The Discipline Of Prayer
“Train up a child in the way they should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. Proverbs 22:6
“Dear God, thank you for a lovely day, thank you for a lovely play at the playground and thank you for our lovely dinner, Amen.”
This is the prayer my 4 year old prayed before our dinner tonight (I’ve got to teach him some more adjectives 😉 ). As a parent it is such a privilege to be given the responsibility and authority to teach and lead our children in the knowledge of God’s word.
“You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 11:19
This responsibility can be daunting at times but is so worth putting time and effort into shaping our kids for God’s kingdom. Modelling the spiritual discipline of prayer for our children will teach them everything they need to know and inviting our children on this prayer journey, day by day, allows them to connect and grow in their relationships with God.
Kids are like sponges and soak up everything around them, good or bad. It is therefore important to make sure we as parents model commitment and routine in our prayer lives. If we can demonstrate consistency in everyday prayer our kids will absorb God’s presence and love on a daily basis and grow to naturally communicate with their Father God
How do we establish the discipline of prayer with our kids?
Prayer is communication with God, simply it is talking to God. When we pray we grow closer to God and open up opportunities to connect and hear from Him. We pray with our kids using simple language that they can understand and relate to, allowing them to connect with God easily and speak to Him like they would a friend. As they grow older the prayers change to suit the child’s maturity level.
It is important to take the time to listen to what God has to say to us in return. Being intentional with our kids about quietly listening for God’s response after prayer teaches our little ones to pause and connect with God. This can be awkward at first but over time as we model prayer as well as listening for God’s response our kids will be able to speak to and hear from God with clarity and power.
4 examples of prayer times in our household
1. Bed time: Praying about anything on the child’s mind about the day just gone or the day ahead. We also use this daily prayer time to speak blessings over our kids, e.g. In Jesus name I release peace, calm and rest upon you as you sleep, may you find favour with your friends and teachers, may God’s will be upon your life and His Spirit fill you up to overflowing with His joy.
2. Meal times: As a family we take turns praying before dinner, each child has the opportunity to pray when it is their night, this allows them to pray out loud on a regular basis and have an awareness of how to pray out loud themselves, rather than Mum or Dad always praying for them.
3. New situations: We bring new experiences (e.g. first day of school) before God and release His will over the situation. I have found including God in these moments brings peace and a release from nerves/anxiety.
4. Healing opportunities: My kids often come to me with sore legs or tummies and the first response is always to pray and release God’s healing over them. This teaches our children the power of prayer in everyday life and also gives them the tools to seek God first in the difficult times. I am intentional about showing my kids that they have great authority in the Kingdom of God and are able to speak out words of power and healing in Jesus’ name. (eg. Fear – Go!, Pain – leave!)
One parting thought from me is that PRAYER is POWERFUL. I teach my kids that they have great power in what they speak out and can affect the natural and spiritual world with their words.
Being His Presence In Every Place