Recently in the prayer class I lead at our church in Oklahoma City, I was explaining to the new children why we take one Sunday a month from their regular lessons to focus on prayer.
“We want you to know God, not just know about Him, and hear God, not just hear about Him,” I explained.
If we want our children to know God and not just know about Him, we need to teach them to pray and pray with them. Children could do all kinds of worksheets about God and hear stories about Him, but it is when they talk to and listen to God that they begin to know His heart.
Prayer is simply being with God and having a conversation. Children need to know early in their lives that they can talk to God just like they talk to Mommy, Daddy or a best friend. They need to understand that God is there and attentive to what they have to say. Instead of putting them on hold or playing a recorded message, God is always willing to listen—whether they are on the playground, at a friend’s house, in the car or at church.
You can pray:
How to Learn Prayer
One of the first ways children learn the importance of prayer is hearing their moms and dads pray. Since Josh was born, his dad would pray for him each night at bedtime, asking for God’s protection and love to fill his heart. When Josh turned 2, his parents added a short nightly reading from his Bible. Shortly after age 2, Josh began to join in by looking around his room and naming everything he could see to thank God for—blankets, puppy, Mommy, Daddy, new shoes, toys, the nightlight, eyes, ears, nose. He thanked God for the most interesting items!
But it was not only Josh that was growing spiritually. Hearing her son’s simple prayers, Josh’s mom, Sandy, could not remember the last time she thanked God for her sight, hearing, shoes, clothes and all the other blessings in her life.
Get Out of the Ruts of Prayer
One way to banish the “nothing to pray for” or “prayer is boring” complaint is to get out of the ruts of prayer by using prayer targets and making prayer active. Use a game I call “Musical Prayers.” Place a chair for each participant in a circle. Tape a prayer target to each chair. Begin playing music and have everyone walk around the chairs. When the music stops, each person finds the nearest chair and prays for that need.
Pray a Blessing
Praying a prayer of blessing on your child’s life each night at bedtime (or other times of the day) can bring comfort, reassurance and hope to your child’s heart. Pray for God’s favor, protection and peace. Thank the Lord for something specific—a gift, talent or quality in your child. You can use a Bible blessing, such as Psalm 5:12 or Numbers 6:25, or speak from your heart. When you pray scriptural blessings, you are speaking words that match God’s desire for your child.
An essential part of prayer is simply saying, “Thank You, God.”
As you try different ways of connecting with God, children will learn that prayer is one of the greatest adventures in life—to call on the God of the universe and then to hear from Him. As Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and wondrous things you do not know.”
Cheri Fuller is an inspirational speaker and an award-winning author of 40 books, including the best-selling When Mothers Pray, When Children Pray, Opening Your Child's Spiritual Windows, and Opening Your Child's Nine Learning Windows. Her ministry, Families Pray USA, motivates and equips moms, dads, children, teens and churches to impact their world through prayer.
For the original article, visit churchleaders.com.