As I was tucking my youngest daughter in the bed last night, I was tired. Dog tired. Bedtime at our house is one of those things that’s just wretched. That’s the only way I know how to put it. It just sucks, ok.
We have 4 small kids and one of them a strong willed little girl who has a list of demands a mile long every night. I know it’s something I’m probably gonna miss in about 10 years, but as of right now, I can do without it.
Anyway, back to bedtime and being tired and my daughter. She wanted me to pray with her. Usually, this is something we do as a family before bed, but not every night and not this night. I wanted to tell her no. I wanted to tell her to pray in her head, but I thought, “If I don’t continually teach her how important prayer is and how to pray effectively, she will never know.” I know, I sound so spiritual, right? I’m rolling my eyes right now with the sarcasm.
Too often we parents not only neglect to teach our kids to pray, but neglect to teach them to pray properly. I’m also guilty of this.
The Bible says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Prayer is the most powerful tool a Christian can use to change, influence, and protect those around them. Our kids need to know this. They need to experience the life-changing power of prayer by learning how to pray themselves. With that being said, here are 11 ways to teach your kids to pray.
11 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Pray
Let them see you pray
Let them see and hear you pray. Pray out loud around them so that they can hear what an effective prayer sounds like.
Let them repeat your prayers.
This is something my husband and I have done since our oldest was old enough to babble a few words. It started at the dinner table and moved on to bedtime. All of our kids have learned to pray this way. Pray throughout the day. Encourage them to pray throughout the day.
Anytime, anywhere. Let them pray and you finish the prayer. This is what we do at bedtime. One of our kids will start the prayer, they all get a chance to pray, and my husband or I will finish it.
Read prayers from the Bible
Read the Psalms and prayers of David. Read the Prayer of Jabez and the Lord’s Prayer. Let them read Hannah’s Prayer of Praise and Jonah’s Prayer for Salvation.
Listen to them and chime in when they need help
As they pray and stumble for words help them. If there is something they forgot, like asking for forgiveness or praying for character traits, chime in and remind them.
Write out a list for them
Sometimes struggling to remember what we need to pray for hinders us from wanting to pray and we often forget to pray for the important things. Help them to make a list (if they can read) to help them to remember what’s important.
Teach them to have quiet time in the morning
Start with 5 minutes every morning and work your way up. Instruct them that this is time for them to pray to God or focus on the bible.
Teach them that you need quiet time in the morning
Let them know that you have a quiet time and need it. This will show them how important this is to you and they, in turn, will mimic you.
Help them to see their prayers answered
Point out prayers answered when a prayer is answered. Make a big deal of it. One time when my son was about 5 he wanted some red sunglasses. We had bought him sunglasses before that got lost and didn’t want to buy any more. So, I had him pray for some. My thought was maybe someone will give him some. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later our neighbor gave him her red sunglasses. It was a huge deal to him.
Help them start a prayer journal
Help them start a journal to keep track of their prayers, their bible readings, what they have learned, and their prayers that have been answered. I just happen to offer a prayer journal for free.
What Our Kids Need to Know About Prayer
These are all great ways to teach our kids to pray, but they also need to know who we pray through. Jesus is our intercessor. It’s through him we pray. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.” James 14:6
They also need to know that we need to be cleansed from our unrighteousness to be conformed to the image of Christ. In fact Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.”
I’m Guilty of Not Teaching My Kids To Pray Properly
As we have more kids and time goes on we get busier and more tired. I’m not as diligent as I once was about teaching my kids to pray. My 2 youngest aren’t as knowledgeable of our faith as our 2 oldest are. They don’t know the importance of prayer quite as well as the older kids.
But, I have to remind myself that it’s ok. They’ll learn. They’ll watch us and we’ll keep teaching them. I’m making it a point that they know the power of prayer and know how to use it.
Hi, I’m Rebecca. I’m a wife to a cowboy, homeschool mom of 4, and faithful yet flawed follower of Christ. I spend my days homeschooling my 4 little ones, helping my husband on the ranch, and blogging at Homeschool on the Ranch. I love encouraging fellow moms in their homeschool journey and helping them to be the woman God has called them to be. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
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