Ten ways to pray with your children

Having an active prayer life, and inspiring one in my children, is something I desire as a mother. I need daily help to teach my children the ways of the Lord, and I want them to know that they do not have to rely their own strength – God wants to help them. I like to keep prayer times fresh, natural and organic.  We use a combination of routines and unique ideas in our prayer life. Here are ten ideas for ways and times to include prayer in each day, with and for our children:

  1. Pray before meals.  This a traditional time to pray, and it provides a regular reminder for us to thank God for His blessings.
  2. Have a ‘circle’ prayer.  Named the ‘circle’ prayer at our house, this is simply a way to pray where one person opens the prayer and each then takes a turn saying what they are thankful for, or what they are requesting of God. It goes around a few times and then someone closes it.
  3. Pray before bed.  Another traditional prayer time, which I think is very helpful in creating a peaceful, loving, positive routine. In our family we each have a turn to pray (or sometime do the circle prayer), and my husband and I try to include prayer for the spiritual growth of our children at this time, as well as requests for peaceful sleep and sweet dreams.
  4. Pray when a need becomes known.  Sometimes we get a call or message with an urgent request for prayer. At these times it is good stop what we are doing, call the family together and pray.
  5. Learn the Lord’s prayer.  While this is not something we have done (yet), Jesus provided us a sample prayer which we would to well to acquaint our children with.
  6. Pray when they are scared.  Whether it is bad dreams in the middle of the night, or stage-fright before performing to an audience, we should pray with our children whenever they are scared, teaching them that God both comforts and strengthens us in times of need.
  7. Use a prayer list.  Whether you keep a list on the fridge, in the lounge or on the back of the toilet room door (as my parents did when I was growing up), keeping a list of ‘prayer fodder’ around helps us and our children to remember to pray for “all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).
  8. Pray alone.  As I have mentioned in a previous post, spending a personal time with God praying for your children is nourishing to the soul, and I could not get by without this time to ask God for His grace, wisdom and Spirit to be poured out on me and my children as we teach and learn together.
  9. The ‘Three Things’ prayer. Quite often during our daily Bible time the kids and I do a ‘three things’ prayer. We each choose one thing to be thankful for, one thing to pray for ourselves (with a spiritual emphasis) and one thing to pray for someone else.
  10. Pray when the impulse arises.  Princess has been an inspiration to me on this last point. Quite often when we are in the middle of doing something she will pipe up and say, “We should have a prayer!”. Yesterday we were out for a walk at a local National Trust property, enjoying the beauty surrounding us and the special time together as we all walked hand in hand. During this walk she gave this sweet-voiced suggestion, and so as we walked we said a circle prayer of thanks for the lovely time we were having. I hope she never loses the desire to pray spontaneously, and that it infects all she knows with a love for talking to God.

Dear God

As each day of my motherhood journey passes, I am more and more convicted of the need for prayer, in two key ways.

1)  Fervent, deep prayer.  Daily – or at least, regularly – we need to set aside time to go into our room, close the door, and pray to our Father who is unseen. There is no way that any of us are capable enough to raise, teach and fulfill children on our own. We may have gifts, talents, commitment and love, but we are still not enough. I don’t say this to tear us down; I don’t want to submit to false humility or self-deprecation. I just want us to be honest – and the honest truth is no matter how good we are, we are not perfect. We will fail as a parent – and often! The truth is, we need to appeal to a power greater than ourselves to raise our children up in faith. We need to beg God to fill them up with His Spirit, to strengthen their souls, to draw them to Himself, to lead them in His paths, to teach them His truths and to instill in them a life-long love and passion for Him, and an unconditional love for all others.

Not only is this deep prayer an intercession to God on behalf of our children, but it is also rejuvenating and nourishing for our own souls. Spending time with God is like drinking a fantastically healthy fruit and veg smoothie – only better! It builds us up and strengthens us to resist Satan’s attempts to bring us down. Spending time in deep prayer is the best motivation I have found for helping me put into practice the ideals and ideas I have for my children.

The prayer jar, and a faithfully answered prayer 🙂

2)  Sprinkling prayers throughout the day.  It is important to include prayer throughout the day for both our own and our children’s sake. In our house, we try to pray in lots of different ways: together at our Bible snuggle time, stop what we are doing to pray if we hear of a specific need, pray at meal time, and pray at bedtime. Paul, in the book of 1 Thessalonians, says we should pray ‘continually’. I think what he means is that we should have a prayerful mindset. Prayer should be a first reaction to both good and bad situations. Thanking God and asking for His help should be second nature as we go about our daily activities.

There are also many creative ways of adding prayer into your daily life. I particularly like this idea as a way to help our children remember to pray for others. Another idea that we use is the ‘prayer jar’. Anyone can write a prayer or ‘letter’ to God, and put it into the jar. It is fun to look at them again later and see how faithfully God has answered the prayers we have prayed.

What ideas to you have to keep prayer a central part of your and your children’s lives?

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