How To Pray For A Wayward Child

by Pamela Rose Williams · Print Print · Email Email

Being parents is one of the greatest honors and blessings the Lord gives to a husband and wife. Parenthood takes you on a journey that requires wisdom as you raise your child/children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You pray that as you raise your children that they will make good choices that will bless their life as well as those around them. You hold fast to the promise that when you “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). You begin to make memories that you recall even when your children have grown into adults and have begun a new journey.

While parenting can be a blessing, sometimes we are faced with the reality that we have a wayward child. This is the child that is making bad choices and is dealing with the consequences that come with it. Sometimes that child’s choices even bring consequences to other members in the family. Perhaps they have fallen into the wrong group of friends. Maybe they are participating in activities that are not God-honoring. Perhaps they have even left your home in rebellion. This is when you might need some help in knowing how to pray for a wayward child. Here are some things that you might consider.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

Pray a Hedge of Protection

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (Psalm 91:4-6)

One of the most distressing things about a wayward child is that as parents (or other loved ones) we are continually concerned about their safety. Pray that the Lord will place that hedge of protection around this child. Pray that the enemy is held at bay even during the time that this child is making poor choices. Pray that circumstances will present opportunities for them to remember that they have refuge in the Lord.

Ask God to Help You Remember Scriptures

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

God gives us His word so that we can learn from it. One of the greatest things we can learn is that when we hide His word in our heart that it is there when we need it most. Ask the Lord to continually bring your memory verses back to your mind so that you can rest in Him. You cannot have victory in any life circumstance without God; you are not strong enough on your own and that is why we have the Comforter. Count on the Holy Spirit – He will sustain you. Give it to Him and don’t take it back.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Let Holy Spirit Do His Job

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:13-15)

Sometimes you can talk about the Lord with this wayward child until you are blue in the face, truly. But you cannot be his/her Holy Spirit. The Bible promises us that He “will guide in all truth”, He will “shew things”. Our job is to share the truth that comes from God but it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict a person of the right thing. Pray that circumstances – “God appointed circumstances” — are presented so that the Holy Spirit can do His job. His way is so much better than our way!

Tell Others and Ask for Prayers

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:9-11)

Having prayer warriors is essential in the life of a Christian. Sometimes it is a matter of “family business” and we might think that we should keep silent about our wayward child. But in the case when you believe your friends and other family members might be your prayer warriors in this circumstance, tell them about what is going on. Ask them to pray that this child would return to the loving arms of our Heavenly Father and maybe even return to the safety of your home. The Bible clearly encourages us to pray for one another. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16b)

Final Thoughts

Dealing with a wayward child is indeed one of the greatest challenges that any parent faces. Rest assured that your commitment to continually praying for this child and engaging the prayers of other believers will help to ease your burden. It is my hope and prayer that if you are dealing with a wayward child that the Bible and fervent prayer will soothe your soul.

More parenting advice: Christian Parenting Advice for Raising Teenagers

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

DocReits July 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

A good word Pamela. Please pray with me for my son, Daniel. He is wayward and needs to be awoken to the Truth of the Faith in which he was raised.

Thank you,



Jack Wellman July 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Doc, my son is in the same situation, Andrew has strayed far from God and what I fear is that he was never soundly saved in the first place. Pam does excellent work and this is no exception. Doc, let’s pray for our children to come to the knowledge of the Lord so that they can see their sins, repent, confess them and put their trust in the Savior.


DocReits July 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Amen Pastor Jack,

Andrew is added to my prayer list. May the veil be lifted from our wayward children’s eyes, in order that they may see the Light. Father we implore You, through your Holy Spirit… ” Save our children, in Jesus Name!”.



Pamela Rose Williams July 8, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Hello Doc and Jack, please know that even now I pray for the wellfare of your sons. I pray that they recognize their need for Jesus and surrender to Him. “Lord God please draw Daniel and Andrew close to you. Open their eyes an hearts to their need for you and your ways. Protect them even in the midst of their unbelief ans/or rejection of Your word. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen”


Michelle February 18, 2021 at 10:01 am

My daughter name is Maria Hemraj she ran away from home on January 26 2021 and the family and police r searching for her she followed wrong friends please pray for me to find she alive and well in Jesus name amen


Jack Wellman February 18, 2021 at 11:06 am

I will pray with you Michelle.


Jaylin Palacio July 19, 2015 at 1:32 pm

I needed this. Please pray for my daughter Alexis to come back to the Lord with her whole heart and to be surrounded by wise friends.


Patricia S October 19, 2015 at 9:55 pm

Hello Doc & Jack, I stand in agreement with Pamela that God will save your sons & deliver & free their minds from the stronghold of the devil. I pray the same for Miss Alexis. May God protect them until they come back home to the house of the Lord & God gives them all pure hearts for Him. Please pray for my 3 daughters as well, Auddia, Ayrria, & Willeaha. Amen!!!


Rosa C November 19, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Please pray for my 11 year old daughter. She was recently diagnosed with ADHD and depression and is now on medication. She is a very bright girl, but she is starting to make bad decisions and allowing her moods and emotions dictate her actions. Please pray that she sees how this is affecting everything around her and that she resolves to change her attitude about life in general.
I Jesus’ name we pray!


Pamela Rose Williams November 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm

I will pray for your dear daughter Rosa, please be sure to share her mood swings and bad decision making with the doctor that prescribed her medication. This may be a side effect and could be dangerous to her or those around her.


Glenda February 1, 2016 at 9:06 am

Please pray for my granddaughter Pamela. Cassia is failing in school. Talks back, know everything, is not listening. Please pray for deliverance and intervention. Amen


mame t July 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Please pray for my child to come home..She is living with a uneducated drug dealer.. Please pray that the lord will take care of her & she will return back to college with no disease, pregnancy, or drug problem.


Barbara Chandler July 22, 2016 at 2:09 am

Please help me in praying for my son.when he was young he went to prison. He should not have gone to prison but the judge said he wanted to set an example. After that it made him angry. He started drinking. Well because of bad choices and drinking , he went to prison again. He has such a kind and giving heart but here come Satan again and the bad choices. If he ever goes to prison again it will be for life. I know the power of prayer and i am asking for joined prayer for all of our wayward family members. We are commanded to pray one for the other. God Bless you all and I will be in prayer for All our kids.


Jackie August 9, 2016 at 6:52 am

Please pray for my Andrew also. Not a child anymore– but always my child. He is living well, and thinks he is invincible. Too many ungodly friends. Please pray that he would awaken to the fact that he needs Christ in his life. Please pray for me also that I would be able to leave him at Jesus feet.


Denise July 31, 2017 at 7:09 pm

How do I pray for my children who are not even believers. Every time I try to talk about God with them – they get very made at me. They are not interested. I need extra prayers for my middle daughter who just had a baby – and it is a mess. I don’t know how to just let God handle it – I worry for the baby’s safety. I feel so helpless and guilty


Jack Wellman August 1, 2017 at 9:04 am

How old are these children Denise? If they are older then they will have to figure this out themselves, but talking too much about God might be driving them away. I would call your pastor and ask for the church to pray for you as an “unspoken needs.” God can handle it. It is not up to you to save your children. God is the one Who saved (John 6:44).


William Mundundu October 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Pray for daughter. She shows no interest in school – everything you have to remind her. She has been involved in excessive beer drinking and very moody. Over the last 3 months, she decided to beer drinking and other bad habits. Last week, she drifted and went out for beer around 4pm and came back 5am following morning. She needs deliverance.


William Mundundu October 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Pray for daughter. She shows no interest in school – everything you have to remind her. She has been involved in excessive beer drinking and very moody. Over the last 3 months, she decided to stop beer drinking and other bad habits, but alasc last week, she drifted away and went out for beer drinking around 4pm and came back 5am following morning. She needs deliverance.


Jack Wellman October 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Hello William. I am praying now. I too was a prodigal, but God never gave up on me. God knows the end from the beginning, so let’s pray that God convicts your daughter of this sin of school neglect and drinking better. How old is she? I am sorry for this heartache?


William Mundundu October 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

She is 22 and was supposed to be in her 2nd year at University, but decided not to sit for exams in the last semister and thus was excluded. She gives me no respect in some cases, but when she wakes up on her right side, she is a joyous young lady. The problem I see in her is inability to resist bad friends. Please continue praying for her. I will never give up on her, but continue committing her to the Lord. She will be a testmony to others so that they too are saved.


Jack Wellman October 19, 2017 at 1:55 pm

I will pray William. So sorry for all of t his.


Cindy January 18, 2018 at 3:54 am

My son is 24 and not walking with the Lord. He is surrounded by friends that are not motivated to do anything but party. He seems to have a desire to go back to school and do better for him self, but every time he tries the enemy sucks him back in. He still lives at home for now, but my husband is pretty much done with his lack of motivation to do anything for him self. Please add Derek to your prayers.


Claudette C Clay December 17, 2018 at 10:03 pm

Please pray with me for my grandson. He Is rebelling against his parents.


Joke September 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm

Pls pray for my daughter Olamide, 32 years old, disobedient and has no respect for her parents, always with bad friends, very ungodly, always taking wrong decisions. She is very worldly. She is far from Jesus. She needs delverance. Pls pray with me that holy spirit convict her. Her actions is making us sad. Her disobedience made her had a child that is not claimed by the father. She sees things differently from ours always. worried mum


Jack Wellman September 8, 2019 at 8:31 pm

Praying now my freind.


Adeola Adeboye January 15, 2020 at 11:44 pm

Pls,pray for my 22year old son who surrounds himself with bad friends who constantly participate in Yahoo fraud and also into drugs and smoking.our son is also involved and doesn’t like the idea of giving his life to Christ.pls help by praying for him.


Adeola Adeboye January 15, 2020 at 11:45 pm

Pls,pray for my 22year old son who surrounds himself with bad friends who constantly participate in Yahoo fraud and also into drugs and smoking.our son is also involved and doesn’t like the idea of giving his life to Christ.pls help by praying for him.his name is Kenneth.thanks


Donna April 7, 2020 at 7:02 am

Please pray for my daughter, Trevor. She went away to college a Christian, and came home an agnostic, sometimes close to an Atheist. I worry night and day for her. I have talked and talked to her, but it only angers her; thus, I have given her completely to God.

God Bless You All!


Jackline December 26, 2020 at 7:57 am

Pray for son Fortune who has joined band friends who smoke bang and take alcohol. He has been serving in Gods house but suddenly have left to join this group. Pray for his comeback to the service of God and salvation.


Jack Wellman December 26, 2020 at 10:17 am

Praying for him my friend.


Bev March 11, 2021 at 11:20 am

Please pray for my 3 children and the spouses. They all at one time served and loved the Lord. But since Covid snd the crazy and horrible things that’s happening in our country they have walked away. Now they don’t think they want a relationship with us because we don’t support he LGBTQ lifestyle. My heart is so broken.


Jack Wellman March 11, 2021 at 12:21 pm

I will pray for them for sure. I am so sorry for this great heartache.


Kenyada April 30, 2021 at 10:02 pm

Please stand with me in prayer as I am dealing with a lot with my children. Especially my older 2 boys. Drinking and smoking and people in their life who mean them no good. I need help. I am trying to hold on in faith. It is just challenging because everything seems to get worse and worse.


KRISTI JARRELL June 23, 2021 at 10:38 am

Please pray for our daughter Abby…she is saved and has been in church and served the Lord all her life. She recently met someone that has drawn her away from the Lord and she has started drinking and not coming home. she left 31/2 weeks ago and we haven’t heard from her since. We are trying to be strong and let God deal with her! This is truly the one of the hardest things our family has ever dealt with. Please pray for the Holy spirit to convict Abby of her sin and let true repentance take place!
thank you and God Bless!!!


Jack Wellman June 23, 2021 at 11:14 am

I will pray for her too and ask others who read this to do the same.


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