“Jesus, thank You for this food. We bless it in Your name. Amen!” That can be heard each lunch and dinner at our table. It’s a very simple prayer, and everyone says it except the baby.
We are passionate about prayer because we are passionate about God. And we want to teach it and live it day in – day out, as a lifestyle. We all know that prayer is important for life with Christ, but how our children view prayer is normally the direct result of our own personal exercise of it.
Prayer is simple, right? Isn’t it just talking with God? Yes, it is simple! It’s so simple that even the youngest children can consistently do it. Did you know that prayer can be fun? In this post, I’ll list some great tips and exercises to practice with your family to help them pray.
When do people become Believers?
I read a statistic stating that 85% of Americans were born again between the ages 4 -14 years old. That’s a startling difference from the mere 10% of those who come to Christ when they’re 15 -30 years old – or 4% from age 31 and up. Don’t we presume 15 year olds have plenty of time to come to Christ? But by that age they have already formed most of their basic opinions and decisions about things… like God. The real work, 85% of the time, has already been done – at a much younger age.
And with all those young ones coming to faith in Jesus, there is a crucial need to disciple these kids. We need to establish prayer in their life while their understanding, habits and identity are being formed. Why is it important? If our kids know they can exercise their faith in the God that hears and answers prayer, it will help ground them in faith. Having a prayer lifestyle teaches your children to seek the Lord to know Him better – not just to get requests answered.
So, let’s get started:
1.) First, you as the parent must have a prayer life. Don’t try to teach something if you don’t do it yourself. They need to see Mom and Dad on their knees as a regular family reality if they will ever do it. Remember you’re giving your life over to Christ, not just doing another task to check off your list.
2.) Get to know a praying community in your area. It could be a small group that prays in your church or a house of prayer that is near your home. These groups give your family lots of opportunities to join in corporate prayer as well as support to keep you going.
Our family is involved in a house of prayer that has a lot of young families. I love to glean from some of the moms with older kids and hear what works for them. It also gives my kids some friendships with kids who already pray with passion and consistency. Double win.
3.) Set aside that time block to start praying with your children, whether it be an hour or 30 minutes – schedule it.
Here are some suggestions on what to do during that time:
Turn on Some Worship Music.
Worship music can help in many ways, and can it get them started in their dialogue with God by singing to Him. I recommend IHOP Kansas City’s webstream to start your prayer time.
Get some Musical Instruments.
Then everyone can play during worship. It will help keep very young children engaged. You don’t have to know how to play, just get some cheap toy instruments or real ones if you want.
Our children’s pastors use this during our Sunday school time. Children kneel and put their face down. It helps them focus on listening to God’s voice. And, according to the children, He speaks to them. I have some jaw-dropping stories of God speaking to our kids, but that’s for another post.
Shiloh, my oldest – a two year old, was having a hard time knowing what to pray while in the prayer room, so I made cubes to give her subjects with scripture based prayers. It also doubles as a game.
I took some soft cubes I already had and with a sharpie wrote different subjects on some (i.e. daddy, our neighbors, America). I wrote apostolic prayers on some other cubes. You roll one subject cube and then a few scripture cubes and pray those prayers for your subject. The International House of Prayer has an extensive list of apostolic prayers that you can see on their website ihopkc.org.
– Write different prayer themes and postures and put them in a hat. Draw one and work on it for that time.
Some examples: corporate prayer, devotional prayer, intercession, travail, importunity, prophetic words, praying scripture, pacing, praying in a circle, singing your prayer, prayer of thanksgiving and praise.
– Here’s a phrase to help you digest the bible during your times: Read it, Say it, Write it, Sing it, Pray it. Read a verse out loud. Make a song out of it. Use it as a prayer. All this to solidify it in their heart and mind.
– Find some time to practice praying for someone’s healing. If you’re out, look for people who you could pray for. It will be faith strengthening for both of you to see your prayers in action over someone else’s life.
– Make a prayer request box with a top and a slit to put in prayer requests. In a week, dump out the box and pray over the requests. You can also make a praise report box and put those requests inside when they’re answered. What a great way to show your family that God answers prayer!
A lady I know made a prayer box outside her house, and people all over her neighborhood have been contributing prayers for her. What a good way to reach out to your neighborhood, by offering your prayers for them!
– You can also reach your neighborhood by going on prayer walks and praying for each house you walk by. You can also pray for anyone you meet along the way.
– We got a map of the United States and colored it. Shiloh will point to one of the pictures like the statue of liberty and pray, “break the idols in Jesus name.” Pray for States they point at or reach for when they are babies and as they grow.
These are all some ways that can encourage your child to pray with you. The family that prays together stays together, and is stronger in faith. Why not start this new year off by rooting and grounding your family in the most important spiritual discipline they can develop – prayer? You’ll be glad you did.