How Do I teach My Child to Pray?
My pastor mentioned this Sunday that the devil always comes with His “A” game. While the devil is on the attack, prayer is a powerful weapon against the enemy. I want my children to be spiritually successful so I try to emphasize the importance of prayer. Below are some tips to teach your child to pray.
- Encourage your child to begin prayer with thanksgiving and adoration for Jesus. When my children are younger I tell them what to say to start their prayers. My two year old prays the same prayer everyday but it is a starting point. I start off saying, “I love” and she blurts out JESUS! With time we add on. One of the first things they learn is that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and that is something to be thankful for. I have them repeat the following after me, “Thank you God for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.” This is foundational. We then thank God for meeting our needs. I may have them repeat the following, “Thank you God for waking me up this morning,” “Thank you for giving me a house.” “Thank you God that I have clothing and food to eat.” These prayers of thanksgiving makes them mindful that God is a provider and He is worthy of our praise. As they get older and more comfortable with praying, I take the training wheels off if you will and allow them to pray from their hearts. They offer up their own thanksgiving. I must confess that they sometimes can become lengthy in their thanksgiving but praise God for teaching me patience. I sometimes have to offer up a soft “amen” when they are praying, which is an indicator to them to wrap it up and give the next sibling a chance to pray. Don’t worry I am not a mean mommy that is hindering the spirit of God. They are more than welcome to continue to give thanks to God on their own. I certainly don’t want their worship to go cold.
- Teach your children about the need for repentance, initially and throughout their walk with Christ. I love how my Pastor’s wife offers up such a simplistic explanation for repentance, which is saying sorry to God and really meaning it. Children also need to learn that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standards and that there is a need to repent (Romans 3:23). Teach them to say sorry to God in prayer and let them know that it is important to admit their sins to God and ask Him for cleansing (1 John 1:9). I have had to ask my children for forgiveness. I have also had to repent in prayer in front of them on more than once occasion for being too snappy. This is such a humbling thing to do but I want them to understand that we are all in need of God’s forgiveness.
- Encourage them to tell God their needs. I have been guilty of trying to be God to my children. Allow me to explain. Yes I have been given the task of training them, but God did not ask me to solve every one of their problems or pretend to know the answer to everything. I am limited in what I can provide, what I know and even my ability to love. The Lord is teaching me not to become anxious about meeting my child’s every need and want, because truth is I cannot. My job is to do teach my children to bring their requests to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6). Humbly admit to your child that you can’t do everything and be everyone but God can. This kind of response puts God in His rightful place in your child’s mind and heart. Help them to connect the dots when God answers a prayer that they prayed. This then becomes their personal testimony which helps to foster a relationship with God, which is the end goal. I want my children to understand that I can’t always be there but God is ever present. Prayer teaches them to tap into His presence! Again this helps them to understand that I am not their savior, God is!
- Encourage your child to pray for others beyond her immediate family such as church family, teachers, and government officials (I Timothy 2:1-It is so easy for us to become “self-centered” in prayer. I want my children to cultivate a heart of intercession. They sometimes come home with interesting stories about their classmates. I encourage them to pray and not just think about how horrible a situation is. I also make it a practice to pray for their teachers and other adults in their school building and they catch on and begin to pray for them as well. Teach them to pray for the persecuted church. Voice of the Martyrs have great resources for children.
How about you? What have you done to help your child learn how to pray? Leave a comment below and let me know.
About the Author
Hello there! I am Anika and I am definitely one of those. Passion oozes from every fiber of my being. I love to love. Sounds cheesy, I know, but I already told you that I am one of those kinds of people. Read on to find out some more interesting facts about me… 1. I love me some Jesus. I love to testify and if you hang around me long enough you may hear me bragging on the awesomeness of God, like how • He gave me a house I couldn't afford • Healed two of my children • Gave me a yes when I wanted to say no 2. I married a younger man…OK, not really. I was 23 while he was 22. My birthday is in April and his in August, but it’s our running joke. Nevertheless, after 13 years of marriage, I happen to love him deeply, and it still makes for a great story. 3. I have experienced the pain of two miscarriages and the joy of delivering 6 children (3 boys and 3 girls). I have both a bachelors and masters degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Early Childhood Education, which I put to good use staying home with the kiddos. 4. I attend an awesome church where my husband is the Assistant Pastor. I am also a part of a not for profit organization that encourages women to walk in their God given purpose. 5. I am addicted to prayer. 6. I am considered nice by most, definitely extreme by design. I am politically incorrect. 7. I take the scenic route when telling a story, but I promise if you hang on long enough, I eventually get to the punch line. 8. I have great ideas but I sometimes procrastinate. Jesus and I are working on that one. 9. I am guilty of overthinking things (refer to number 8). 10. I am originally from Jamaica. Surprise…sunshine and coconuts are two of my favorite things. 11. I subscribe to the Paleo Diet and actually did a round of Whole 30. 12. I love to experiment in the kitchen. 13. I make an absolute mess when I cook. I try to clean as I go but get distracted with cooking. Go figure. (My family doesn't always enjoy my cooking but I make them eat it anyway.) 14. I love people and enjoy talking to them—even the weird ones. I tried being otherwise but found it doesn't suit me well, so I'm learning to be okay with being me. 15. I have traction alopecia and wear wigs and am crazy enough to believe God for restoring my hair follicles even though the doctors have said otherwise. 16. A movie is considered good only if it makes me cry...more than once. Sound of Music happens to be my all time favorite. 17. I really wish I sang well. I really don't. 18. Telling people about Jesus is my favorite past time. And if I'm not talking about Him, I'm talking about my family or some random health fact I learned on Google. 19. I love redemption stories and happy endings, that’s why I said yes to Jesus. Feel like you know me a little more? Well good! Please continue to stop by my little corner of cyber world. And do leave a comment. Remember I love to talk to people!