The other day I saw a parent ask the question, “how can I teach my kids to pray?” I am so glad this parent asked this question because prayer is probably the single most powerful tool you can teach your kids.
So in this post I want to share a few tips on how you can teach your kids to pray. So let us dive right in:
1. What is prayer?
Before you can teach your kids to pray, they first need to know what prayer is. Obvious right?
I found these two desriptions on the internet that truly sums up what prayer is:
Prayer is spiritual communication between man and God, a two-way relationship in which man should not only talk to God but also listen.Billy Graham
Prayer in the Hebrew Bible is an evolving means of interacting with God, most frequently through a spontaneous, individual, unorganized form of petitioning and/or thanking. In these instances, such as with Isaac, Moses, Samuel, and Job, the act of praying is a method of changing a situation for the better.Google.com
I think these two descriptions really describe what prayer is. It is a two-way relationship between man and God that can change your situation for the better.
2. When do you pray?
So your children now know what prayer is; the next question is when should they pray?
Some of us, like me, were raised to pray certain times of the day, like before you go to bed, or right before a meal. This became like second nature to me. But is that the only time to pray? Imagine a married couple that only talk to each other before they go to bed or before every meal. That won’t be a healthy marriage.
It is the same with prayer. Even though praying before you go to bed and before every meal is a great starting point, it is exactly that… A starting point.
Kids should understand that God is ready to listen to them at any time. At school, with their friends, when they wake up, and even in the shower (don’t judge me. hehe)
3. What to pray about?
So your kids know what prayer is and when to pray. But what should they pray about?
Well the quick answer is always ‘anything that is on their heart.’ But even though that is true, I don’t find it to be entirely true. We need to be righteous for our prayers to be effective:
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.James 5:16
The disciples askes Jesus how to pray and He gave them a simple guide what we today know as the Lord’s Prayer. So let us look at the Lord’s Prayer quickly.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.Matthew 6:9-13
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Reading this prayer we can take the following from it:
- Glorify and praise God
- Seek His will
- Ask Him for the things you need not for the things you want, but also share your hearts desires with him (Psalms 37:4)
- Ask for forgiveness of your sins
- Ask Him to guide and protect you
- And I would also add one more to this list – thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6)
4. Show them
And here lies the most important part for you as a parent. Show them what prayer is.
Kids learn better and faster if they see someone else do it. Isn’t it how kids learn math at school? They see the teacher to the sums in front of them on the black board.
Kids learn better if they see it first.
So it is important for your kids to see you pray. To see when you pray. And to see what you are praying for.
Show them what prayer is by praying with them every day. You can easily ask them to pray a few lines once you are done. You will be amazed how they will improve over time and how a ‘one sentenced prayer’ will turn into a two, three, ten, twenty sentenced prayer over time.
Pray with them. That is how they will learn best.