Praying and Teaching Children to Pray
A few months ago my father passed away. Our family gathered to celebrate Dad’s finishing the race he began so many years ago, to join Christ (and my mom) in the heavenly realm. What a special time we shared! The cherished memories were sprinkled with laughter, sighs of unbelief and tears! Our parents’ Godly legacy has served as a shining example to many for the need to have God as our foundation. As my younger brother and I parted that day he mentioned in passing that I was now the oldest member of the clan, to which we each snickered.
Mom and Dad always had walls full of family pictures. One wall was of the generations that came before. These were reminders to be thankful for God’s provisions. Another wall was strewn with current photos of family members: their four children & spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This was their prayer wall. Each day they faithfully sent prayers to the heavenly Father interceding for each of us.
In the days that followed our family gathering at Dad's passing, God placed on my heart the desire to carry on this role of family prayer warrior. Those forty-four names are called out each day after my prayers of worship and thanksgiving. Then recently I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to accept the challenge to teach my younger grandchildren the importance of prayer and that it is more than a rote prayer at meal time and bed time. But other than by example, what strategies could I use?
This week my friend forwarded an email incluing the Lydia’s Lifeline newsletter. A couple of the articles were so appropriate with ideas I can use in various situations. Here I share the one I’ll be using soon:
Praying with Children by Sonia, a Lydia prayer leader in Illinois
…..When we started talking about when Jesus withdrew to pray and what prayer was about and its importance in our daily lives, I asked [the children] if they prayed and in what moments prayer happens. Immediately they answered me: One said, "I pray at night when I am scared!" Another added, “I felt sick in school and prayed; then I felt better!” Someone else said, “I prayed for my dad, and now he's better.”
I had made dice with the words, “Thank you” (Gracias), “Forgive me” (Perdoname), “
Please” (Por favor), and I Love You."
(Te amo). The kids would roll the dice and do a prayer with the theme of the words they landed on. The kids were enthusiastic, as we began our prayer session. Every prayer that the kids made was precious! Some sentences were,
“Forgive me because sometimes I do not obey or do not do what I have to do.”
“Thank you for the people who are doing something for our Hispanic community this summer.”
“Please heal my brother."
“I love You, Lord, because You are powerful!”
When I asked them if they believed that all human beings should pray and get closer to God, I was told, “Yes but unfortunately not everyone wants too.” Then somebody said, I think we should pray for them.” “Yes,” I answered them, “Let’s pray for revival.”