How Jesus Changed Peter in the Bible

Peter is one of my favourite people in the Bible (aside from Jesus of course). Peter is known for speaking his mind and confronting situations head-on. I can very much relate to this. I have gotten myself in trouble a time or two for what had come out of my mouth. In today’s post, we will see how Jesus changed Peter in the Bible.

Even though Peter is so sure of himself and continues to stumble- Jesus still had a plan for Peter and still used him to build the universal Church. 

That humbles me. 

That regardless of my imperfections, Jesus still has a plan for me and can use me to build His kingdom. 

Let’s see how Peter changed over time. 

A man standing on rocks near the water. Beside the picture are the words How Jesus changed Peter in the Bible.

5 Things we learn about Peter

1. Peter was a fisherman

When we first meet Peter he is fishing with his brothers. 

Matthew 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

Jesus was gathering up disciples. He knew who He was looking for and came upon Simon (Peter) and his brother. 

These men were simple fishermen and ordinary men. God saw them and called them to follow Him.

I love that God calls ordinary people to follow and obey Him. This proves that we don’t need to have a certain level of education or knowledge to obey God and that God can use simple things and ordinary people to do extraordinary things. 

2. Peter witnessed Miraculous things

Once Jesus selected Peter as a disciple, he saw many miraculous things. 

Matthew 4: 23-25  And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

Peter would have been witness to people being healed in front of his eyes. He would have seen people full of disease be instantly healed. He would have seen demon-possessed people be overpowered by the power of God and leave people. 

Peter had first-hand experience with the power of Jesus. These experiences were teaching Peter who Jesus was and what He could do. These years of ministry were a wonderful training ground for the purpose that Jesus had for Peter. 

3. Peter was brave

Matthew 14:22-33 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

You probably are very familiar with this story, but it is one of my favourites. Jesus came to the disciples and walked on water. The disciples did not recognize them but when the disciples found out it was Jesus– Peter was the only one to cry out and say: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He (Jesus” said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

Peter was brave enough to ask God to call him out and was even brave enough to get out of that boat when Jesus asked him to come. 

I would love to think that if I was on that boat that I would have been like Peter and ask Jesus to tell me to come. But the truth is, I don’t like risk. I sometimes don’t like not knowing what obeying Jesus to come will cost me. 

Getting out of my Boat

About 9 years ago, the youth group my husband and I helped run was studying the bible study book called: If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat. 

The biggest takeaway for me from that book was relating the boat to my comfort zone and related walking on water to getting out of my comfort zone. 

The question that stayed with me was: what is your comfort zone?? Is God calling you out of your comfort zone?

At that time, I knew that my hometown (Ottawa, Ontario) was my comfort zone. 

Within a year of finishing that study, God had called my husband and I to move away from Ottawa and go to Edmonton, Alberta (pretty much the other side of the country and much more North). 

God had used that study to prepare me to trust Him as He called me out of my comfort Zone. The journey was not easy, but anytime we faltered and were tempted to not believe- God was there to catch us. 

What comfort zone are you in?? 

Do you hear God calling you?? 

Do you have the faith to step out of your comfort zone?? 

4. Peter Boldly declares who Jesus is

Matthew 16:13-18  When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 

Jesus spent his ministry on earth training his disciples to preach the gospel once He had ascended to heaven. As any good teacher would do, Jesus asked probing questions to make sure that the disciples understood who He was. 

When Jesus asked: Who do you say I am? Only one person answers: That was Peter. 

Peter clearly declares that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. 

“This is what Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament (affiliate link, see disclosure policy) says about these verses: 

“ The Christ. The Messiah, the Anointed of God. Matthew 11:14.

 The Son. That is, the Son by way of eminence, in a peculiar sense. Matthew 1:17. This appellation was understood as implying Divinity, John 10:29-36.

 Of the living God. The term living was given to the true God, to distinguish him from idols, that are dead or lifeless blocks and stones. He is also the Source of life-temporal, spiritual, and eternal. The term living is often given to him in the Old Testament, Joshua 3:10, 1 Samuel 17:26,36, Jeremiah 10:9,10 etc. 

In this noble confession, Peter expressed the full belief of himself and his brethren that he was the long-expected Messiah. Other men have very different opinions of him, but they were satisfied, and were not ashamed to confess it.” 

When reading this passage, the question becomes personal. Who do you (insert your name) say I am? 

How would you answer that question? 

Can you declare as clearly and boldly who Jesus is? 

I know that for me, I know who Jesus is and proclaim Him as my saviour. But, when it comes to sharing the gospel with others– I fall short. 

Peter’s declaration convicts me to root my faith in Jesus and to boldly declare who He is.

 

5. Peter was Self Assured 

It’s easy to think about the disciples and believe that they were better than we were. But the bible is clear that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 

That is the case for Peter. Even though he could boldly declare who Jesus was, he often faltered in other areas. 

Matthew 26: 31-35 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

Before Jesus faced the cross, He warned his disciples what was to come. He did not use specific language but figurative language. Here Jesus warns that all the disciples would be made to stumble. 

Peter hears this and quickly exclaims that he will not stumble regardless of what other disciples do. Jesus was quick to tell him that Peter would deny Him 3 times. 

I have been a chrisitian for a long time. My history sometimes makes me confident in my ability to keep my faith. The thing is, I am rooting my faith in my abilities and not in Christ. 

I sometimes take my faith for granted and forget that I could not have faith without God. I also sometimes forget that I need God to have faith because (in my own view) I have been doing such a good job lately. 

We all know that pride comes before a fall. 

Anytime I have been so sure that I could not stumble- something comes along in my life to remind me how much I need God and that I am a sinner without Him. 

Peter was the same. He had grand ideas about how firm his faith and devotion to God was…… only to be proven wrong shortly after. 

Are you proud of your faith? What is that pride based in? Do you depend on God for your faith, or on yourself? 

 

Peter Denies Christ 

Just a little while after Peter had confidently said that He would never falter– he was tested. 

Matthew 26: 69-75 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny Him. 

We read this account and see that exactly what Jesus had predicted came true. 

Peter was asked 3 times if he knew Jesus or was part of Jesus’ circle. Each time he was asked, Peter denied knowing Jesus. 

Then Peter heard the rooster crow. At that moment he realized what he had done and left and wept bitterly. 

As christians, there are times in our life when we may be tempted or we do actually deny Christ. 

I would love to say that no matter what happened to me, I would never waiver……… But the truth is, I don’t know. 

I always admire all the martyrs for Jesus. They were not afraid of death and declared Jesus even while facing cruel ends. 

What about you? What do you think you would do in Peter’s shoes?? 

How Jesus Changed Peter in the Bible 

In the previous part of this post, I shared some of the things we know about Peter. We learned that even though Peter could declare who Jesus was and was brave, that He was self-assured and ended up denying Christ. 

When I read these passages about Peter, I see a man who deeply loves Jesus but is not full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not come yet and Peter was doing his best to love Jesus without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

I can hardly hold on with the help of The Holy Spirit. I hate to think about what my relationship with God would be without the Holy Spirit. 

Thankfully, where we left off in the story of Peter is not the end. Let’s keep going and see what happens to Peter after Jesus is crucified and resurrected. 

A relationship is restored

We know Peter denied Christ on the night of his trial. I’m sure Peter felt crushed about his actions. Watching Jesus die, he probably thought that it was too late to ask Jesus for forgiveness or gain back the relationship he had with Jesus before the denial. 

But, Jesus had other plans. 

John 21:15-16  So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Jesus specifically seeks out Peter and asks him 3 times if Peter loves him. Each time, Peter answers Yes, I love you. 

This portion of the bible is so precious to me. 

Jesus did not leave Peter even though Peter left Jesus. 

Jesus gave Peter 3 opportunities to declare his love for Him. 

Each of these times corresponds with one of Peter’s denials. It’s almost like one declaration of love erases one denial. 

Jesus is in the business of restoring us to Him. 

When we fall, trip, mess up— whatever– He is always there waiting for us. His death makes it possible for each of our sins to be washed away. 

The bible has many verses about the cleansing of our sins through Christ. The verse below is one of my favourites. 

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

No matter how many sins we have committed, once we ask for forgiveness we are cleansed from our unrighteousness. The cross washes away our sin. 

Jesus knows we will fall and that sometimes we will fail. BUT!!!! He is waiting for us to come to Him. 

When we ask for forgiveness, it restores our relationship with Christ. 

Do you have sin that you need to ask forgiveness for? If so, what is keeping you from seeking forgiveness??

There is no sin too small or too large. Christ has already paid the price for our sins. He is waiting for you. Will you come? 

Peter became the man God intended 

Once the disciples were filled with the holy spirit, they started doing the work that Jesus had told them to do. 

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Earlier in this post, I mentioned Jesus had a plan for Peter. 

Jesus was going to use Peter to build the Christian Church.  (Matthew 16:18)

If you continue to read the book of Acts and the Books that Peter wrote himself, we see that Peter does exactly what He had planned. 

Peter becomes a pillar of the church. 

Acts 2:37-39 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Peter was no longer afraid or full of guilt. He had restored his relationship with Jesus and was full of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, Peter could accomplish God’s will for his life. 

Conclusion

Peter is a fascinating character. 

Before being filled with the Holy Spirit we see Peter was a simple fisherman who struggled with self-assurance and even denied Christ. He depended on his abilities and on his own strength. 

But, after the crucifixion and now being filled with the Spirit, Peter puts all his efforts into accomplishing what God had given him to do. We see Peter can boldly share the gospel and has newfound confidence. But this time, his confidence is not in himself, but confidence in Christ and dependence on the Holy Spirit. 

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit completely changes Peter’s work from fishing for food to fishing men. 

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God can give us a path that is so much more fulfilling than a 9-5 job. It’s not to say that we all need to quit our day jobs, but we do need to remember that each and every Christian is called to share their faith and glorify God. 

What about you? 

Do you hear God calling you to do something? 

Are you willing to step out in faith and obey God’s call? 

Who do you depend on? 

In the comments below, share which part of Peter’s character do you identify with most. 

Please help me spread this message by sharing this post. Thank you!!!

What it Means to be a Child of God

I am so excited to share this blog post with you. It is part of my series on our identity in Christ. Today’s post is written by Cathy McIntosh. She is an author, speaker, and blogger.  Cathy is passionate about helping women nourish their spirits and pursue their calling to follow God. Today, she shares with us what it means to be a child of God.

To learn more about Cathy, read her bio at the end of the blog post, or connect with her on her blog cathymcintosh.com, Instagram, or Facebook.

A picture of a woman sitting on a couch. Beside the picture are the words what does it mean to be a child of God?

All at once, our world shifted. One moment we were living the blessed life, hard at work, and pursuing our comfortable, daily routines.  The next moment we found ourselves in isolation, reading headlines that spur fear and anxiety.

We watch for God to move through this trial. We hope to see His power and might,  but instead, we see very little obvious involvement. As His children, we wonder, “Where is God in all of this?” Our unvoiced concern is “Has He abandoned us?”

In times of trials and crisis, a steadfast knowledge of what it means to be a child of God can be the difference between conquering a fear or succumbing to it.

Knowing what God says about us as His children can secure our faith when it seems the world has gone off-kilter. The problem is, we’re familiar with what the Bible says, but its truth doesn’t always transition from our heads to our hearts. 

Determining our value

Instead of resting in the truth of what God says about us as His children, we assess our personal value based on what we do rather than who we are. Even in our slowed world, it’s hard to be still because we see so much that needs to be done.

  • employers want us to work from home,
  • schools want us to coach our kids through online curriculum,
  • we’re to keep those same kids entertained without the benefit of neighbourhood friends or fun, local destinations
  • the result of panic-buying leaves us to create healthy family meals with missing or unusual ingredients
  • we must keep our homes—and our hands—cleaner than ever to avoid illness
  • we long to offer help to those in need

In many ways, it feels too much to bear. How we know we should feel is drastically different from our raw emotions.

We easily identify with the Apostle Paul when he declared in

Romans 7:15 (CSB), “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” 

We hate feeling fearful and the idea of working to earn God’s favour. Yet that’s just where our thoughts and our emotions land.

We want to walk in unshakeable faith, but our anxiety and rampant emotions get in the way.

In an attempt to mask it all, we’re tempted to press into our to-do list instead of pressing into God.  It’s as if we need to prove our worth to help fend off anxiety. Somewhere deep inside we believe if we can accomplish good tasks, it may pull our attention from all the things we know we shouldn’t do. Like worrying and fretting.

It’s imperative to remember who we are in Christ. You can read more about the benefits here.

The struggle to embrace what it means to be a child of God

During a time in my professional life, I worked in a very small office. Our team brought in a new, part-time employee who was highly qualified and a good fit for our team. There was much I liked and appreciated about him, including his commitment to Christ.

Because of my position, I was privy to his employment package. Although he worked part-time, his hourly rate of pay was far more than my own.

His skill set was fairly technical, so I could see the justification in pay. Mostly. What really got under my skin was the benefits package he received. From his hire date, he received 3 weeks of paid vacation per year. After 7 years of employment with the company, I had just recently reached the benefit of 3 weeks of vacation.

As much as I tried to stuff my emotions, I was really struggling. I knew how unprofessional my emotions were. I knew that I had accepted what I was offered when I started my employment and that my employer had fulfilled every promise made to me.

There’s a story about this in Matthew 20:1-16. A landowner hired workers for his vineyard, paying those he hired in the afternoon as much as those who’d worked all day. He asked the disgruntled workers, “Are you jealous because I acted with generosity?” 

I felt that same question stir my spirit and my answer was YES! Yes I was jealous!!

It’s my nature to obsess over situations and this was no exception. I began wrestling with God about my own pride and the truth of His Word. How I knew I should be feeling was drastically different from how I was feeling.

When this man was hired, I felt completely undervalued and taken for granted. It was like my employer had just poured gasoline on a buried piece of hot coal that neither he nor I realized existed. For something so simple to bother me so deeply, I knew I obviously faced a much bigger problem.

Turning to God for help

I’ve learned something very helpful. If I want to identify what triggers certain attitudes and behaviours in my life, I do something radical. I ask God. Straight out.

So I asked the Lord why I was so wrapped around the axel over this situation. In time, he revealed a battle I’ve fought for ages: the temptation to estimate my own personal value.

As I asked God to reveal the problem, He stirred memories in my heart. I could finally see that I learned to believe that my value is derived from things I produce, my grades, my success, my pay.

While the battle hadn’t raged to this degree before, God helped me see that it wasn’t a new problem. I struggled with personal value many times before.

It was prompted by things like

  • The schoolmate who stopped being friendly when I started covering my paper during a test
  • Struggles with a college organic chemistry class when I couldn’t earn an A
  • Below-market pay for jobs where I pour out my energy and talents
  • An awkwardly absent “thank you” at the completion of a big project
  • An overall sense that some appreciate what I do more than who I am

That flare-up seemed far worse than normal. It felt much harder, lasting far longer than I believed it should.

For some reason, I struggled to grab hold of the truth long enough to walk in it. Just when I’d think I started to grab hold, it all slipped through my fingers.

Then God reminded me of another powerful truth: I am created in His image (see Genesis 1:27). Thinking negatively about myself meant I was thinking unfavourably about what God has created in His own image.  He showed me the incredible power of thoughts.

The power of thoughts

Yes, thoughts are powerful.

What we believe about ourselves is powerful. Declarations are powerful. Negative self-talk is powerful.

So it’s time to change the way we think, believe, and ultimately behave as it comes to our personal value.

You and I are beloved children of God. He tells us so in His Word and now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we embrace that truth.

I believe as women we all need to hear that we are enough, even before we accomplish a single thing. We need the reminder, especially in times like these, that God sees us and He knows us by name. His love for us never falters, regardless of how we feel or the number of new experiences we don’t accomplish perfectly.

When I wonder who I am, the Holy Spirit reminds me to Whom I belong. I am a child of God and I am His. And so are you. Consider what God’s Word says about what it means to be a child of God.

Scripture about Our Identity in Christ

Isaiah 49:16 Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”

Romans 8:4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ;

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favoured us with in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:11 In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. walk as children of light-

Philippians 1:6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. 

Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Declaring what it means to be a child of God

In my own struggle, I needed to do more than reviewing or even memorizing these verses. I needed to declare their truth over my life.

I created notecards with bold declarations from the Word of God that I could speak aloud and remind myself what it means to be a child of God.

Would you like to have the notecards for your own use? Click here and I’ll gladly share this gift with you by email. They are a proven and valuable resource in my own walk with Christ and I trust they’ll bless you and your thought life, especially during uncertain times like these.  Because you, dear one, are a child of God—loved, known and fully seen. Walk in that truth today, regardless of current situations and trials.

In the comments below, share your thoughts on what it means to be a child of God.

What it Means to be a Child of God

8 prayers for back to school

Summer is quickly winding down, and school starts again in just a few short weeks. This is the time of year I purchase all the materials they need to go back to school. But our kids need more than just material goods, they also need our prayers. If you have children, I encourage you to pray for them in all areas of their life, including prayers for back to school. If you are like me and aren’t sure where to start, or you need encouragement as your kids go back to school, continue to read as I share 8 prayers for back to school.

a picture of a mom and daughter hugging. Next to the picture are the wors 8 prayers for back to school

Asking The Lord to show us the way

As soon as my oldest child was born, I was worried about school. Where would she go? Would we homeschool? Would we pick the public school board, the Catholic board, or a private school?

I spent many hours worrying about how it would all look.

When my daughter was first born, I really wanted to homeschool her, but my husband didn’t agree. So, instead of fighting over it, I knew there was time for him to change His mind, so I brought it all to The Lord in prayer.

I was convinced my answer would be what God wanted.

But, after years of worrying and praying, The Lord made it clear to me and my husband that He wanted us to place our children in public school. We also decided that we would make school choices for each child and each year they faced. That way, if we needed to change things later, we could.

The Lord has given me such peace about our decision. I still worry about the things the kids are exposed to at school, but the number one reason I feel The Lord called me to send my kids to school is that I would have no other choice but to give The Lord my children and depend on Him to look after them.

For me, if the kids were home, I would be less likely to pray for them and over them. But sending them out of the house into a secular environment drives me to my knees.

Over the years, I have prayed many prayers over my children as they leave the house and go to school.

How to add a prayer for back to school

If you are a Christian and have kids, chances are you already praying for them regularly. So, when kids go back to school, it’s easy to add a prayer for back to school.

My younger sister has 5 kids, and for many years she would walk them to school, and at one specific spot on their walk, she would stop and pray over her kids about what they faced at school- a test, friends, focus, and other things. It was a quick prayer, but it was intentional.

I give you this example because as moms you are already busy. The thought of adding one more ritual or one more thing to add to your prayer list may feel overwhelming.

Praying for your kids as they go back to school doesn’t have to be like that. It can be simple and quick or longer. The best thing is you can do this how you want.

Ask yourself: When does it make sense to pray for my kids about school?

Whatever you answer, start there. Add a note in your calendar, set an alarm as a cue to pray, and pick a spot on a walk to pray.

If you are not sure where to start or what to pray for, I want to share 8 prayers for back to school.

For each prayer, I’ve added verses you can use as prayers, but I’ve also added a prayer that is a modification of the verse. You can use either, both, or your own from the verses I share.

8 prayers for back to school

As I was writing this post, this song came on the radio and it was the perfect song for this post. So play this song and read the prayers as you pray for your children.

1. Pray for your child to be saved

One of my biggest desires for my kids is that they choose to recognize their sins and turn to God for forgiveness. If I could do anything I could to save my kids, I would. It turns out, that the best thing we can do is lead a life as an example to them, and pray for them.

So, even though salvation has nothing to do with school, sending my kids into the world reminds me how much my kids need The Lord and reminds me to pray for their salvation.

  • John 10:28-29  “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them to Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.”
  • 1 Peter 3:18 ESV For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Lord, thank you for (child’s name). Thank you for loving them and dying for them. I pray they would recognize their need for a savior and that they would ask you for forgiveness. Help me witness to them through my love for them, my actions, and my words.

2. Pray that your child knows God is with them

As a mom who has 3 kids in school, it would be easy for me to worry about my kids all day. Instead, I remember that they are not alone and that God is with them. Not only is this comfort for me, but it’s also a comfort for my kids.

When they come home and tell me they had a bad day, or they made a mistake and didn’t know what to do. They often will then say they wanted me there with them. As much as it hurts me to see them in pain, I take the opportunity to remind them that mom can’t always be with them, but God is with them everywhere they go. We then pray together and talk about strategies they can use the next time they feel this way.

  • Genesis 28:15  “And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places where you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you about.”
  • Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes I will help you; yes I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.”
  • Hebrews 13:5-6   “For He has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” So that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my Helper,” and I will not fear what man shall do to me.”

Lord, I pray for (child’s name). Sending them into the world scares me. Thank you that you are with them, even when I can’t be. I pray they feel your presence and remember you are there to comfort them, give them peace and wisdom.

3. Pray for your child to turn to God for safety 

My worst nightmare is getting a call from the school telling me my child is hurt.

My oldest daughter has anxiety, and one day I was visiting a friend who lived 45 minutes away from the school. During that visit, I got a call from the school. It was my daughter’s teacher. She told me that Meredith was having a hard time and was asking if I wanted to get her now.

She explained the situation to me, and it didn’t sound urgent, so I told her we could wait it out and see if she could settle down on her own.

I’m not sure how much time passed, but my phone soon ran again.

This time, it was my daughter. I could hear her and I knew she was having a panic attack and whatever the teachers were trying wasn’t working.

I hung up the phone and RACED HOME!! I called my husband to tell him what was going on. He worked close to school and got an Uber ride to school to be there with her.

The whole ride to school, I prayed she would be ok. I prayed over the guilt I was feeling for not leaving right away. I covered her in prayer for the entire 45-minute drive.

By the time I got to school, she was still having a panic attack, and I calmed her down within a few minutes of getting there.

Talk about WORRY!

I can’t always be there for my kids. I can’t protect them from everything they face. BUT, I know someone who is there with them and has the power to protect them and keep them. So I regularly pray for my kid’s physical safety.

  • Psalms 18:2-3  “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in Whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies.”
  • Psalms 32:7  “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall compass me about with songs of deliverance.”

Psalms 46:1-2  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the middle of the sea.”

Lord, keep (child’s name) safe. Protect them from physical danger, and emotional danger.

4. Pray for your child to put their confidence in God

My oldest daughter is now 13. She’s going through the stage where she knows she’s right all the time. She’s pretty confident in her knowledge and thinks mom and dad have no clue. LOL ! I can relate. I’m sure I was the same at her age.

We all have times in our lives when we are sure of something. We trust in what we know. Then, one day something happens, and that confidence gets shattered.

It’s an easy thing to trust in jobs, ability, money, and other things that don’t last forever.

If it’s easy for me to fall into that way of thinking, how much easier is it for my kids to put their confidence in the wrong things. That is why I pray that my kids put their faith in The Lord and what He calls them to.

  • Proverbs 3:26  “For the Lord shall be your confidence, and shall keep your foot from being taken.”
  • Philippians 1:6  “Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Lord, I pray that (child’s name) not be tempted to chase popularity, money, status or anything else that may look good. I pray they KNOW you are the only constant. You never change. Not only that, but that they would know they can count on you. You are the only thing that doesn’t change. I pray they understand that and put all their confidence in you.

5. Pray for protection over evil

As a teenager at camp one summer, I felt an evil spirit over the camp. It came to divide and instill fear. I remember huddling with a few other girls. We all felt this dark spirit and knew it wasn’t from God.

It’s hard to explain, but it was my first experience with feeling evil around me. The word of God tells us we are fighting against something that isn’t flesh and blood. We can’t see it. So, how do we fight against something like that? The only way is to take on the armor of God and depend on Him to fight those demons.

The devil is cunning and the father of lies. It’s important we pray our children are protected from his influence.

  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 ESV For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
  • Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand
  • Psalm 118:9-11 ESV It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

Lord, thank you for being bigger and more powerful than anything else in this universe. I pray you protect (child’s name) from the lies of this world and any influence that isn’t you. Give them wisdom to know the difference between truth and a lie. Help them depend on you for strength and protection.

6. Pray for power over temptation

Every single one of us knows the power of temptation. As a kid, I was regularly tempted to lie, and steal. Some days, I overcame those temptations, but most of the time I gave in.

Every day our kids are tempted to watch things they shouldn’t, be part of conversations they shouldn’t be in, fit in with the crown, and much more.

As parents, we can intervene on their behalf and ask God to give them power over temptations.

  • James 4:7 ESV Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Lord, I know that (child’s name) is tempted by something every day. As they are tempted, I pray you would show them a way of escape. That they would know they can set boundaries, say no and walk away. Give them the courage to say no. Give them power over temptation.

7. Pray for your child’s relationship with The Lord

When I was a teenager, I remember being in my parent’s kitchen talking to a guest we were hosting. She asked me what I was looking for in a husband and I said: I just want someone who is saved.

She looked at me and told me I should want more. I should want a man who loves God and who lives his life for The Glory of God.

Anyone can say they are saved, but it’s much better proof to see spiritual fruit in someone’s life.

I am thrilled when my kids make professions of faith, but it’s not enough. I want more for them. I want them to grow in their faith. I want them to seek the Lord in everything they do and that they would want to honor The Lord in everything they do.

That’s why it’s important for us to pray for our kids and their relationship with The Lord.

  • James 4:8 ESV Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
  • Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
  • Isaiah 55:6 ESV “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;

Lord, thank you that (child’s name) has made a profession of faith. I pray that they want to grow in their faith and take steps to do that. Help them seek you in everything they do and want to honor you in everything they do.

8. Pray for your child’s character 

One of the sweetest things about being a mom is watching your children’s relationship with The Lord grow. I almost cried the first time I saw my daughter raise her hands in worship. It was a beautiful moment.

As our children grow in their faith, we can continue to pray for them as they know more about The Lord, life, and how to live to glorify Him.

There are many verses we can pray through, but instead of going through each one and creating prayers for each, I made a list of Godly characters I want my children to grow in and added a verse for each and added a general prayer at the end.

  • That they would be sober-minded and vigilant 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
  • That they would know the truth and tell it John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
  • That they would want to obey you and your spouse Ephesians 6:1-2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:
  • That they would cast their anxieties on God 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you
  • That they would think about true and good things Philippians 4:8 ESV Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  • That they would feel the peace of God John 16:33 ESV I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  • That they would be watchful and stand firm in their faith 1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

Lord, thank you for (child’s name). I thank you that they have made a profession of faith. I pray that they would want to know you more, that they would grow in their faith and become more and more like you everywhere.

Praying for our kids is the number 1 thing we can do to help our children grow in their faith and knowledge of God.

I shared many verses and prayers, but don’t feel you need to pray each one every day. I suggest you pick one verse or prayer and use that to pray one day or one week. Then the next day or week, pick another one.

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