A good Jewish tradition is when, on the Sabbath, the father blesses his children. The father is like the priest of his home, and it is a good thing for him to bless (pray that good things would come to) his children. Children may hear many demands and criticisms during the week. On the Sabbath, it is a pleasant change for them to hear words of blessing and encouragement from their parents.
Every Sabbath service we call the parents and their children forward. The parents lay their hands on their children, praying for them and blessing them. Four or five people will pray spontaneously out loud for all of the children. Here are some of the prayers that the Rabbi will also pray for the children during that time:
A Sabbath Prayer For Our Children
(This may be prayed whole or in parts)
God of the spirits of all flesh, we pray for our sons and daughters, that they may experience redemption from all their offenses, as did Adam and Eve. May they offer a better sacrifice, as did righteous Abel. Make them like Enoch, who walked with God. May they be blameless in their time, as Noah was in his. May they faithfully endure all their trials as Job did his. May they have faith like Abraham, patience like Isaac, and zeal for You like Jacob.
Sons, y’seem-cha Eloheem k’Efraim v’chee-M’nah-sheh! May God make our sons like Ephraim and Manessah, the blessed and numerous and fruitful tribes of Israel!
Daughters, y’see-mech Eloheem k’Sarah Rivka, Rachel v’Leah! May God make our daughters like Sarah and Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, the blessed mothers of the Jewish people.
May they learn to be righteous and forgiving, as was Joseph. May they experience Your great salvation and deliverance, and become humble leaders like Moses, who led Israel out of Egypt. May all their Red Seas part before them, and their Jordans retreat before them!
May they be zealous for holiness like Pinchas the priest, and bold and courageous like Joshua. May they be willing to take on a multitude, and be victorious, like Jonathan, David’s friend. Like King David, may they become true worshipers, and women and men after Your own heart. Fill them with joy like David who danced before You. May they be skilled in worship like the Levites at the Temple. May they be like those who sang praises to You, walking before Israel’s army, so that our enemies were utterly defeated.
Give them wisdom and understanding like Solomon. May they learn how to hear Your voice as did Samuel and the prophets of old. Make them people of holy courage and mighty acts like Elijah and Elisha. May they have insight like Daniel. Make them wise builders, like Nehemiah, and grant them love for Your Teaching, like Ezra the Scribe. Grant them miraculous victories like the Maccabees, and make them preparers of Your way like John the Baptist. May they be close to you and loved by You like John whom You loved. May they overcome their circumstances as when Simon Peter walked on water. Enable them to be bold proclaimers of Your Message of Salvation like Rabbi Paul. Cause them to be people of prayer and holiness like James the Just. Help them to continually sanctify Your name, and even be willing to die for it, like Stephen, the holy martyr.
And above all, may they grow in their knowledge of the Son of God, until they become mature men and women. May they attain to the fullness of Messiah. May they walk as He walked, and live as He lived, doing good, serving God, always obeying You, making Your will their will. May they be filled up to all the fullness of God!
Other Prayers For Our Children
Merciful Father, who does not want Your children to wander in darkness, pour the light of Your Spirit into the minds and hearts of our sons and daughters, that they may discover what Your holy will is, and discern the true from the false, the evil from the good, and that they may walk in the paths of wisdom (Book of Common Worship).
Bless them with your grace, O Lord, to work while it is day, fulfilling diligently and patiently whatever duty You appoint for them; doing small things in the day of small things and great labors if You summon them to any (Christina G. Rossetti).
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, give our children a grateful heart for all Your mercies, that they may be genuinely thankful; may they show forth Your praise, not only with their lips, but with their lives, by giving their selves to Your service, and by walking before You in holiness and righteousness all of their days (Book of Common Prayer).
O Lord our God, thank You for sending Yeshua the Messiah, who is the Good Shepherd of the sheep, who came to seek the lost, and to gather them into Your fold. Keep our children among Your flock! Have compassion on those who have wandered from You and bring them back! Feed those who hunger, cause the weary to lie down in Your pastures, bind up those who are broken in heart, and strengthen those who are weak (Ancient Collect).
O Lord our God, and our Good Shepherd, guide our children throughout their lives. Give them the strength to follow You wherever You go. In those little daily duties to which You call them, bow their wills to obedience; grant them to have patience under pain or provocation, truthfulness in word and manner, humility and kindness: in great acts of duty, if You should call them to them, uplift them to self sacrifice, heroic courage, laying down their lives for You, or for Your Truth, or for a brother (Christina G. Rossetti).
O Lord our God, our Rock and our Strength, our High Tower and Strong Fortress, the Might of all those who put their confidence in You, grant that our sons and daughters maybe more than conquerors over everything that makes war on their souls, and, in the end, they enter into perfect peace in Your presence (Roman Breviary).
O You who have taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in Yours, help our children to attain to this liberty by continual surrender to You, and Your will and Your service and Your ways (Gelasian Sacramentary).
Adon Olam, Lord of the Universe, help our children to fervently desire, wisely search out, and perfectly fulfill all that is well pleasing to You. Of all that You require them do, grant them the knowledge, the desire, and the ability to fulfill it as they should; may their path to You be safe, straightforward, and perfect to the end (Thomas Aquinas).
Give them, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy emotion may drag down; give them an unconquered heart, which no difficult situation can wear out; give them an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Give them also, O Lord my God, understanding to know You, diligence to seek You, wisdom to find You, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace You (Thomas Aquinas).
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Father of our Lord Yeshua, and our Father too, transform our children into the kind of human beings that Your heart longs to see us, men and women after Your own heart. Renew them into the image of Messiah and bring them from glory to glory (Gerhard Tersteegen).
O Lord our God, we acknowledge that You are the great and holy King; we acknowledge Your right to have dominion over us. Our children, and their lives, deaths, souls and bodies all belong to You. May they willingly give all to You, and use everything of who they are and what they have in Your service. Enable them to live before You in childlike simplicity, steadfast in prayer; looking always to You, that whatsoever they do, or abstain from doing, they may in all things follow the least indications of Your will. Become Lord of their hearts and spirits; that their the whole inner being may be brought under Your rule, and that Your life of love and righteousness may pervade all their thoughts and energies. O Lord and King, enter into their hearts, and live and reign there for ever and ever (Gerhard Tersteegen).
God of Israel, You called us to delight in You and in Your praise, because You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts find no rest until we rest in You. So, may the hearts of our sons and daughters learn how to rest in You, and delight in You (Augustine).
O Lord, You know what is best for our children, so let whatever be done to them as You please. Give what You will, and how much You will, and when You will. Deal with them as You think good, and as best pleases You. Put them where You will, and deal with them in all things just as You will. Enable our children to be Your servants, prepared for all things You command; help them to not desire to live to themselves, but to You! (Thomas A’ Kempis)
Use our children, for whatever purpose, and in whatever way, You may require. May their hearts be Your dwelling place; their mouths spread the glory of Your name; all their love and powers advance the cause of Your people (D. L. Moody).
O God our Father, thank You for sending Yeshua the Messiah, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We pray that You will not allow our children to stray from Him who is the Way, nor distrust the One who is the Truth, nor rest in any other thing than He who is the Life (Erasmus).
O Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance on our children; let Your peace rule in their hearts; and may it be their strength and song, while they are here on their pilgrimage on Earth. We commit them to Your care and keeping this day; let Your grace be mighty in them, and sufficient for them, and let it work in them both to will and do of Your own good pleasure; and grant them strength for all the duties of the day. Keep them from sin; give them the rule over their own spirits; and keep them from speaking unadvisedly with their lips. May they live together in peace and holy love, and command Your blessing upon them, even life forevermore. Prepare them for all the events of the day; for they know not what a day may bring forth. Give them grace to deny themselves; to take up their cross daily, and to follow in the steps of Lord and Master (Matthew Henry).
O Lord our God, grant our children the grace to desire You with their whole heart; that when they desire You they may seek and find You; and when they seek and find You they may love You; and when they love You, they may hate those sins from which You have redeemed them (Anselm).