Learning to Pray for our Children: Overcoming "Night Terrors"

Many, perhaps most parents, have been distressed to find their child fearful, even frantic, at night when she or he should be peacefully sleeping. Sometimes a child is looking or pointing to a corner of the room at an unseen source of their terror. Sometimes this traumatic experience repeats in a way causing the child to be afraid of bedtime. In more extreme cases a child can be negatively shaped by post-traumatic stress. Parents raised in a secular worldview may try to talk their child out of their fear because they have no framework for understanding it's source.

Jesus addresses the source when he teaches us to pray "deliver us from evil." The term evil is a broad one referring to evil people, the evil of which we are capable and the evil one who is the source of evil. Small children are helpless before evil and need their parents to pray with and form them, in many cases even before they are conceptually able to understand.  

Even if you don't know how to pray, know that Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). You can begin by just holding your child, praying, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, come protect my child." This is not magic. Some family traditions have generational engagement with evil or curses which must be broken in Jesus' name, power and authority.

If you don't know Christ, find a Bible and read the Gospel of Mark, noting the authority of Jesus over unclean spirits. This will give you understanding and confidence in Christ as you pray protection for your child. Satan doesn't "play fair." Unclean spirits "play dirty" and will press any unfair advantage in their power. However, don't try to understand evil, rather reflect on the authority and person of Christ.

You may want to pray like this:

Lord Jesus, come protect my child. Come fill this room with your presence and your holy authority over ever enemy. Thank you for overcoming the power of evil with your word, with the cross on which you conquered sin and evil and with your resurrection victory. Lord Jesus Christ, rebuke the evil one now and command him to go directly to the place you send him. You are my commander-in-chief, Jesus Christ, and you have defeated Satan, the commander-in-chief of this dark spirit. So obey Jesus Christ now and never come back. Lord Jesus, please set holy angels from heaven around my child, comfort him/her and give her/him peace and rest. In the matchless name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

In my experience, sometime the battle is won in a single prayer, sometimes several, however Christ is always victorious. Vitally important also is to remain in Christ, developing your relationship and walk with him daily. You may want to start here.