Many children worldwide face circumstances that make them vulnerable or at-risk physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Hearing about vulnerable children may motivate us to pray. But, we may be left asking, How? How do we pray for children who face bullying, poverty, or the belief that they are unlovable? Here are 7 specific ways to intercede on behalf of vulnerable and at-risk children no matter what they face:
- Pray that they will experience transformation from a deep relationship with God.
The greatest defense we can offer children against the many obstacles they face is a relationship with our Savior. As they grow in the knowledge of who God is and what He has done for them, they begin to find identity beyond their circumstances. They may also begin impacting their communities to bring real, lasting change.
- Pray that they are able to resist external pressure and act in accordance with God’s Word.
Children may receive messages from their cultures and families that conflict with Scripture. For example, they may be asked to lie as a means of preserving someone’s honor. They may be pressured to remain silent when they see a parent do something wrong. They may be told to ignore bullying, rather than defending other children. Developing biblical character helps them to live with integrity in the midst of conflicting circumstances.
- Pray that they have physical protection from dangerous situations.
Whether they live in oppressive cultures, have abusive families, or face bullying in their schools, children are frequently in situations that threaten their physical safety. Ask the Lord to protect these precious children from hostility and danger of all forms.
- Pray that their spiritual, physical, and emotional needs are provided for.
Vulnerable children often have basic needs that are unmet. These needs may be physical needs, such as nutritional meals or a safe place to sleep for the night, but they may also be emotional and spiritual needs, such as family security and caring relationships. Pray that children would come to know God and discover that He sees them and provides for them.
- Pray that families and teachers of these children would cultivate a safe environment for children to encounter the love of Christ.
Children’s wellbeing and spiritual formation are deeply influenced by their home environments and their interactions with authority figures. Ask the Lord to provide people who will model His love—in their words and in their actions—so that children can experience it in tangible ways.
- Pray that they are able to heal from trauma and its lasting impact.
Trauma has many causes, including both large-scale events such as natural disasters, and more common occurrences such as moving to a new area or being bullied in school. Affected children experience trauma’s lasting impact in the form of mental, spiritual, physical, and relational effects. Beginning to heal from the scars of trauma allows children not only to have greater physical health, but also to form healthy relationships with God and others.
- Pray that children’s hearts would be overwhelmed with God’s love for them.
Because of difficult circumstances, some children may feel unlovable and unwanted. Believing that God’s love for them is everlasting may be difficult. They may think: God’s voice moves mountains, so how could He care for me and love me? Pray that God’s love would touch their hearts and shape their lives in powerful, eternal ways.