Teaching Children to Pray

Tracy / September 1, 2015

I have written through the years of being a little girl visiting with my great-grandmother. The example of her faith in the Lord planted seeds in my life that have continued to grow though she has been gone for many years.

Of my many memories, I remember listening to her pray. She would later tell me how she prayed for each family member- taking her concerns and desires for those she loved before the Lord. It set an example for me that I want to be for the children in our home. I want them to know the Lord cares for their every need. He cares about the big things in their lives, and the small.

We are teaching our children to pray. We are teaching them to give thanks and to go to the Lord with their requests and concerns.

It’s a daily exercise for me, too.

Sometimes it is hard to just trust in the middle of broken car windows, husbands traveling, family illness, etc., etc., etc.

It is easy to get lost in all that is wrong. We forget all that we have for which, to be thankful.

We pray each day as a family. We pray over specific needs within our family and we try to give thanks for the many gifts we have received.

Here are some simple ways we incorporate prayer into our daily lives and the lives of our children:

Meal Time Prayer

Homeschooling allows us to pray together at each meal time. It is a perfect time to stop and remember to be thankful for the food we have been given and the hands that prepared that meal. We also pray that the Lord would bless that meal for our nourishment.

It’s a good time to teach our toddlers to sit still, fold their hands and bow their heads. They watch as we model what they are to do. It is always amazing to me to watch our littlest of the “LamFam” folding their hands to pray.

Prayer Cards

At meal time, our family is also still using our prayer cards.

Our collection has grown quite a bit over the years and our box has changed to accommodate. Each day, the children take turns drawing a name from the box and we pray over that person or family.

These cards have become a family ministry for us. Each time we host a fellowship gathering in our home, we invite folks to fill out a card (they can include specific requests, if they like).

Over the years since we started praying over these cards, my children have added their own cards for new friends and co-workers. We consider it a privilege to pray over our family, friends and government.

(I did end up laminating our cards since they were getting lots of use!)

Praying of Specific Needs Immediately

We also pray over specific needs as they arise in our family and among friends. When a child has gotten hurt, when a friend phones and is sharing a particular need, when my husband writes to tell me he is having a hard day, we very often stop right then to pray as a family.

Children need to learn that God cares about our needs big and small! It’s another small thing Paul and I do to teach our children that God answers prayer.

Our Family Prayer Journal

At night, my family gathers in the living room for family devotion time. When Paul is home, he will teach from Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, a great book a family friend gifted to us a year or so back. When he is not, I teach chapter by chapter through the Bible. Right now, we are in 2 Peter.

When we are finished with that night’s selection, we pull out the prayer journal. We go through old prayer requests and add anything new that has come to our attention. Some of my children also keep personal prayer journals.

The best part of keeping a written prayer journal is documented answers received to various prayer. It’s definitely a faith-building practice for our family.

Providing My Children Books About Prayer and Faith

When possible, I love to provide my children with little books of prayer. Things that make them think about how we pray and why we pray.

We’re finding ways to teach them always- even if it isn’t a formal time of teaching and learning.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” -Deut 6:6-9

These are usually easy to find in the children’s section of a Christian bookstore. (I recently reviewed Count My Blessings, 123– it was a sweet little book of prayer for toddlers.)

Prayer is such an important part of Christian life. It’s so important to start teaching your children to pray early in life.

I would love to hear how you teach your children to pray and incorporate prayer into their daily life. Leave me a message!

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