Afraid of the dark, scared of spiders, worried about thunder – these are normal kid things.
And they are very real to the kids who are afraid.
Then there are very big, very real fears that come from horrific events like what unfolded in Las Vegas last night. As we pray for the victims of this unimaginable tragedy and their families, we deal with the fear that is invading our own hearts and sometimes the hearts of our children.
But how do you deal with these fears?
I’ll give you a hint even though you may have figured it out for yourself:
Telling your kids there’s nothing to be afraid of, to grow up, and to stop being afraid doesn’t work.
To your child, there is absolutely something to be afraid of, and she is afraid. We can’t talk our kids out of their fears.
Here’s what an expert has to say on the subject:
Recognize that the fear is real. As trivial as a fear may seem, it feels real to your child and it’s causing him or her to feel anxious and afraid. Never belittle the fear as a way of forcing your child to overcome it. Saying, “Don’t be ridiculous! There are no monsters in your closet!” may get your child to go to bed, but it won’t make the fear go away.
So what can we do?
You can read the Bible with your children, and you can pray together. Pray the following verses over them, and claim strength and bravery in Jesus’ name. Teach your children to pray when they’re afraid, and teach them to lean on the One who can handle any fear to help them overcome it.
13 Bible Verses to Help Kids Overcome Fear
Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid because you are with me. Psalm 23:4a ICB
I am the Lord your God. I am holding your right hand. And I tell you, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 ICB
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 ICB
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life. . .Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things. . .Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34 NLT
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
But now, O Jacob, listen to the lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT
The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? The Lord protects my life. So why should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 ICB
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22 NLT
Trust in the lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid. He gave us a spirit of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ICB
Here’s a prayer to pray with your child when he/she is battling fear:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your everlasting goodness. Thank you for being always with us, holding us in the palm of your hand. Help my child to feel your loving presence even in the midst of her fear. Thank you for being in control of every little detail of her situation. Give her bravery and strength to fit against everything Satan puts in her path. Cast out the demon of fear in her heart, and instead let your words of peace and calm overwhelm her. In Jesus’ name, Amen
If you are looking for resources that directly address fear, here are a few suggestions:
I’m Not a Scaredy-Cat by Max Lucado. A fun read for children and parents, I’m Not a Scaredy-Cat will open doors for important conversations about fear in a nonthreatening way and help you instill Godly bravery in your kids.
It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst. Whether we like it or not, growing up brings change. For many children, this conjures fears that are sometimes real and sometimes imagined. Written by New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst, It Will Be Okay will help kids discover that the end, it really will be okay because we have a God who is good and kind and always with us.
What Bible verses have you shared with your kids to help them overcome fear?