“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take…”
I recited that prayer every single solitary night when I was a child until I was around 12 years old (if my memory serves me well, which is sometimes up for debate). I truly believed that if I didn’t recite it that the Lord wouldn’t take me to heaven when I died.
Truth be known, I might have recited it a lot longer than that out of fear! As I got older I added things, but….How do we teach our children to pray?
It would probably be a good idea if we as parents knew how to pray or what it really was to pray.
As a parent, quite frankly I taught my boys that prayer was talking to God…but really it was kind of like a list of who we wanted Him to bless and take care of.
“God, please be with Mommy, Daddy and Grandpa and PaPa and please help our dog find a friend…..” you’ve heard those sweet prayers. And you’ve heard those prayers that…”never end, they go on and on and on and on…..”
I am not saying that these are wrong at all…we just cannot leave them there. As they grow and mature, we must teach them what prayer is…that it is not just a “grocery list” of requests to the Father. A child at 10 years of age should not necessarily be praying that prayer of a 3 year old.
Prayer is about entering in…entering in His presence. Praising Him for who He is!
Prayer is about thanksgiving….thanking Him for what we have been given.
Prayer is about forgiveness…clearing the air and letting the Lord know how we have messed up.
Prayer is about others….lifting others up and joining the Lord where He is at work.
Prayer is about listening….what does the Father want to say to us?
Our example and not to be mistaken for a rote memorization only….
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ ”
As a child grows one can get more involved in the “what and how to” of praying. Each child is different.
I will promise you one thing though….how do you teach a child to pray?
By being his example. Hopefully he will catch you when you are unaware…..
IN CHRIST ALONE
*google image, pixabay, NIV Bible