¿Habla español?

Teaching Our Children to Pray

Prayer is hard, or is it just me? Your mind wanders, you shake it off and come back to your prayer list. You forget who you were just praying for. Or maybe you were done and in between family members when...Oops...As Maria says in "The Sound of Music", "God bless what's his name." Oh, and then you probably should confess some sin, right? What missteps happened yesterday? You swore a lot; you said things you didn't mean--or did you? And back to the sin list. Does this sound familiar?

Then you have kids, and well, how do you teach them to pray when your own prayer life feels like "a hot mess"? I have no real answers for you or magic formulas.  What I do know is that prayer forms us, shapes us--our theology, our ideology; it shapes our ability to sit in silence, to contemplate, to get in touch with our depravity. It shapes us into humble people who come daily to the place of "God, I NEED YOU."

As prayer forms us, it forms our kids. We model everything for them--and they are little sponges, soaking up every response, every tone, every habit (which is very scary, if you ask me!). You can do all the "normal" prayer related things with your kids--pray at meals, pray for a friend who is sick, pray away the monsters at bedtime. Those moments matter, make no mistake. Those habits are important, and anchoring times of the day with prayer can be so formative.

I challenge you to also think maybe a little more "outside the box" when it comes to prayer with your kids. I remember as a child, being worried about an ambulance we saw driving by. My mom suggested we pray for the person they were going to help, and we continued to do that for years. It is something I have started doing with my girls--praying out-loud for the people the first responders are helping.  These simple prayers can make a big difference, but prayer does not always have to be simplified for our children to understand.

I sometimes pray liturgical prayers at breakfast while the girls are eating--the Confessional Prayer or the Apostle's Creed. My 3 year old started a conversation today because of my praying The Apostle's Creed.  It was perhaps more confusing than enlightening, but none-the-less, opens the door for continued discussion and sharing. "Confessing" to your kids can be very powerful. When I mess up or hurt feelings or yell, I tell the girls I should not have responded that way, that I am sorry, will they forgive me? And you know what? Sometimes, my girls will even come say they are sorry on their own--a true parental win. But in all seriousness, that modeling component has so much power.

I will end with this story:
One night after dinner, my husband Joshua was saying how he had a headache. He was in pain, holding his head. Unprompted, my three year old says, "Let's pray for Daddy." She went over and laid hands on him. I was genuinely surprised because I am not the best at praying at the first twinge of pain. All three girls went over, and laid hands and prayed for healing.

Don't underestimate the good, the Truth your kids pick up on. They are watching, they are learning--all from you. As parents, we all agree to teach our kids to be kind, to think about other people, to share. Let's also teach them to pray. Jesus is listening.

Related Posts

1 Comment


Amanda - February 2nd, 2021 at 11:44am

Thank you for this encouragement today. It was timely for where my heart has been. Being home alone with my kids for so long, there feels like less to talk about, fewer opportunities to teach or talk about important things. I needed to be reminded of how impactful modeling prayer and faith can be all on its own.

Categories

Tags

1 Kings 12 Days of Christmas 20 minutes 2020 Acts Adonai American way Antelope Valley Apostle Paul Apostle's Creed Bibile Bible study Bible Birmingham Book of Acts But God COVID-19 COVID Calvary Charlies Angels Christian Voter Guide Christian home Christmas Church Colossians Communication Confessional Prayer Corinthians Dallas Willard David Devotional Doing Life Together Eastertide Easter Ecclesiastes Emmanuel Ephesians Epiphany Esther Father in Heaven Father's Day Father Galatians God With Us God first God is good God of peace God still Moved God's Will God\'s Will Good Friday Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Gospel of Matthew Happy Father's Day Hebrews Holy Spirit How to Pray I want that Isaiah 43 Isaiah James Brown James Jenna Bush Hagar Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah Jesus John 3:16 John Wesley John Kingdom Come Kingdom of God Leadership Lectio Divina Light of the World Lord Love is Love your neighbor Luke MLK Malachi Mama Bear Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Matthew Merry Christmas Micah 6:8 Micah Monday Night Manna Mother Hen Mothers Day Nancy Drew Nehemiah New Testament Old Testament Only God Knows Paul Pentecost Peter Philippians Prince Phillip Prince of Peace Proverbs 13 Proverbs Psalm 10 Psalm 23 Psalm 40 Psalm 42 Psalm 46 Psalms of Joy Pursuing the Presence of God Queen Elizabeth Revelation Romans Ruth Haley Barton Savior Sermon Sheridan Voysey Son of God Son of Man Son Spider Man Sunday School Surprised by Joy Target Thanksgiving The Free Market The Lord's Prayer The Sound of Music Timothy Titanic Today Show Twelfth Night Voter Guide Women in Leadership Women of Faith Women's Bible Study abide abstain accused act justly action adoration adventure advocate afraid allelon alone anchor anger answers anxiety art attack authority awkward back to school balance baptism be kind be prepared be still and know beaten and condemned beauty and struggle beauty belief believe betrayed by a kiss betrayed black friday blackbelt blameless blessed blessing bookmark boundaries broken brotherhood burden butter called by God called by name called care cause celebrate centered in Christ challenges childbirth children choice choosejoy choose christian christ chronic illness church nerd alert church online citizen civil rights clean hearts cleaning comfort community compassion into action compost confession of faith confession conflict resolution conflict confusion connection connect consumer culture contemplative prayer conversation with God corruption court tv court creation cross crucified and kind crucified crucify dad dating daughtership daughters death defense delight denied depression differently abled disabled discernment discipleship discipline discovery discrimination distracted divine divinity do good do the action donate doughnuts dreams dream early church eating disorder eden election emotional health empathy encouragement endurance enough excess expectations failure faithfulness faith fall family dynamics family fun family systems family fangirl fasting fast favorite scripture favorite things fear feel find and follow Jesus forgiveness forgive freedom friendship friends fruit funeral fun galaxy garden generations generosity genesis gift give it away give life giving goals god good news gospel government grace of God grace grass is always greener gratitude gravy great cloud of witnesses green bean casserole green thumb grief grieve grit groups growth ham hangover happiness harsh truth healing healthy habit heart sick heart help holidays holiday homeless homeostasis homeschool honor hope deferred hope how the Lord speaks how to read scripture how to talk about loss how to worship humanity human innocent inspiration intercessory prayer intimacy introvert invitation isolation journal journey joy just believe justice kids kindness kind kingdom of heaven lament lent let it be life together light live loneliness longing loss love mercy love story love the Lord love loving like Jesus magi marathon march marginalized marriage mashed potatoes meditation memorial memories mental health mentalhealthmonth messiah momlife mom motivated by joy mourn moved with compassion move mystery need neighbors neighbor new season new year news new nickname normal not alone nothing but joy now and not yet nowandnotyet nurse offering one body online overflowing with gratitude pain pandemic parenting parents pastor patience peacemaker peacemaking peace perseverance personal prayer perspective petition phillipians pity planted by water plan politics practice of confession practicing gratitude pray for pastors pray without ceasing prayer request prayerwarrior prayer praying praywithoutceasing pray present prize promise of God promise prophetic psalms psalm purpose quarantine questions quiet race read reconciliation recovery reflect rejoice relationships relationship repentance resources resurrection retreat riot road to the cross roles routine rules sabbath sadness safe at home salvation scripture about justice scriptures about fear scriptures about joy scriptures about peace scriptures about race scripture seasons season self-care self-denial self-differentiation serve serving share shelter at home shepherds signs silence simple pleasures single dad single mom single parent sing sinking sink slowly smile sober social distancing solitude sonship soul care soul music spiritual disciplines spiritual health spiritual practices spirit spring stars starting point star stayathome still good stop and look up storm streams of water strength stress struggleisreal study success sudden suffering of Christ suffering summer support surrender take heart talking with kids teacher tears technology the truth is out there the truth will set you free the way the truth and the life thessalonians think thisistheday time tithe together traditions transformed transition treasure tree of life trials trust and obey trust in the Lord trust truth turkey understanding unfailing love unity universe vice president virtual volunteer vote waiting waking up walk humbly weather wedding worry worship yield youmatter zoom