Prayer is definitely a weakness of mine. I tend to be in communication here and there with the Creator, but to actually sit down and dwell in His presence and have intimate communication is not something I do frequently. As my children begin to follow Christ (two have decided to follow Christ), I endeavor to teach them how to pray, as I also continue to focus on improving this area of my life.
Here are some strategies I have started using in my home:
The Lord’s Prayer
As I shared in another post, one of the writings we read at dinner is the Lord’s prayer. The purpose isn’t just memorizing a section of scripture to repeat in some ritual, the purpose is to teach the parts of prayer. If you break down the Lord’s prayer it is rich with so much purpose behind each phrase. Sometimes we do just say the prayer, other times we say the idea behind each phrase and make up our own prayer, following Jesus’ example, and sometimes we just pick one part of the Lord’s prayer and pray over that area. Here is how we broke it down:
- “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name” – Praise God for who he is, acknowledge one of His many names
- “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – Pray for God’s will in all areas of your life
- “Give us this day our daily bread” – identify your needs and ask God to provide for them
- “Forgive us our debts” – Ask God to forgive you for your sins (identify specifics)
- “as we also forgive our debtors” – Ask God to help you to forgive others (identify specifics)
- “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” – Ask God to give you the strength and wisdom to avoid what is tempting you and overcome that temptation
Care for Those Who are Missing or Hurting
At every meal I ask the children “who is missing”, then I ask who wants to pray for that person. This teaches the children to care for others and notice when they are gone. Praying for the missing person teaches them that we can lift them up in prayer to The One who can watch over that person.
Encouraging Each Other
Another part of prayer is encouraging each other in prayer. Every morning at breakfast I ask my children how I can pray for them today. My daughter is in Kindergarten now and asks that I pray for her safety at school. Sometimes she will ask for other things as well. My middle child usually copies whatever her sister says, sometimes he asks that we also pray for the dog. I give every child a chance to pray over their request in addition to me praying. valuable
A few summers ago I read Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore. The most valuable thing I got from this book was the knowledge on how to pray scripture. What a powerful tool to use God’s words in prayer to him. When we work on memorizing scripture together, I often take one of the scriptures we are working on and use it as a guide for my prayer at meal time. This teaches the children to do this by example.
How to Pray for Someone to Follow Jesus
Our pastor at our local church did a sermon series on prayer recently. Every week he would have a handout for a different type of prayer. How to pray for someone to follow Jesus was one, this is now laminated and on my ring with my other family spiritual liturgy.
- Pray that the Father would draw them to Jesus (John 6:44)
- Bind the spirit that blinds their minds (2 Corinthians 4:4)
- Loose the spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15)
- Pray that other believers will cross their paths and enter into positive relationships with them (Matthew 9:38)
- Loose the Spirit of wisdom and revelation on them so they may know God better (Ephesians 1:17)
During different holidays we may change some traditions of how we pray to meet the need and activities of the holidays. For example, during Thanksgiving this last year we used the “thankful tree” to pray for others. The kids loved having a ‘new’ way to pray during this season.
Be an Example
You may have heard it said, “Children are Little Mirrors”. This is SO true. Think about how often they copy you. Be the example you want them to become. If you want them to learn how to pray, pray. You can also pray that the spirit would move in them and teach them how to talk to God. God is our best teacher, He created us, He knows us.