Teaching children to pray and praying the right way is really important. It is a vital part of introducing them to Jesus and reinforcing their relationship with God.
Our Lord gave us prayer so we could communicate with him directly. Getting your children comfortable with prayer helps them to understand that God is always close and accessible.
When to Start Teaching Children to Pray
Children can start learning to pray even before they can speak in coherent sentences simply by watching you pray (more about this later) and by inviting them to pray with you as best they can. As with any good habit, you’ll want to reinforce prayer as a regular part of life as early as possible. Once a child can communicate verbally, they can learn to pray on their own, either out loud or silently.
But, if your Christian walk began after you started raising a family, it’s never too late for kids to learn about the importance of prayer.
Teach Prayer as a Conversation
Be sure your children understand that prayer is simply a conversation with God. One that shows respect for his unending love and power, but that is spoken in our own words. Matthew 6:7 says, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” (NLT) In other words, we don’t need formulas. We can and should speak to God in our own words. Praying the right way is simply an honest conversation with God.
Let Your Kids See You Praying
The best way to begin educating your children about prayer is to pray in their presence. Look for opportunities to practice prayer in front of them. Just as you would seek out instances to teach them about manners, good sportsmanship, or humility. Praying in the morning or before bed is a common and valuable practice. But God wants us to come to him with all things and at any time. Soo let kids see you praying throughout the day for a variety of needs.
Choose Age-Appropriate Prayers
Try to keep the words and subjects appropriate to your child’s age level, so younger kids won’t be scared by serious situations. Prayers for a good day at school, for pets, for friends, family members, and local and world events are perfect ideas for kids of any age.
Some children feel shy about praying out loud at first. They may say they can’t think of anything to pray. If this happens, you can pray first, then ask the child to finish your prayer.
For example, thank God for grandma and grandpa. And then ask your child to thank God for specific things about them. Like grandma’s yummy cookies or a productive trip with grandpa.
Reinforce that we can take everything to God and that no request is too small or insignificant. Prayers are deeply personal, and a child’s worries and concerns change at different ages. So, encourage your child to talk to God about whatever is on his or her mind. God loves to hear our every prayer.
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