Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
A friend recently asked me some advice about praying with her children. Her little boys are 2 years old and she is a wise momma to want to know more about teaching her boys to pray. Who? What? When? Where? And How?
Teaching our children how to talk to God is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. They will know that they are weak, but that He is strong. They will know they are safe in his loving care because He is their protector. They will know He forgives them when they ask and repent. They will know He loves them because He is always there to hear them.
Here are some things that have worked well for our family:
· We pray at all meals asking God to bless our food and thanking Him for providing it. The first prayer my children learn is, “God, thank you for my food. Amen.” We begin this prayer when they start talking. My momma reminds me that my first prayer was, “Tata Jesus.” (Thank you Jesus).
· We pray at bedtime. From the moment my children have a bedtime routine, prayer is a part of it. For a while it is us praying for them. When our children are very little maybe 2 years old, we start having them repeat after us. They quickly catch on. When they are older we both pray. Meaning they pray and then either Doug or I pray. I sometimes sneak back in their rooms and pray over them while they are sleeping. It is a precious time that I treasure.
· We use several reminders as a “call to prayer.” These all usually take place in the car. For every red light we come to we pray for the 147 million orphans in the world. For every McDonald’s or advertisement for we see for it we pray for daddy. When we hear an ambulance or fire truck siren we pray for the people who are affected. I have vivid memories as a little girl riding in the car with my momma and praying. From generation to generation…
· When we hear that someone is sick or hurt, we pray for them immediately. When one of my children falls and skins their knee or gets hurt, we pray right then for healing and comfort. I want my kids to call on the “Great Physician” for their healing, comfort and peace.
· We pray for the nations of the world. For example right now we are praying for
with our children. The website operationworld.24-7prayer.com is a great online prayer resource. Libya
· We are teaching them to have a heart of praise. I want my children to know that when we pray we are not always asking God for something. We want to give God all the praise, glory and adoration that He alone deserves. It’s a fun thing for my kids to open up the sunroof of our car and praise the Lord. Also, when the weather is nice we go outside and the children shout their praises to God! Psalm 8:2 says, “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”
Above all else I am trying to teach my children that we pray at all times for all things…that we are in constant communication with God. I’m praying they will learn this as they see Doug and I living it out.
We are teaching them that God turns His ear to hear their precious voices talking to him and that he answers prayer! It has been so sweet to see their response when God does answer prayer. We have in the past couple of years prayed for a baby for two friends. God answered that prayer by giving both of them a baby, one through adoption, the other biologically. We celebrated God’s goodness and faithfulness in all our lives as we celebrated the gift of those babies.
But they have also learned that God sometimes answers our prayers in ways we don’t understand. Like when we’ve prayed for healing for someone sick and instead of them receiving healing on earth they are healed when they meet Jesus face to face. We still celebrated, because God is always good and always faithful!
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18
What are some ways that your family has experienced prayer together?