Teach Them to Pray
When one thinks about the great men and women of faith you can visualize their strength of character, their personal holiness, and their exercise of the disciplines of the Christian faith. Whether reading the Word of God, serving in a ministry capacity, or preaching to a multitude, nearly every hero is also marked by another characteristic. They are men and women of prayer.
Prayer is a critical part of the Christian life. We are told to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) and to “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Col 4:2). We must exercise our privilege to pray individually, but we must also teach this great discipline to our children. Just as the disciples petitioned, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 13:1), our children are needy of us to teach them to pray. We must teach our children what we have learned about prayer.
When teaching children to pray, the most powerful method is modeling. You become the example of what prayer is like. You can show your children how to pray by the way you pray. Invite your children to be part of your prayer life. When you allow them the privilege of praying with you as you commune with God, they will begin to replicate what you do.
Essentially, children will mirror and reflect on what their influences are. When parents model a consistent prayer life, children will reflect that discipline. Your attitude about prayer is important in building a foundation of prayer for your children. One pastor says, “Nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect.”
To say prayer is important is a great understatement. To help empower you as a parent in the critically important discipline are some practical ways to pray with your children.
Practical Ways To Pray With Your Children
- Pop-Corn Prayer-One person opens in prayer, and another closes the prayer, then everyone else pops in when they are ready.
- Prayer Circle- Hold hands and pray until everyone prays
- Prayer Journal- Write your family prayers down. You can revisit later and see where God has answered prayer.
- Prayer Walk- Walk through your neighborhood or park and take turns praying out loud.
- Prayer Cards- Everyone write a prayer request on a card and put it in a pile. Mix them up and take turns praying for others’ requests.
- Prayer Map-Pick places on the map where you have relationships. Pray for family, missionaries, and friends.
- Fruit of the Spirit-Each person choose a fruit of the Spirit to pray for the family.
- Confession-Each person confesses their sins.
- Thanksgiving-Each person gives a prayer of thanksgiving.
- Pray a verse- Each person chooses a verse to pray.
By implementing one of these practical ways of prayer in your family time you will help teach your children to pray. Remember to model for them, but also give them opportunities to pray alongside you. James Dobson rightly concludes, “There is nothing more important than parents passing on a generational legacy of faith and values to their children.” When you teach your children to pray you are giving them a greater opportunity for a close relationship with God.