7 Prayers for A Troubled Child

by | Jun 3, 2019 | what you can do | 17 comments

Sometimes parents don’t know how to pray for their troubled children. We need help. Today’s blog is a re-post of one written by my dear friend Judy Douglass. She’s a mom who loves prodigals and their brokenhearted parents because she’s a member of the club. Founder of the Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day, which was yesterday, June 2nd, her seven prayers are perfect for our troubled children.

Our sons and daughters may be caught in the clutches of alcohol, drugs or some other addiction, self-injury, mental illness, same-sex desire issues or may be incarcerated.

They need us to pray fervently and with power. Praying the Scriptures is the best way we know. Judy’s prayers will help us do exactly that . . . pray with power.

Praying for the people I love—my family, my friends, my co-workers, my church, my neighbors—is a joy and a privilege. When I know specifics to pray, I pray those. Often, though, I find my prayers are more general, using Scripture and the principles from the Word that the Father desires to be increasingly true in our lives.

Here are seven of the kinds of prayers I bring to Abba.

1. Love of God

May she know that You are so in love with her—that You delight in her. May she comprehend that she is loved and treasured by You, the God who has pursued her and rescued her and forgiven her. May she remember that nothing can ever separate her from Your love. (Jeremiah 31:3; Zephaniah 3:17; Romans 8:38-39)

2. Love for God

May he fall more in love with Jesus every day. May he love God above all else. May that love not grow cold or even lukewarm, but remain fire-hot! And may Your love in him flow through him to everyone in his life. (Mark 12:30; Revelation 2:4; John 15:12-13)

3. Forgiveness

May she know that in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. That her sins are forgiven, buried in the deepest sea, removed as far as the east is from the west, remembered no more. That the price for her sins was paid on the cross. (Romans 8:1; Psalm 103; Romans 6)

4. Light

May he know that he has been rescued from darkness and brought into the light of the Son. Protect him from the attacks of the evil one as he wears the full armor of God. May he choose to walk in the light, and to let that shine brightly to all around. (1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 6:10-18; Ephesians 5:8)

5. Work of Art

May she know that You were there forming her in her mother’s womb. May she believe that she is fearfully and wonderfully made—a beautiful work of art. May she discover and choose the wonderful plans and good works for which You created her. (Psalm 139:13-16; Ephesians 2:10.)

6. Image of God

May his life reflect You, Lord, as he is made in Your image. May he be increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ so that his thoughts, words, and actions are those of Jesus. May love, mercy, and grace be his trademarks and flow from him each day to everyone he encounters. (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 4:17; Isaiah 60:21)

7. Holy Spirit

May she consistently walk in the Holy Spirit, drawing on His wisdom and power to live in truth and justice. May she hunger and thirst for You and Your righteousness. May she be satisfied by You alone as You fill her with your Spirit. May she never settle for less than Your best. (Ephesians 5:18; Romans 8)

Of course, there is so much more to pray. Paul’s prayers in his letters cover many of these requests and others also. These prayers represent many of the truths of Scripture concerning what Christ has accomplished for us and what He continues to work in and through us. For me, these ensure that I am bringing each person before the Lord, for the most important answers I could desire.

You will see that these prayers are written in blessing form, and that’s how I like to pray. I love for my words and prayers to always be blessing those I love.

What about you? What are some of your favorite prayers?

C2017 Judy Douglass

Judy is the founder of Prayer for Prodigals (go to prayerforprodigals@gmail.com to join this website or request prayer) and Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals, and author of Letters to My Children: Secrets of Success and Shaped by God. Follow her blog Kindling on her website – JudyDouglass.com

3 books we at Hope for Hurting parents recommend to help you pray are:

The Power of a Praying Parent, The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, and The Power of a Praying Grandparent by Stormie Omartian.



  1. Laura Drury

    I have just found this blog through listening to Family Talk. Thank you for being here! I am a pastor’s wife and so thankful for these truths that can encourage all parents but especially those who have prodigals.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Laura, we’re so glad you found us, but we’re so sorry you need us. We pray that our blog and website will be a source of comfort, encouragement and support on a hard and painful journey that can be so terribly isolating. Please also check out the Prayer for Prodigals website (prayerforproidigals.com) for a confidential prayer community and even more wonderful resources. Our annual Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodiglas is June 2nd and many will pray for your loved one! I also hope you will sign up for my free email subscription. It’s one more way we can offer ongoing encouragement and support for your aching heart. Remember, you are NOT alone! (Isaiah 43: 1-5)

  2. Teresa Jackson

    I’m so glad I found this website. My daughter is 20 years old. She was brought up in church. She has always loved God. She is now with a guy who controls her, cheats on her, drinks and does marijuana. She moved out of our house and won’t listen to us at all. We don’t know what to do anymore. We are praying a lot but she just discourages us. Thank you for letting us know there are other parents going through the same thing. We feel so alone.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Yes, there are many in your shoes. I’m so sorry. Never give up praying. God is always at work, though it may take years. Release her back into His hands and focus on staying closely connected to Him and pray for wisdom to be able to keep a loving connection with her, too. God is able to reach her and open her eyes, but she may have to experience a lot of heartache before she’s ready to listen. I hope and pray my book will comfort and encourage you while you wait for that day. And please sign up for my free email subscription. Many parents tell me that it helps a lot.

    • Kim

      Teresa, this is almost my story exactly. I am praying now for your daughter’s eyes to be opened. My daughter is being told to abandon her faith and ” legalism” by this guy.

      • Tom and Dena Yohe

        Kim, bless you for your message to Teresa. May you be comforted as you reach out to comfort others.

  3. janet

    I am grandma,prayer wrighting and feeling rejection[no respont],powerless feel my grandson wast his life ,associate with bad peers,prayer holly spirit can into his mind,I kind feel hopeless,even should thanks praise god.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Dear Grandma Janet, may the Lord remind you that your prayers are powerful! We’re so sorry for the painful rejection you are feeling. It hurts so bad, doesn’t it? Powerlessness is terrible to experience, BUT never forget that God is still able to do the impossible. We pray your dear grandson will one day stop wasting this life he’s been given and that the Holy Spirit will bring him to faith in Jesus. A book you might like that can strengthen your faith in what God can do is He is Able by Priscilla Shirer.
      God bless you with His comforting peace today.

  4. cindy guettler

    I was driving home from work when I heard yall testimony on family life and it hit home, our son is going down that path. We didn’t know until we were called from the college that he was attending to come get him because he was arrested for drugs on school campus. that was in 2010 and we have been dealing with ups and downs with him sense. he has been to rehab once and that didn’t really do anything, So we kept on talking and then we thought that he was done with all that, but we were wrong, last year he and this girl had a baby and he got his life together got a good job, that baby was his drive to do better but in Oct the momma took the baby and it been downhill since, He does not get to see her and it breaking his heart. We realized that he was headed back down that path again, but worst this time I am afraid, He has admitted to us that he smoking again and it breaks my heart because I know that he is called by GOD and I can’t do anything but keep praying and hoping he see the light. For his daughter sake. I am at wit’s end and don’t know what else to do.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Cindy, I love how God works in our lives and orchestrates a way to bring us what we need when we need it! We do hope the program encouraged you. Our hearts break for the painful path you’ve been on with your son. It must hurt you so much to see him suffering like this and not be able to do anything about it. I pray he will come to the end of himself and turn to God today. May he soon grow tired of living life his way, seeing clearly that his way doesn’t work. May he fall on his knees and surrender himself to his Maker, choosing to live joyfully in the call that’s on his life. And may the Lord strengthen, sustain, comfort and uphold you (and your husband). I know you feel so weak, but when we are weak then we are strong in Him. Your end is His beginning. His power has no limit. He knows just what is needed and is able to do it. His strength shows up best in our weakness,
      “And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9).

      I like this quote: I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let him.
      May that become your son’s testimony, and yours. And may he be delivered from the schemes of the Evil One once and for all, set free from all bondage to live for the Lord.

      I hope my book will comfort and help you, too. I wrote it for parents just like you.
      Blessings to you and thank you for reaching out to us.

  5. Katherine

    I didn’t know something like this existed. Thank you. My daughter is on a path that I don’t know how to get her off. Or help her get off. She is in her final year in college suffering from anxiety and depression and she is self medicating with alcohol. Just making poor choices time after time. I get late night and early morning distress calls … she’s in another city. I don’t even know what to pray any more.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Katherine, we’re so glad you found us but so very sorry you need us. If only we knew how to get our children off their dangerous paths. How hard to know your daughter is suffering so and self-medicating that way . . . but God is bigger. Has she sought out any help yet for her anxiety and depression? Her college probably offers free counseling, psychiatric evaluations, and even extra help with her classes – special arrangements for taking exams, etc. She could check into it just to find out. It’s not such a shameful thing as it was in the past. She might be surprised to find out how much help is available.
      Our website lists some books on prayer you might really like. We really enjoyed using them when we ran out of ideas of how to pray.
      A favorite is Prayers for Prodigals near the top of the list. Two other good ones are: The Power of a Praying Parent and How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones (we really need to group our books by topic!). If you order a book through our website, it takes you to Amazon, but we get a small percent of the sale to help with our ministry expenses.

  6. Melanie

    Need prayer for my son he is busy with the wrong friends and disrespectful to us at home. Please I need prayer.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Melanie, we are so sorry. May God guide you to your next steps; what boundaries to set and appropriate consequences. Having the right friends is so important. Lord, please bring better friends into Melanie’s son’s life. Sow the seeds of discontent in his heart, so that he would begin asking the right questions that would ultimately lead him to you. I don’t know how old your son is, but here are two books that might be of some help: (both are on the “recommended books” tab on our website)
      Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children, Allison Bottke (principles apply to any age)
      Relief for Hurting Parents, Buddy Scott (adolescents)

      Warmly in Christ,

  7. Melanie

    May God bless u thank you. He I is 20years old

  8. Melony

    Thank you for sharing these Beautiful prayers. ❤

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Melony, we are so glad they helped. God uplift and hold you close today. He is with you and He is working.