Last week we talked about why we teach our children to pray. Let’s face it. Most of us know why, but we don’t know how. Below are 7 fundamental things about prayer that you, as a parent should be teaching your child, no matter what age. Prayer is a part of our worship of God, and it should be one of the first things we teach in discipling our children. Children and youth, even more so today than ever in history, are looking for what is genuine. Talking with God must be modeled in this way or they will see right through it.
Perhaps the very first step in teaching your child about prayer needs to be starting with your own prayer life. Walk through these next steps and see if you are actually applying them in your own life. If not, it’s okay. Take some time to make these changes in your prayer life with God, but please don’t go forward trying to teach what you cannot speak from personally.
Teach Your Child to Pray
1. Teach your child that God desires communication.
– Genesis 1:26 tells how God is relational Himself as it speaks of “us,” which refers to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The same relationship that God has as triune God He desires for us to have as well.
– Throughout Scripture we read about God talking with individuals. For example, 1 Kings 19:9-18 records how Elijah desired to talk with God and God wanted to talk with him.
2. Model how you pray. Verbally sharing how you pray is a vital way to learn.
– Your children can hear your words.
– They can hear your heart tune in with God’s.
– They can see your posture as you focus on God.
– It is a part of your worship to God our Father, James 5:16.
3. Offer things to pray about (A.C.T.S.) which is best modeled in the Lord’s prayer:
a. Adoration is a time of prayer of praise for who God is and what He has done. King David wrote many Psalms of adoration. In reading through Psalm 139, there is a great opportunity to teach whom God is and how He is personally involved in our lives, deserving all our adoration. To keep Christ where He belongs, use Psalm 110 to teach the importance of adoring Jesus Christ as King of all.
b. Confession is a time of prayer confessing our sins to God.
– 1 John 1:9, Matthew 3:6, Daniel 9:20, Ezra 10:1, Nehemiah 1:6 and Romans 10:9 all demonstrate that confession of our sin is something we all must do individually and corporately.
– In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we learn that God will restore those who turn from evil.
c. Thankfulness is a time of prayer of thanksgiving for what God has done, including answering our prayers (1 Chronicles 16:8). A thankful heart is a submissive heart. We need to teach thankfulness so our children will have a better understanding of who God is in their life.
d. Supplication is a time of prayer petitioning God for specific needs of others and ourselves. Ways to pray for specific needs includes requests for healing for recent injuries or illnesses, for strength, wisdom, peace or comfort for difficult times or for needs that may not be known. One of favorite times to pray for others is when we hear sirens go off nearby, because we know someone is in need.
4. Teach how our posture in prayer should always be reverent. Walk through various postures one might have in prayer. Maybe some of these are what you have come to adore in personal moments with God. Remember genuineness is what your children are wanting.
i. On our faces – Matthew 26:39
ii. On our knees – Daniel 6:10
iii. Squatting (bent knees on sitting on heels) – 2 Samuel 7:18
iv. Bowing your head – Genesis 24:26
v. Standing – Mark 11:25
5. Why do we pray in Jesus’ name? Our prayer should be in God’s will (1 John 5:14-15). Jesus goes to God the Father on our behalf (John 14:13-14).
6. Teach when we should pray.
– Mark 1:35 says that Jesus prayed when he first woke up.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Romans 12:12 talk about praying without ceasing, which means continually throughout the day.
– Acts 2:42 addresses praying corporately with others.
7. Teach how not to pray.
– We should not pray for selfish desires, but God’s desires.
– We should not pray pridefully, Matthew 6:5.
– We should not pray for vengeance, Romans 12:19.
– We should not pray in vain, Matthew 6:7.
– We should not pray with an agenda, Matthew 6:5.
What tips have you found to be helpful in teaching children to pray?
Share your tips with another parent by leaving a comment below!
image courtesy of Crissy Pauley