Teaching our children about prayer is one of the most important things that we can do as parents. Helping them to understand what it means to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are five steps that parents should take :
- Pray with them
This is the first and most important step because as parents we should lead by example in every way. Take the time to pray with, for, and over your children. This will show them what it looks like to go to God in prayer not just for their needs but for the needs of others as well.
2. Teach them that prayer is an ongoing conversation with God
Helping our children understand that Our Heavenly Father is concerned with every aspect of our life is critical. So if they are struggling in some area whether it is with friendships, school, etc., we should encourage them to take everything to God in prayer daily and throughout the day. Something as simple as “Lord help me” is a prayer. We ALL need His help and He will respond.
3. Allow them to lead prayer
Share with them the opportunity to lead you and/or your family in prayer. This could be at the table when it is time to give thanks for a meal, during family devotional time, or even at night before bed. Don’t place limitations on what they pray for and allow them to talk with God from their heart. This will help them to make prayer a part of their daily walk.
4. Help them understand how to apply God’s Word in prayer
God responds to His Word. Parents should help their children learn the scriptures specially those that are applicable to whatever stage of life they are in. For instance, we’ve been dealing with Madison and fear at night. I quickly recalled a scripture that my mom helped me memorize, Psalms 4:8. We now pray this at night over her and she repeats after me: “ I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone oh Lord make me dwell in safety.” We should teach our children that prayer and scripture go hand-in-hand.
5. Acknowledge answered prayer
Gratitude is important. We teach our children to say “thank you” when someone does something for them. We should also teach them to give thanks to God in all things according to 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and especially for victories won through prayer.
I am learning to be intentional with these 5 steps as a parent and it is wonderful to see my child learn how to pray. I hope that you find them helpful as well!