3 Ways to Teach Children to Pray

You know what helps more than most things I do? More than any blogger I follow? More than any book or magazine I read? More than sermons on Sunday mornings? More than friends/family who have been there?

Prayer!

Prayers for help. Prayers for forgiveness. Prayers for guidance to make the right choices. Prayers for peace. Prayers for patience. Prayers for me to show kindness and love to my children. Prayers that I will show compassion as He has shown me compassion. Prayers. Prayers. Prayers. Prayers.

I have prayed for small things, and for big things. I have seen God answer in HUGE ways, and I have seen Him ask me to wait.

Prayer is so vital to our everyday lives, but rather than go into an entire post about why we should pray, I am going to assume you know that and move on…

As a mom who strives to teach my children how to live a godly life, I want them to know how to pray! It is my job to guide them in this area. To show them it is important and the many endless things you can pray for.

So here is how I have done it so far… and I feel pretty good since my 3 and 4 yr old come to me for prayer almost daily, remind me we need to pray, pray for me and offer to pray for others.

  1. Pray when they get hurt. How many times have you seen someone kiss a boo-boo? Maybe you have done this. Is this bad? Nope.In fact, I think the idea is to just get their mind off of the fact they are hurt or, since they may not really be hurt, and help them get over it sooner. I see the point and do not condemn it.

    I think I actually learned this from my mother-in-law, although she often acts surprised and happy to see it when it happens.

    Anytime my boys get hurt, or feel sick, we pray for them. We pray for healing. We pray for comfort. Honestly though, it can get monotonous when you pray for simple hurts ALL DAY LONG some days ;-), but the rewards are GREAT! And we have gotten creative with the prayers. My husband often thanks God for whatever body part is hurt. He thanks God they have that part of their body and they are able to use it.

    You know what is AMAZING?! They run to us, asking, sometimes begging, for PRAYER! And, they pray for us. When we get hurt, or get sick, they run to us eager to pray for us. Many times I did not even think to pray when I got hurt, but they come ready. LOVE IT!!!

    Can this work if your children are older? Sure. All hope isn’t lost if your kids are grown. They may look at you funny the first few times, but I feel certain they will learn and grow from it. Pray when they are not feeling well. Pray when they are worried about a test coming up, a big game (maybe try to avoid just praying for them to win, but instead pray they will do well and be protected from harm, and be Christ-like on the field/court/etc.), tryouts, auditions, applications for schools or work. Pray when they are upset over rejection, a loss, mistakes, breakups, etc. There are so many opportunities around us to pray with and for our children. Don’t waste these precious, almost simple, moments!

  2. Have them repeat prayers. Especially when they were younger, sometimes even still, the boys would say they didn’t know what to say when we would encourage them pray. We started having them repeat the prayers after us. We would say a few words or a small sentence and then wait and allow them to say the lines.A lot of times our prayers start and end the same way and our children have picked up on this. Because they have said some of the same lines over and over again, they know how to begin and end the prayers. It is really sweet when they ask us to repeat the prayers after them.

    Maybe you don’t think you are a good pray-er… Keep it simple. “God we thank you, and we love you.” Follow the acronym I learned from my youth pastor many years ago: PRAY. Praise. Repent. Ask. Yield.

  3. Encourage them to pray and feed them lines as they need or ask for them. After our morning devotions, I often ask who would like to do our prayer today. This is when the repeating started (well that and at dinner prayers), but after they had repeated for several days I asked them to give it a try themselves. I encourage them that they can do this and they will do well. I give them a line to start and let them go from there.I must warn you, you will need patience. Sometimes they will have to think a while about what to pray. Sometimes they will want to pray for a while. Sometimes they will say the same thing over and over again. Keep in mind, as I have to ALL THE TIME, they are learning, and I DO NOT want to squash their prayers. I do not want to discourage them.

God loves to hear from us! As parents, we are responsible for what our children our learning. Dare I say it? Even if they are teenagers already and we feel like we have failed them so far. God expects a lot from us and we will be held accountable.

Having said that, He is also a wonderful God who forgives! If your children are grown and past this stage of life (I mean that they are no longer living in your home), and you feel like you did not train as you were supposed to, go to our loving Father who wants to be there. He wants to help mend broken hearts and relationships. He could still use you in your child’s life. Just felt like I needed to add that :-).

To end, I love hearing my boys pray. What a sweet reminder that we should all pray, and pray with a child-like mind. How sweet and innocent they are in their prayers. They don’t hesitate to pray for the simple things, the things that often go unnoticed. Their prayers are special to God and we, especially us young, weary moms, could learn A LOT from THEIR prayers as we are “teaching” them ours’.

How have you taught your children to pray?

Advertisements

One thought on “3 Ways to Teach Children to Pray

  1. Pingback: Modeling Mondays: Series on Teaching Children to Live a Godly Life | His Rib

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s