Praying for Our Daughters
I didn’t intend to write this post. I planned to write about something else. But all that changed when I saw something in my Facebook feed this week that my mind cannot undo. It was a post about a teenager, Kenneka Jenkins, 19, who died tragically in a city not far from where I used to live. She left home to attend a party with friends. She probably had every intention of coming back home, but she never did.
Now that I’ve seen her face, now that I’ve read the news articles, now that I’ve watched the video of her mother crying, trying to understand what happened to her daughter, describing how she pleaded with police to see how her daughter died, I can’t shake any of it. My heart hurts – for Kenneka Jenkins, for her family, and for all those who loved her dearly. My heart hurts for girls and young women who, like Kenneka Jenkins never had a chance to grow up and experience the fullness of life because their lives were tragically cut short when they didn’t have to be.
I have two daughters and I can’t imagine the anguish that the mothers of these young girls feel. I don’t want to. I don’t want any of you reading this to have to experience that feeling. If you already have, then I truly am sorry because you’ve lost a part of you that you cannot get back.
As an outsider looking briefly into the lives of young ladies like Kenneka Jenkins, it’s more clear than ever that our daughters need our prayers. Not the “now I lay me down to sleep” type prayers that we learned as a kid. I’m talking about honest, passionate, heart wrenching prayers spoken through sweat and tears – as if this moment in prayer were our very last – and as if our daughter's lives depend on them. Because, really, they do. Life is coming at our girls full speed ahead. They’re exposed to so much more than many of us ever were. Some are carrying emotional burdens too intense to process. Many of their lives are void of the most essential relationships, and so they find themselves connected to people who, like the devil himself, seek to steal, kill and destroy every ounce of promise that they possess.
But I believe through prayer and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can fight for our daughters, and look to the future with confidence, trusting that God’s promise for their lives will be fulfilled.
what to pray for
Lord, let her honor you in every area of her life; let her life produce every kind of good fruit, and let her grow in her knowledge of You. (Colossians 1:10). Let her honor her father and mother that she may live a long, full life (Exodus 20:12), and teach her to obey them in all things, recognizing that this is well-pleasing to You. (Colossians 3:20)
Hide her in the protection of Your presence, safe from those who would seek to harm her (Psalms 31:20). Be her rock and her salvation, her fortress, so that she will never be shaken (Psalms 62:2). Keep her safe in Your righteousness, and come to her aid; hear her voice when she calls, and be her deliverer (Psalms 71:2).
Teach her to love wisdom (Proverbs 4:8). Let Your wisdom be her guide and put her in a place of honor (Psalms 73:24). Let her cry out to You for insight, and ask you for understanding (Proverbs 2:11). Help her to develop good judgement (Proverbs 4:5), and let wise choices watch over her and let understanding keep her safe (Proverbs 2:11).
Let her be a young woman of good character. Guard her heart (Proverbs 4:23). Don’t let her copy the behaviors of the world, but let Your Spirit renew her thoughts and attitudes (Romans 12:2). Remind her that her body is holy (Romans 12:1) and that it should be kept pure. Let no immoral speech come from her mouth (Ephesians 4:29). Clothe her with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12). Let her be respected, exercise self-control, and be faithful in everything she does (I Timothy 3:11).
Let her choose her friends wisely. Surround her with friends who are always loyal (Proverbs 17:17); friends who walk upright and fear the Lord (Proverbs 14:2); who live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2); who do not delight in evil but rejoice in the truth (I Corinthians 13:6). Surround her with friends who positively influence her (Proverbs 27:17) and encourage her to never harden her heart towards You (Hebrews 3:13).
Let her always experience Your peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Let Your peace forever guard her heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). Let her be a peacemaker, planting seeds of peace and reaping a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18). Take pleasure in her life, and cause her enemies to be at peace with her (Proverbs 16:7).
Let her always trust in Your unfailing love (Psalms 13:5) -- when she needs understanding and direction (Proverbs 3:5-6); and when her heart is troubled (John 14:1). Remind her to be strong and courageous, fearless and to rest assured that You are with her wherever she goes (Joshua 1:9). May she forever say, “I trust in you, Lord; you are my God.”
As you pray for your daughters – our daughters -- remember James 5:16 (NLT), which says, The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
May God encourage your hearts and fill you with wisdom to influence and raise virtuous young women for the glory of God.