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?

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It’s Not About Me

Am I the only one who seeks for validation? For the approval of people in choices I’m making? Things I’m posting? Ways I parent? Etc. etc. etc.

I don’t think you would have to read too many of my posts to know I struggle with caring too much what other people think.

I am a work in progress. We all should be.

Often times I write God uses me to write a post but then I wonder… Did anyone read it? What did they think? Do they agree? And the Holy Spirit must calm my soul and remind me, “It’s not about me.”

Don’t we all do this? At least to a certain degree?

I am finding, each day, I must sit back and let Him do His work. He has called me and wants to use me. For. HIS. Purpose!

It’s. Not. About. Me. It’s about Him!

We want to be used by God. We want to be in His perfect will. We want to do His work and bring glory to Him. But then we worry.

Isn’t that funny?! Our human nature. We must fight it.

God wants to use ME. He wants to use YOU. And we need to remember, it’s not about us and it never was.

If God has called you to it, and you are doing it, then you are where you need to be. Doing what you need to be doing. Let Him use you and don’t worry if someone approves.

Yeah… I hear ya Holy Spirit 😉

What have you been worrying about and not fully giving to God?

Thankful Thursday: “Mom, I Love You So Much!”

Last week, I was playing with the boys in the living room and my sweet Conner just looked at me, with this beautiful smile and said, “Mom, I love you so much!” OH MY GOSH! My heart just melted!!!

Everyday I look at my boys and I feel like my heart is going to BURST!! I just love them so much! I tell them all the time because I am overwhelmed with love for them. It was amazing to hear him say the same thing and to really look at me as though he felt that same love. Earlier this week, as he was taking a bath, I was dancing, singing, and just being silly, and he looked at me with a big smile and said it again!

Conner was my first child. My first boy. He holds a special place in my heart! I love both my children so much and they each have a special story and place in my heart.

Conner was my 72 hour labor-after my water broke, then an additional 5 hours of pushing, then a ride from the birthing center to the hospital, and about 2 hours after that Conner was delivered by C-sec. Wow! It was quite an experience, but it brought us together! He was my 8 lb 10 oz big boy!

He loves to help me. He is big helper. He helps with dishes. He helps with laundry. He helps clean. He picks up his blocks and carefully places them in the bin perfectly! He asks if I’m OK any time he hears me say ouch. He cries and gets sad if I am crying or hurt. He has such a big heart and I can tell he is a lot like me, he is majorly empathetic. He is such a sweetheart!

Tonight he insisted on helping me dinner for daddy. He was a big help as always.

Don’t worry, I was right there and he didn’t stay close to the stove long. He did more preparation beforehand, and then helped set up the table while I did the hot stuff. 

I could go on and on at how precious and amazing he is! I am so thankful that God would bless me with such a sweet, caring son! I love him so much!!!

What are you thankful for today?

Lifting the Church Up

Side note… I’ve been recovering from mastitis still… harder than I thought. I do apologize for not being in the right state of mind to write my blog. Between being ill, and very busy with church business, I have been behind on EVERYTHING! So don’t think I am only neglecting you; unfortunately, it has carried over on to my poor family. Thank you for your continued prayers.

What is the hardest part of the church? That it is made up of humans 🙂

I’m not trying to be mean… just honest! We all make mistakes. We all have choices and make decisions, but at the end of the day, we are responsible to God for how we handle ourselves.

I try  to ask myself regularly, am I doing this/saying this to uplift and encourage, or am I doing this/saying this to tear down.  It is no secret that I once struggled heavily with anger issues. God has pulled me out of that bondage, and reminds me often, to keep my anger in check.

This means thinking before I speak and choosing my words wisely. It also means wise decisions in choosing who I will allow to “get into my mind.”

I have to ask God, am I talking with this person to find peace and unity within my church, or to plan to bring my church down? It is so easy to get caught up in meetings and groups, to get caught up in conversations, to allow my thoughts to lead me to anger and blame. It is easy as a human to put myself in a place where I focus on the negative or focus on the faults of others, but I have to ask myself, “what good can come from this?” How am I contributing to the unity of my church by doing these things.

The Church is made up of humans. We are all going to make mistakes. It is important to keep each other accountable and in check for these things! The same is true for the Body, not just the Head! When I am approached or want to approach others, I try to remember, how will this help the Church? How will this represent God best?

I also ask myself, what do I know to be TRUE and what is simply told to me through the grapevine. Gossip is such a horrid thing, and I would certainly be lying if I ever claimed I have never been a part of it, but when I step back and look at the aftermath, I live with my actions.

I write this blog today out of complete LOVE! I truly LOVE the Church! I truly LOVE MY church! I want to bring good things forward. In everything I say and do, I make sure to ask and seek out the truth. I ask God to guide me to what is important. To where my focus should be. Do I want to dwell in anger and resentment? Do I want to spread gossip and possible lies? Am I looking to start something that would be better not started? Am I lifting up the Church? Am I standing strong through the hard times? Am I doing MY part to bring peace and unity, where we all can work together?

God, my cry to you: “You hear me! Your see my tears. You see the anger. You know the hurt and heartache. It’s nothing new to you. You are not surprised. Help me to find the common ground. Help me to do my part in creating peace.

“Guide me in my decisions, so that as new people come to the church (especially unbelievers!!!), they will see your love through me and my church! Help me to know what conversations to stay out of and away from. Help me to only listen to those who are looking to move forward rather than dwelling on the past. Help me to listen to those who want to learn from the past as we look forward. Keep me and my actions in check!

Also, remind me to forgive. Help me to look at people through your eyes, in your love. That all people are human and we all make mistakes. Thank you Lord for not leaving me when I failed you. When I made terrible choices. Remind me to offer that same love and forgiveness to others. Amen!”