This is part 2, in a series of posts on teaching children to pray… go read part 1 also…
1. Be real, not religious
There are a lot of ways you can be religious in your prayers that will NOT be of help to your children…
Using big, religious words because it seems that’s how prayer should be is not a good thing.
The truth is, prayer should be like talking. If you wouldn’t talk that way, don’t pray that way.
Your kids need to see genuine examples of what it is like to talk to God.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use “bible” words like sanctification, justification, etc. – but it does mean that if you are going to use them, you should help your kids understand what they mean.
If you don’t they’ll learn religion, not relationship with Christ.
Praying in flowery, fancy, rosy terms that deny the reality of the hardships of life is NOT good for your kids.
Your children need to know that it’s OK to talk to God about the hard stuff, no matter how hard it is.
But if you feel compelled to keep your prayers “sanitized” so they don’t get exposed to the hardships of the world, they’ll never learn that God is relevant to life, or that He cares about what they go through.
Pray honestly about what you are facing as a family. Pray openly about the needs you have.
Your kids need to see by your prayers that God cares for everything, big or little.
2. Get outside your own world (intercession)
Help your kids know that prayer is not only about getting… it’s also about giving help to others. Here are some ideas about how you can do this…
Pray with your kids for people you know
If their friend’s mother is going in for surgery, pray with them about it. If their teacher is gone on maternity leave, pray with them for her and the baby.
God cares about people in all walks of life, and your kids need to know that.
They will learn it as you pray with them about those around them.
Pray with your children about missionaries and people in other parts of the world
Praying for missionaries does three things:
1) It teaches your kids that the spread of the gospel is important.
2) It teaches them that prayer is helpful to those in other parts of the world.
3) It teaches them that they can be involved in God’s work in history.
3. Talk about the God you are speaking to
Your kids need to know who it is they are petitioning. Here are some ideas…
Ask your kids what they imagine God to be like.
You’ll be amazed at what they have right, and what they have wrong.
Use their responses as opportunities to dig into the scriptures with them to help them get to know God better.
Talk about God with your kids when you are not praying
Make God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit members of your household. Include them in conversations on a daily basis.
Tell your children what God has been teaching you. Tell them when He convicts you of wrong in your own life.
Doing these things helps your children understand what God is like.