Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Praying with children

Over the next few posts, I’ll share some ideas about praying with children, mainly covering the 0-10 age group.

Basics first.

1. Pray for your children.

Make sure you pray for your children. Use the types of prayers in Praying the Scriptures for your Children and you will be praying biblical prayers on a wide range of issues.

I know some parents pray daily for each of their children. That is great and is a wonderful discipline. For myself, I have a five day cycle that works through us all. It keeps me a bit fresher for each and more detailed for that person on that day.

I don’t think you have to follow a set strategy or format, just make sure you are praying for your family members.

Miller makes this comment in A Praying Life:
It didn’t take me long to realise I did my best parenting by prayer. I began to speak less to the kids and more to God. (p59)
Prayer for our children acknowledges God is in control, that we cannot change the hearts of anyone and that we call on Him to do his work in our loved ones.

2. Pray with your children

One of the most important things in praying with children is showing that it’s normal. Anyone can do it, anytime.

We don’t need a special time, a special situation, special words or a special voice to pray.

We just need to turn to God and trust in Him.

So, we can pray anytime, which may include:
  • At the beginning of the day
  • At bedtime
  • Before meals – thanking God for the food
  • When we have fears / bad dreams – asking God to take them away
  • For our special events – starting school or pre-school, birthdays, etc.
  • For world events – elections, natural disasters, wars, etc
  • About issues – problems with friends, when people are sick
  • About character development – eg. needing help to be kind, gentle, compassionate
  • For forgiveness - when we’ve done the wrong thing
  • For emergencies – eg. for emergency vehicles with their sirens on

I’m sure you can think of many other times and situations when you would pray with your kids.

How do we pray? 

In an age-appropriate way and in words they understand. As they get older, the language we use will progress, showing them how prayer can come clearly from the bible, and also be more detailed and more varied.

So with a 2 year old you might pray, “Thank you God for my sister and that you love her”

With a 6 year old, you might pray, “Thank you God for my sister, thank you that you love her and sent Jesus to save her. Help her to love you more each day.”

With a 10 year old, you might pray, “Thank you for my sister and the fun we have together. Help her to always know she belongs to you, and please make your word a lamp to her feet and a light to her path. I am sorry for the times when I am not kind to her, please forgive me and help me to be kind”

Over the next few posts, I’ll share some ideas about prayer with various ages of young children, starting with the youngest – babies, toddlers & pre-schoolers. This is a rather personal series - it is really a collection of the things that have worked for us as a family. I would love to hear your input throughout on other ideas that have worked for you.


Sarah said...

Thanks for this post, Wendy. I just received 'Praying the Scriptures for your Children' for my birthday. A good reminder to pray for my 5-month-old son and keep praying.

Wendy said...

You're welcome Sarah. Hope you enjoy the book, I did!