom from Fear

I can’t always protect my children in their own back yard, much less from danger and violence in the world around us. At school, I can’t surround them with loyal friends or make the bully on the playground treat them with respect. Even if I load my purse with hand sanitizer, I can’t shield them from every sickness and injury. If I make it my job to keep my kids totally safe, I become a controlling worrier who won’t let them out of my sight.


Through prayer, God gives me wisdom in setting safe and reasonable boundaries. He gives the assurance that he’s watching over them even when I can’t. He reminds me that “he who watches over [them] will not slumber,” and “the Lord will watch over [their] coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:3, 8) In prayer I claim his powerful promises to love and care for my kids wherever they go.


Freedom from Anger

Our kids push all our buttons. They bend the truth. They come home late. Arguing and complaining, they blow off their responsibilities. They resist our rules and limits. No matter how faithfully we teach them or discipline by the book, we can see obedience as just a hopeless dream.


Through prayer, I quiet my anger and put responsibility for my children back where it belongs. Only God can change my daughter’s heart. Only God can motivate my son to grow and mature. He’s the one able to “create a pure heart” and “renew a steadfast spirit” in my kids as he calls them to himself. (Psalm 51:10)


Praying for my kids’ attitudes and character soothes my frustration. It sets me free to accept my kids just as they are today. I can forgive each of their weaknesses and trust God will work in their lives in his perfect timing.


Freedom from Control

It’s tempting to think I know the path my kids should take. It’s easy to move from enjoying their talents to pushing for achievement and perfection. I can manipulate their social life to steer them to the ‘right’ friends. “Helping” with homework could guarantee an A. I could stay up late researching colleges and scholarships so they have the best shot at success.


Through prayer, however, I lay down my own hopes and goals. I place them in God’s hands. God quiets me so my kids can explore opportunities without my interference. I can ask God to reveal his perfect plans and to put his desires in their hearts. I’m set free to enjoy watching each of my children’s lives unfold.


I’ve seen the Lord answer prayers for each of my children. Amazed, I’ve watched God help my kids overcome emotional issues, learning challenges, and physical injuries. I’ve seen beautiful healing from loneliness and bullying. I’ve been awestruck as they received salvation in Christ after struggling with doubt and rebellion. God is faithful—he promises to listen and never turns his back on you and me.


But the unexpected gift of prayer was in how it’s changed me. The freedom from fear, anger, and control allows me to love my children more fully. I’m set free to enjoy my children as unique creations of God himself. And it lets me connect with the father-heart of God who loves them even more than I do.


The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken
those who seek you.
(Psalm 9:9-10)



(Originally posted at



If guilt holds you back from praying for your kids, we want to offer help and encouragement today. Powerful Prayers for Your Son and Powerful Prayers for Your Daughter were created to help you share your burdens for your kids with the God who loves you all.








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Leave a comment, sharing  an answered prayer OR a prayer request for your child.

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