Praying with your children is an important activity that families should prioritize but when many of us struggle to pray consistently on our own, teaching our children to pray may sometimes seem a bit of a daunting task.
But it doesn’t have to be!
Praying with your children can be a very simple habit to begin, if you haven’t already, and it can also be a time for you as a parent to show them a variety of ways that they can talk to God about.
The beauty of talking to God is that there isn’t one right way to do it! Prayer is simply open and honest communication with God. We should teach our children that God loves to hear from them and wants to be intimately included in every details of their lives. As we teach our children about prayer and pray with them we can show them a variety of waya in which they can approach the thrown of their heavenly Father about what concerns them.
Here some tips for praying with your kids and maybe even some tips to help you in your prayer life as well!
1. Pray at meals.
This one may seem obvious but take the meal time prayer a step further. Assign one kid ownership of the mealtime prayer for a specific time of day (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and let them “own” that time for an entire month. It will give your child regular practice praying and give them a habit of praying daily. It will also cut down on figuring out who should pray at each meal.
2. Pray for your spiritual community.
Many times for children, they will struggle with who to pray for outside of their family or close circle of friends. Get creative with who you can pray for as a family outside of the normal “grandma, best friend, sibling prayers! Bring home your church bulletin and pray for those who are sick or who have lost loved ones. Find out who your church supports on the mission field and pray for them and for the mission they are working to accomplish. Make a list of the people who are on staff at your local church and pray for them and the work they do for the Lord.
3. Pray for your physical community.
Take things a step further and seek to identify leaders in your immediate community, local government, or even the nation. Take the opportunity to teach your children about their roles and then show them in God’s Word how important it is to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Prayer can become an opportunity not only to talk to God in generalities but also to learn more about that for which we pray so that we can pray specifically. As you seek to teach your children (and maybe even yourself) to pray more specifically, take the time to listen to the radio together, watch educational TV programs, read magazines articles etc. But then don’t just stop with gathering information. Pray together about that which concerns you and those areas in which you desire for God to move.
4. Pray the Scriptures.
The Psalms are rich with passages that you can read together as a prayer. Teach your children the beauty of praying God’s Word back to Him. If you are not sure where to start you can try these - Psalm 16, 23, 51, 121 or 139.
5. Build a family heritage of prayer.
While we certainly want to pray for meals, and for others, we shouldn’t neglect to pray for those closest to us in our nuclear or extended family. One of the best ways for kids to see God work is to pray for the people that they are close enough to see answers when God works. This happens best when we pray for our own family! Start a family prayer journal to record the needs of your nuclear family. There is nothing wrong with praying as a couple for your family but include your children on some of those requests and be sure and record God’s answers in the journal there as well. Take turns praying for each other. Try “round robin prayer” where you pray from oldest to youngest or vice versa. You might even try establishing a “family altar” a certain place where your family gathers together as a matter of habit to pray together (living room, in the children’s room, the dinner table). Developing the habit of praying together as a family is a beautiful tradition that can draw your family closer and give your children spiritual memories to last a lifetime.
Chrystal Hurst, ChrystalEvansHurst.com