With Your ChildrenI have been a believer in Christ for 7 years and I think one of the hardest things to learn to do with my kids was to pray. Changing what we listened to, watch, how we talked were all relatively easy for some reason compared to prayer. We are called by God to" pray without ceasing" in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. That means we bring all things to God. He wants to hear the good in your life, but also your troubles, your sorrows, your pains in life. James 5:13-16 says it all: When you are in trouble, when you are happy, when you are sick, to show faith, for confession of sin, and to pray for others. After all He already knows them, He just wants you to bring them to Him and trust in Him to work all things to His glory. "Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
So how do you begin to pray with your children? Weather you are a new believer, or have just have never really felt comfortable tacking prayer aloud, here are some really helpful ways that I have found to make conversation between you and your Father easier. Even f you have never prayed with your children, it is never to late to start. My older kids were 5 and 10 before I was saved and we had never prayed before that time. It was uncomfortable at first, but the more we did it, the easier it became and now its like second nature to stop and pray and give all glory to God no matter what the circumstance. All that to say, ITS NEVER TOO LATE!!
Here are a few ideas that I have used in the past to get us going:
1) Highs and Lows: My kids still think this this one is stupid, but we still do it. Go around the table and ask your children what their "highs" were from the day, and then ask them about their "lows" from the day. Share your highs and lows as well, and then pray for them together.
2) TV/Newspaper Prayer: Have each family member take a portion of the newspaper ( front page, sports, obituaries, cultural, etc) and circle items that he or she feels need to be prayed for. Then ask family members to pray for the things they circled in the paper. If you do not get a paper, turn on the morning news and make notes of some of the things that caught your attention that are happening locally or nationwide that spoke to your heart. Have younger children that cannot write, take turns helping them write down there thoughts or talk to them about what they want to pray about and let them start things off.
3) Sentence Prayer. This is how me and my kids started off learning to pray. I knew about ACTS and we just kinda made up a little "cheat" for prayers to get us comfortable. I even wrote them down on note cards so we would hit all points. Cheesy I know, but it made the kids comfortable the first few months having something to hold and draw from that was predictable and not changing.
- "Father, I thank you for …"(food, clothes, roof over my head, pets safety, good grades on test) I never limit them or look down on them for the things they are thankful for. As adults I think its easy for us to forget the simple things in life God has given us that we should be thankful for that kids will remember.
- "God, forgive me for …"(yelling, not being honest, hitting my sibling, pulling the dogs tail) What ever it is make sure you do not punish them for it later if they have the courage to bring it forth to God and ask for His forgiveness and they are sincere. That has been a hard one at times.
- "Messiah, help my friend, neighbor,teacher, the unbelievers, homeless..etc …"Any person they can think of for anything. The whole purpose to get them use to praying for others and not just themselves. To realize others are hurting and to see the power of prayer.
- "Lord, help me be more …"( patient, understanding, honest, brave, courageous, content)
- "Savior, help me to let go of …"(pain, hurt, envy, pride, lust, resentment)
- "Lord, give me the courage to …"( stand firm, not conform)
- Lord of Hosts, one of the fears I need help with is …" ( I try to use different names for the Father so they recognize them and also find one they are comfortable with)
- A stands for “adoration.” Begin the prayer by simply adoring God for who He is.
- C stands for “confession.” Spend some time confessing your sins.
- T stands for “thanksgiving.” Take time to thank God for the blessings that He has given to you and your family.
- S stands for “supplication.” Lift up specific areas of your life in which you need God to supply for your needs.