“Teaching a Child to Pray by Carla Brett.”
Last year one of my children came home from school and was heartbroken because of something that had happened. During recess, the kids in Kindergarten class had attempted to lift a very large object together but had been unable to do so. My son told his classmates if they would all pray together, then they would be able to lift whatever it was. All the children had joined in, with the exception of one child who “thought it was stupid,” and so – he reasoned – for that reason they couldn’t lift this huge item.
Although I thanked God the children couldn’t lift this very unsafe object, I was also thankful in that moment that my son found it natural to turn to God to pray. For him it has not always been easy to relate to these things we cannot see or touch.
Our prayer life reflects the depth of our walk with God, and that is true for our children as well. In their earliest years, they learn about prayer like they learn about everything else, from watching those around them. I therefore encourage all our parents, to not only have their prayer time when the children are sleeping, but let it be natural for the kids to see their parents in prayer throughout the day.
As the children grow, questions arise; and that is where we consistently must be available for teaching, talking, and sharing. Proverbs 1:8-9 says for a child to “hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.” They can only do so if we, their parents, consistently instruct and teach them. I personally believe it is important to speak intentionally, openly, and often about the prayers we see God answering in our own lives or in the lives of others. Share testimonies of what God has done in the past as well as the present, to both give thanks and help build faith. As we teach our children about who God is, it becomes easier for them to worship and relate.
As a Sunday school teacher, I also try to use different prayer prompts (objects, colors, pictures, etc.) so the students do not fall too much into a routine of just repeating the same words. I want them to learn new ways to pray and connect with God.
Finally, we encourage our children that God really has a plan for them right now. Their prayers are important and make a genuine difference. “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12, NKJV).
(Information from: Ladies Prayer Intl. August 2020 Newsletter – UPCI LM – firstname.lastname@example.org)