I am on a godly home and marriage board on Facebook. We got into a talk about how you teach your children to pray. It was such an encouraging discussion, and a great reminder that our “words” or how they sound is not what honors God the most. In fact, Jesus spoke about the Pharisees, or other holier than thou folks, for trying to use big, flowery, impressive, “look at me I am awesome and holier than you” wording.
“5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:5-7
As a mother my greatest prayer is that my children would grow up to serve the Lord, trust Him, follow Him, obey Him, love Him and share Him with those around them. I pray this daily. Sometimes HOURLY. Sometimes it seems constantly! I desire my children to know they are loved by the Almighty Father and He wants a relationship with them. A friendship. I have a few thoughts I wanted to share. I apologize if they seem scattered 🙂 But know my heart is in the right place, and I truly wanted to share what was on my heart… mom to mom (or dad, or friend, or anyone else who reads this 🙂 )
One of the key factors in ANY friendship is…
Most, if not all of us, have friends. Most of us have that one super special close friend that we share everything with. That friend we go to for advice, to share frustrations, sorrows, struggles, and joys. If God our Father wants to be a friend to us, then we MUST teach our children that they need to communicate with Him. That is the first step, to me, in teaching a child about prayer. Simply teaching them they are talking to a friend.
As a child grows, they will understand more and more, but even young children, I am most referring to toddler and preschool age here, can talk with their best friend… their heavenly Father.
There are many verses in the Bible about coming to Christ as a child, so clearly the Lord treasures children and their hearts.
“but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
We have prayer time with our girls and it really is one of the most AMAZING things to see. Even our 2 year old has a desire to pray, whether she fully understands or not, I believe it is a wonderful start to learning about our Amazing God. She is quite the talker, so she can go on for quite sometime, haha, but it is SO precious. She tells God thank you for mommy, daddy, sissy, Roxie, then lists people she knows, she thanks God for Jesus and food and sleep and anything else her little heart is thankful for. My 4 year old does that as well, but has started to share concerns and requests as well. She prays for those who don’t know Jesus to know him and believe in Him. She prays for her friends she has to PLEASE know Jesus (and she about cries praying this). She prays God will use her to help others know about Jesus. It is am amazing thing to hear.
I think those simple child prayers really mean a lot to the Lord. It helps me remember that I don’t have to be perfectly eloquent to pray to God. God knows what is on our hearts before we even open our mouth!
Another thing important about teaching children to pray and teaching them about the Love is the Lord is
Even if you have young children who are nervous, or shy, or afraid to pray out loud, seeing YOU, as their parent pray will give a wonderful message about the importance of prayer. The Bible says to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), therefore we should always be having an attitude of prayer with whatever we do. Have a thankful heart with whatever we do.
Do I always do this successfully? No. Do I strive to and desire to? Absolutely.
Our Lord is amazing! He is worthy to be praised! I truly desire and pray that my children will grow to see this and believe it to be true. Nothing in this world is “for sure”, but by God’s grace, I strive to set a good example for my children. I want them to know they can go to their heavenly Father FOR anything. They can SAY anything. They can be honest. They can share ANY emotion. They can talk to Him at ANY time, whether before school, before a test, before a meal, in the shower, in the bed, beside the bed, WHENEVER!
Our Lord is ready and waiting for us to come to Him. His ears are always open to the prayers of His children. Have YOU talked with your Friend today?