Can you guess my most read post on Empty Nest Blessed? It’s one I wrote several years ago, and it went viral on Pinterest! It’s called, How to Pray for Your Adult Children | Six Bible Verses to Use. It still gets hundreds of views every single day, which thrills my heart to no end!
I believe that prayer is powerful, and in the post, I talk about using scripture to pray for your kids. I figure, if I pray the Bible back to the author of the Bible, I know that I’m praying for the right things!
Praying For Your Adult Children
The book I talk about in that post is one of my most treasured possessions! I use it almost every day as I pray for my kids. It’s called The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children by Stormie Omartian. Written in 2014, the book is a best-seller! The author guides you as you pray God’s Word over your adult children in areas that are relevant in their lives, like career choices, relationships, struggles, or emotional trials. I cannot recommend it highly enough! This book is a life-changer, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it will change your relationship with your kids as well.
For me, seeing God answer prayer in the lives of my kids has been such a faith-builder. It means a lot to them to know that I pray faithfully for them, and there are times when they’ve shared things with me that they otherwise might not have shared, just because they knew I would pray about it.
Today, I’m going to share something similar—how to bless and encourage your adult children.
Blessing & Encouraging Your Adult Children
What does it mean to “bless” someone?
In Hebrew, the word for bless is berakah. It’s derived from the word for kneel! That means that inherent in it is the concept of elevating or honoring another person.
In Greek, the word for bless is eulogeo. Look familiar? It’s where we derive the word “eulogy.” Again, it has to do with speaking well of someone, building them up, and honoring them. It’s the word Jesus used in Luke 6.28 when he says, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you.” So he is literally suggesting we speak well and even honor those who say evil things about us. Remarkable! Right?
The Difference between Blessing and Praying
The word prayer comes from ancient roots meaning to ask. So we should definitely pray for God to bless our children—meaning that he would lift up, encourage, and honor them. But “blessing” implies more personal involvement, as in, to do or say something that honors, lifts up, and encourages.
Blessing & Encouraging Your Adult Children With Scripture
Just as using scripture as you pray for your kids is a great idea, using it to bless them is as well!
I’ve put together a PDF with some scripture that you can use to bless your kids! My mom passed these verses along to me after a friend shared them with her. I’ve changed up the order and added a pretty border. (But, of course!)
You can access it HERE. In addition to printing it, you can also save the image on your computer, or Pin it to your Pinterest using the handy Pin button in the top left corner of the image. You can also share it to your social media accounts using the icons at the bottom of the page.
Blessing & Encouraging Your Adult Children With Words & Actions
When it comes to blessing and encouraging your adult children, I believe there’s more to it than praying. Prayer is a great place to start, but blessing is also about speaking words of encouragement, building your kids up, and honoring them through your actions.
Blessing & Encouraging Your Adult Children With Your Words
In Mark 10.13-16, Jesus blesses a group of little children. He takes the children in his arms and puts his hands on them as he blesses them, building them up, and honoring them. Imagine how these children must have felt to have Jesus take a special interest in them, spend time with them, and praise them. He may have prayed for them (Matthew 19.13 indicates that he does.), but what probably caused the most joy for the children was his blessing — the words of encouragement and praise he shared.
What We Do To Bless & Encourage Our Adult Children
- Let Them Be the Expert – I don’t mean asking them for help with your iPhone or computer! Ask specific questions about something that they’re an “expert” in, like fishing, college football, or even the latest styles. Then really listen. Ask good follow up questions and tell them that their mastery of __________ is amazing to you. (BTW, it will be!)
- Listen For Their Feelings and Reflect Them Back – When they tell you something, listen for the subtext of emotions behind it. Is their job frustrating? (You: “Ohhh, I can see how that must be driving you crazy.”) Are they excited about a new relationship? (You: “That’s incredible! I can see why you’re so excited!”)
- Give Advice Only When Asked – This can be difficult when you see them walk into a situation that you know from experience will not end well, but remember that experience truly is the best teacher. Value the relationship over the situation unless their health or safety is at stake. Nobody likes an “I told you so!” and they may not come to you when a situation goes badly if they think that’s potentially what they’re going to get.
- Suzy Suggests NO Suggestions! – When your adult children share something with you, don’t give them “suggestions” about how they should handle things unless they ask. Even though you’re trying to be helpful, your adult children may hear your “suggestion” as a criticism of their ability to handle their own lives.
- Find Something to Praise – I hear from a lot of parents who are heartbroken over wayward adult children. Some adult children have made poor choices, some have left the faith they were raised with, some are in unfortunate relationships that have caused estrangement with their parents. But even if your relationship with your adult children is strained, you can find something to encourage them about if you really look. (You: “Random, I know, but I just wanted to say I love how you look with a beard!”)
Blessing & Encouraging Your Adult Children With Your Actions
- If Something is a Big Deal to Them, Make it a Big Deal to You – This goes beyond just asking about it. Learn about it. Learn enough that you can ask intelligent questions and really listen to the answers.
- Join Them For Activities They Enjoy – Our daughter is a musical theater actress, dancer, and singer. When she was growing up, Bob took her on numerous “dates” to see musicals that came through Dallas on national tours. I drove her to and even sat in on many, many voice, dance, and acting lessons. Through those experiences, we learned to share her enthusiasm for this art form that she loves! One summer, when she was performing at an outdoor theater in Idaho, we planned a nine-person, multi-generational family trip (Ages 18-81!) to see several of her shows.
- Pay Them For Their Help – Your kids’ time is valuable, and you want them to know you respect their time and appreciate their skills. When I shoot videos for brands, I pay my daughter to edit them for me. When we go out of town, we pay one of our adult kids to either housesit, or go by and grab the mail, water plants, and pick up packages. This, at its very core, is a tangible way to demonstrate to them that you see them as adults.
- Give Thoughtful Gifts – Everyone loves to get a thoughtful gift! (Even if “gifts” isn’t their primary love language!) If you have college kids, consider sending them a care package full of their favorite snacks, or use a company like Hugabox to do it for you. If your kids are older than that, you can still pick up something that reminds you of them when you’re out and about, whether it’s their favorite candy, or a funny tee that would make them laugh. I snagged this adorable pair of tie-dye shorts for Becca the last time I was shopping on Amazon and gave them to her before our beach trip. In our family, we call those “I love you gifts.” They don’t need an occasion!
- Show Interest in Their Friends – Whether you’re offering to open your home for a bridal or baby shower for one of your daughter’s friends, or just asking about how your son’s college pals are doing now, showing interest in their friends will mean a lot to them. (But don’t be creepy and do things like friend their pals on Facebook or anything!)
- Be Flexible in Communication – This requires you to assume the best of them! Don’t be demanding and bug them about them calling, Facetiming, or not answering your texts as quickly as you want. That’s not respecting them as individuals, and you don’t want them to feel compelled to communicate with you out of obligation. Instead, consider doing things like sending a short text letting them know that you’re thinking of them and praying for them when they have something big going on, or send them a funny video you think they’ll love.
I’d love to know what you do to bless and encourage your adult kids! Please leave me a comment and share your best ideas!
I’ve written additional posts on the topic of “parenting” adult children. You can access those HERE.
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