This child’s anxiety prayer helps parents find God’s help for their child when they are feeling anxious, worried or afraid. This prayer asks for God’s insight into the causes of their child’s anxiety and how to help their child feel secure. It also tells how to use prayer and faith to help an anxious child.
Child’s Anxiety Prayer
Dear Father God,
I come to you asking for your help and guidance because my child ________ is experiencing anxiety and fear. I want them to feel safe, secure and loved and it breaks my heart when I see them feeling scared and worried.
I thank you that you are my heavenly father who knows how I feel because your heart goes out to all of your children in distress.
Father, here are the things I have been seeing that show me my child’s anxiety and fear______________________________________________
These are the physical symptoms or emotional reactions that make me think my child has anxiety __________
Here are the specific things or situations that seem to bother my child the most __________________________________
Here is what my child has told me about their anxiety and fear __________________________
This is what someone else who knows my child has noticed (teacher, relatives, coaches, siblings etc.)_____________
I ask you add knowledge and insight into what I have observed. Highlight any detail that will serve as a clue to the things that might show me how to help them.
I now ask you to enlighten me about the causes of the problem.
Show me whether or not my child’s anxiety and fear are normal for their age. Help me see if it’s something they will eventually outgrow or something that needs more attention.
Make me aware of anything I’m doing that might be adding to my child’s anxiety.
Help me to listen carefully to my child’s feelings so I can better understand them.
Direct me as I make a plan of action that will help my child regain a sense of wellbeing and security and give them ways to handle stress.
Enable me to use the truths of faith to reassure my child that you are always with them and are watching over them. Help me to develop a daily prayer time with my child where we share simple comforting prayers they can use whenever they feel fearful.
Guide me as I introduce my child to ways to see you all around them every day in nature and in all simple pleasures. Send us songs and short prayers and Bible verses and pictures that remind my child that you care. Surround them with other adults like Sunday school teachers and children’s choir leaders to make them feel welcomed and loved.
Teach me how to pray for my child. Give me Bible verses to claim. Provide a prayer partner who understands my child and who can pray with me and who can pray for me when I can’t pray for myself.
I ask for wisdom to evaluate whether my child’s anxiety needs professional help. Show me if their anxiety is interfering with their activities, getting worse or causing them to be unable to function normally. Please open doors for us to get the help we need in whatever form we need such as counselors, support groups or therapists.
I now place my child in your loving hands, knowing that you love them and are with them always. Amen.
How to use prayer and faith to help your child’s anxiety
In addition to praying for your child, teaching your child to pray and to understand that God is with them and cares for them can play a key role in calming anxiety. Here are some ideas.
Pray out loud daily with your child about your child’s anxiety
Experts recommend that children be taught meditative, calming practices to help with anxiety. Praying out loud daily with your child about their anxiety is doubly effective because it brings calm and also connects your child to God’s presence and power.
As an example, here’s a prayer you might pray over your child:
Dear Jesus, I know how much you love (child’s name) and you know how much I love them. They are feeling anxious right now. As they take a deep breath, help them to feel calmer because you are here. Thank you that you are always with them, even when they can’t see you or feel you. I pray and claim this promise from the Bible over them, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or give up on you.” God, please comfort them, help them and keep them happy and strong. Amen.” (Scripture quote is a paraphrase of Deuteronomy 31:6)
Teach your child breath prayers to deal with anxiety
One useful type of prayers that children can do are called breath prayers. Traditionally these are recited mentally in the time it takes to inhale and exhale. Breath prayers can be repeated over and over along with the conscious breathing patterns which greatly adds to the calming effect. Breath prayers can be general or specific.
Here’s some examples of breath prayers for your child’s anxiety. Here’s a general one: Inhale praying, “Jesus you are here” then exhale “Jesus take my fear.” Here’s a more specific one for a child who’s worried about others rejecting them or teasing them: Inhale “Jesus I know you love me,“ exhale “I won’t worry about kids who don’t”
Teach your child Arrow prayers to deal with your child’s anxiety
Arrow prayers are short silent prayers that we shoot up to God right in the middle of the action of life. They only have to use a word or two such as, “Help me God” or “I’m scared God.”
There are many ways that arrow prayers lessen anxiety. Arrow prayers cause your child to recognize when they find themselves suddenly in a situation that’s uncomfortable. They help them to name their need or emotion to God. And the act of praying itself helps them remember that God is with them and can help them anytime and anywhere.
Use Bible verses to help children with anxiety
Experts recommend that parents help anxious children by teaching them how to reframe their anxiety which means finding something that’s not 100% right about their thinking. Bible verses, whether memorized, written down or spoken to the child, make them aware of the positive things around them instead of the negative thing that’s scaring them. The also help children focus on how God can help them.
Bible verses or reassurances from the Bible give your child something to hang onto when they feel anxious. Depending on the age of the child, you can use the actual verse or a paraphrase of it. Here are ideas on using Bible verses.
Make Bible verses tangible to your child.
Make the Bible verse more real by putting it into a form that a child can touch, feel, hear or see. As an example, for children who can read, write the verse on an index card. Then use the index card strategically, such as putting it into the child’s coat pocket, posting it on the refrigerator or putting it in a special box.
Say the verse out loud. You might pray the verses you are using daily over your child out loud. Ideas include saying them to your child when dropping them off in carpool line or during your nightly prayer time with them. You can also say the verses out loud together and help older children memorize the verses.
Do motions or attach mental pictures to the verse. Motions or mental images can make a verse more memorable to your child. As an example, let’s use a very short but powerful verse from the Bible on anxiety that says, “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 ESV)
For a younger child you might paraphrase the verse: “Give Jesus your worry because he cares about you.” You can add motions such as having the child pretend like they are putting their invisible worries into your hands. You might then respond “Thank you Jesus for caring about (child’s name) and taking their worries into your hands.” Then add a gesture that seems appropriate, such as kissing the worry away or pretending like it flies away like a bird up to God.
For an older child, you might help them visualize this Scripture by using something symbolic they could actually do, like writing the worry on a piece of paper and throwing into the fire and watching it burn up. Or throwing a stone into a lake or creek and watching it disappear. An image like this will make it feel more vivid to them, and they can picture it clearly in their imagination when they need to remember the Scripture.
Teach your child how to meditate on God’s greatness in nature
Experts often recommend some sort of meditation to help with anxiety. Christian meditation is different than secular meditation or meditation practices used by other religions. Christian meditation takes us closer to God by us deliberately focusing in such a way to see glimpses of our loving and creative God. One of the best ways to help a child engage in Christian meditation is by helping them marvel at the beauty of God’s creation through nature.
With younger children, go out on a walk and tell them to find something pretty that God has made. For older children, invite them to marvel at some detail of nature such as a rock smoothed by a stream and think about what that might teach us about God.
Use Christian Songs to build up your child’s faith and trust
Christian musicis an excellent tool in fighting anxiety. Music bypasses our minds and speaks to our hearts, souls and emotions. When we sing songs about God’s love and care, we are engaging our bodies as well as our minds and spirits.
Songs are extremely portable and can be carried in our memory and recalled when we need them. Songs can have different tempos to suit our needs – they can be slow and soothing or they can be powerful and invigorating.
Young children are taught, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong.” It’s interesting how a song that’s sung in nearly every church nursery is about relying on God’s strength when we’re scared because he loves us, and we know it’s true because God said it in the Bible.
There’s a huge library of songs for young children, older children and teens that can be used as a tool in helping them when they are feeling anxious. You can listen to a playlist of these songs when driving in the car or sing one or two every night at bedtime.
Take your child to church, Sunday school and other church activities where they can learn about God’s love and care for them.
Making sure your child is a regular part of your church is a perfect way to build their confidence and help them feel secure and loved. In addition to children’s Sunday school classes, many churches offer children’s choirs, kid’s worship, Bible school and preschools.
All of these are the perfect opportunities to not only advance your child’s awareness of God and his care for them, but they are also ways to ease your anxious child into smaller group settings for short durations of time. If your child is particularly anxious being in groups, see if your church children’s program needs volunteers. That way you can help with the group and ease your child into being more confident around others.
Taking your child to church children’s programs will also expand the circle of those who can help and support you. Sunday school teachers and children’s ministry leaders can be good resources of advice and help. It will also put you in touch with other parents with the same age child who might be interested in play dates or chatting about child rearing. By listening to other parents you’ll be able to know if many other children have the same kind of fears at their age, which often indicates that it’s a common phase that children outgrow.
Strengthen your own prayer life to help your child’s anxiety
Experts tell parents dealing with a child with anxiety to make sure to take care of themselves as well. One powerful means of self-care is prayer. Intercessory prayer, which is simply praying on behalf of your child, is a powerful emotional outlet that allows you to honestly express your fears, frustrations, needs and hopes to God. As you pray, you are able to analyze things more deeply and the Holy Spirit can bring things to your mind that you need to remember.
I’ve found that after I’ve prayed about a situation, God can speak to me more clearly through Bible verses and through other outside sources. God puts supportive people in my path, sends me small signs that he‘s there and sometimes even sends a comforting answering thought into my mind such as, “Trust me.”
Throughout the years when my children have gone through problems, I have greatly benefitted from having a prayer partner or a small group of other parents who will pray with me and for me. I have also made prayer requests to church prayer groups and have asked my sister to pray for our family.
I also journal. I write down my problems, the latest development or something that’s worrying me that day. I use this as an act of prayer and then write at the end, “God help me with this.” Sometimes as I write I get new insights and ideas that I explore in written form.
Besides intercessory prayer, explore prayers of thanksgiving and praise and Christian meditation, which are types of prayer that fill you up and allow you to get closer to God and temporarily distance yourself from your problems.
About this Child’s Anxiety prayer
Every parent will face times when their child has anxiety. Anxiety is defined as feeling nervous or uneasy about doing something. Other ways to describe it are worry, apprehension or dread.
Here are some things that experts say about childhood anxiety:
Anxiety is a natural part of childhood.
It can be beneficial when it causes children to be cautious about new situations and experiences that could be unsafe.
There are normal, predictable things that cause children of different ages to be anxious. As an example, toddlers are afraid of the dark, 5 year olds are afraid of monsters and elementary school children are often afraid of school or being made fun of by others.
Parents’ actions and reactions can either help or heighten anxiety
As parents we walk a fine line when helping children get through anxiety. Experts caution us not to ignore what the child is experiencing and tell them to stop feeling that way. If they’re feeling scared, that’s how they’re feeling. Saying, “There’s nothing to worry about,” won’t make anxiety go away.
On the other hand, experts caution against trying to control the world around the child and avoid situations where the child might feel anxious. Ask God if you are keeping your child in a tight bubble that is causing them not to have to deal with things that give them anxiety. This may be hurting the child in the long run by not helping them develop the skills to handle stressful situations.
As an example, suppose your child is afraid of dogs. If the parent acts with alarm every time they see a dog and quickly rushes their child away, the child’s fear may be reinforced because the parent is acting like all dogs are a threat.
Don’t ignore signs that your child might need professional help
Children can sometimes suffer from what is termed clinical anxiety or childhood anxiety disorder. The difference between this condition and normal childhood anxiety is the severity of how the child is feeling and reacting and the extremes the child is going to when trying to avoid the things that cause them to be anxious.
Experts put this disorder into several different categories: general anxiety, fear of being separated from the parent, social anxiety and being afraid of specific things or situations.
Children might have any of the following symptoms: extreme worry, fear that keeps them from performing normal daily activities, not being able to accept reassurances that things are OK, sleep problems, and/or headaches and stomach pains that aren’t related to physical illness. If you think your child might need professional help, make an appointment for a check up with your child’s pediatrician to rule out illnesses or physical causes. Your doctor, school counselor or insurance company may be able to recommend professionals in your area who specialize in children with anxiety,
There is a chance that your child is suffering from depression instead of anxiety. A professional will be able to help with this determination and also with treatment for your child.
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Copyright Karen Barber 2021. All rights reserved.