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How to Pray for Kids Going to College

When a teen leaves for a first year in college, prayer finds a new focus.

Going away to college

It is the season of departures for college. For many parents, this involves an ache that throbs somewhere between the heart and the gut. It is the ache of departure, of transition, of success in reaching a pivot-point that is suddenly filled with ambivalence.

Letting go of your kid is HARD. Dealing with the “what-if’s” is hard. Accepting that a whole lot is now completely out of your control is very hard. What comes next isn’t up to you.

What comes next is growth.

Your teen will grow in ways that are good… and perhaps not good. Your young adult may thrive, or struggle, or both. All things are possible, and many things are scary, and your role as a parent is undergoing a transition which is not entirely clear. 

One thing is absolutely certain: your prayers will change. Here is a prayer for parents sending kids to college: 

Holy Spirit, help me pray for my child’s deepest needs, for her soul and heart. Keep my prayers from centering on my fears and uncertainties, keep my eyes on Christ. Help me accept this ache of letting-go and teach me to interpret it as a sign that I need to pray for all kids—not just my own—who are setting out on the path of independence. Show me what I need to see, not what I want to see.

One good thing you can do is write out a prayer list of all the kids you know who are heading off to their first year of college. Commit to praying for each one daily. Choose one kid a week to send a note, a care package or a text. Even in letting go, you are not helpless. Your actions always matter. And so do your prayers.

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