I never knew how to pray. It seems silly, I know, but no one ever taught me. The only prayers I knew until adulthood were the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary and I never understood what they meant. No one told me. They were words we said, so I said them. I wish I would have received a little more instruction on why and how we pray. That will not be an oversight in our house.
Prayer is encouraging, uplifting, and humbling; it allows us to better ourselves and to examine our life. It is one way to communicate with God.
Teaching a child how to pray is an important part of parenting so that they develop a relationship with God. Make prayer a priority, model it, be consistent and respectful.
Everyone Should Pray
From the moment they are born a child should engage in pray. True they cannot say the words, but they can listen. During the bedtime routine is a good time to say a simple prayer or sing a song with the child. By age 3, a child should begin to contribute. Start with allowing them to choose people to pray for. As they get older allow them more responsibility in prayer, till you are praying together, equally.
Prayer is About
It is easy to start prayer by asking, but it should begin with praises. Thank God for everything He has given you. Have your kids think of things they are thankful for. When we list all we have it humbles us, and the things we need are not as desperate. Pray for individuals, for their salvation, their situations, and what they need. When praying for yourself, ask for strength, understanding, and forgiveness. God knows what you want, so it is not about what you say but your heart.
Time is Now
There is no wrong time to pray. Don’t wait until later if you feel the need or think of someone or something to pray for; do it immediately. It does not need to be a long prayer. Say what is on your heart. It is also good to set aside a designated time during each day, some people say them before bed others in the morning. Just make some uninterrupted time to talk with God, that is what is important.
Here, There, Anywhere
Where you say your prayers does not matter. Say them in the car, in bed, at the table. Just find a place where you can give God your full attention.
Make Prayer a Priority in Your House
Teach your child the importance of prayer by putting an emphasis on it. Make it part of the day, multiple times; pray a blessing at dinner and before bed. The prayer can start the same each time but allow for time to pray for new situations that happen. It someone needs a prayer say one immediately and include your child.
Set the rules for prayer, that it needs to be done with respect toward God. Do not let kids get away with being silly or not paying attention. Teach them that prayer is a time to communicate with God and that it is serious.
Show Them How It Is Done
Like all aspects of parenting, a child will learn a lot from what their parent’s say and how they act. That means a child needs to see and hear their parents pray, both mom and dad. Parents need to feel comfortable praying in front of their children and with them. Pray with reverence.
After the prayer, answer any questions about who or what they prayed for honestly. Do your best to explain your prayers, why you prayed and for who.
Don’t Stop Believing
Pray, every day with your child. They will learn the words to say by teaching them and showing them, but they will learn more through doing it every day. When you speak with a person repeatedly, you get to know them better and you develop a relationship. The same goes with communicating with God.
The most important point to remember when teaching a child to pray; it does not matter near as much what is said, but the spirit in which it is said. Are you demanding or repentant? God hears your words but He also hears your heart.