A Prayerful Example 12

Most kids enjoy saying their prayers. As parents, we can encourage this habit to grow.

My wife and I try hard to pray with our kids several times a day. We offer the usual blessing before each meal and end any disciplinary action in prayer.  We also pray before we go down for nap and before bedtime.  It has gotten to the point that if we forget, our kids get upset and remind us.  Go kids!!

What we have a hard time with is to give our kids good examples when we pray.  Let me explain that one a little. How may of you remember the little prayer below:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for God my soul to keep;
Or if I die before I wake,
I pray for God my soul to take.

Yeah, I was raised with that prayer from the 18th century The New England Primer as well.  There are now over 15 verses and variation of that prayer.  All of them have to do with the person praying.  This isn’t bad, but prayer should be a conversation not a dictation.  Are we inadvertently teaching our kids bad prayer habits?  Well, I realized we were.

Most of our prayers have not changed.  Our meals are still started by asking for God’s blessing and thanking Him for his previsions.  When disciplined our kids still pray for forgiveness and strength to do what is right.  However, at nap time and bedtime we have tried to introduce a few other elements.  We don’t do all of them at every prayer but we try to always use at least one.  So, here are a few ideas to help kids move beyond the selfish prayers we are all guilty of:

  • Ask your child for one good thing that happened that day and thank God specifically for that.
  • Ask your child for the name of a friend to pray for that day.
  • If you know of a friend that is sick then pray for them as well.
  • Pray for your child’s teachers and other authority figures.
  • Ask your child what they studied or learned that day and use it in prayer.
  • Use mini prayers with your kids to ask God for help throughout the day.
  • Use the Joshua Project to find an unreached people group to learn about and pray for.
  • Memorize and recite the Lord’s Prayer with your kids.
  • Keep a prayer journal with your children and watch how God answers prayer.  Don’t just pray about a subject and then forget about it.

There are lots of ways to expand our children’s understanding of pray.  Remember, we are the example to our kids.  They will learn to pray in the same way we model prayer to them.  There is nothing wrong with praying for help, provisions, or a good night sleep. If this is all we are praying for though, we are missing a huge opportunity to share God with our kids.  Do you have other ideas?  How do you pray with your kids?

This post shared @ Finer Things Friday, Just for the Joy of it.

About Philip

I am an electrical engineer enjoying the quiet life in Iowa. My life on-line is routinely interrupted by my family and I like it that way!

12 thoughts on “A Prayerful Example

  • Sharon

    great ideas! My husband introduced me to A. C. T. S. — Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. It's a wonderful pattern to follow… and I'm always so humbled by my tendency to start with the Supplications! I haven't tried this with our son yet, but we will… as soon as he starts talking!

    Wonderful to have you join in… thanks for sharing your JOY! (and great news about the impending new addition to your family. Praise God for that!)

    • PhilD41 Post author

      Thanks Sharon. I am familiar with A.C.T.S. I am not sure why I didn't remember it for this post. It is a great way to get the priorities right as well. 🙂 Don't be too eager to have your son start talking. From my experience, once the start they never stop!

  • KristineMac

    Hi, I found your blog through Sharon's Just for the Joy of It Thursday post. I love all of these suggestions 😀 I also was raised with the "rote" prayers and taught a version to my own children. We did try to stress to our kids that prayer is an open conversation but I think some times even in our own prayers we can fall into regular or repetitive phrases. Thank you for the reminder 🙂
    My recent post Talk To Da Hand!

    • PhilD41 Post author

      Thanks for dropping by. You are right, I still find myself falling into that as well. The listening side of prayer is much harder then the talking. It is also much harder to explain to kids, especially small ones. I still hold to the principle that it is never to early to start though.

  • Joyfull

    I am also visiting from "Just For the Joy of It". Thank you for a great reminder, not just of the power of practicing prayer with our children, but also the encouragement to move beyond selfish prayers and develop a lifetime habit of being mindful of deeper and more meaningful prayers. Thanks for sharing some great tips.
    My recent post Just For the Joy of It – Saving Money

  • Jamie

    Hi, I found you through Just For the Joy of It and I really love this post. I’m enjoying listening to our children’s prayers mature as they get older and get a better understanding of the love and character of God. Thank you for your suggestions. I’ll be trying to remember them all!
    My recent post Small Blessings

  • Joseph Nally

    At family worship we have our 7 year old pray before any one else. We've been doing it that way for years. Through it we've been able to guide her in praying. Now she is confident, reverent, and sincere. I'm always blessed and humbled by her simple and powerful prayers.
    My recent post Working Overtime Effects You and Yours

    • PhilD41 Post author

      Thanks for the GREAT idea Joseph. Ours have not felt comfortable praying for the family yet. Something I know we need to start working on.

  • Maureen

    This is a wonderful post! Will try the prayer after discipline time, I think it's a brilliant thing to do. Right now my son can say his bed time prayer which is something similar to what you posted and his prayers before meals. I came from Sharon's blog and now your newest follower! Thank you for sharing this, God bless you & your family!
    My recent post 7 Things I Learned From Sex and The City

    • PhilD41 Post author

      Thank you for stopping by. I am glad you found this useful. Pray is such an important part of life yet we don't always teach that to our kids. I am as guilty as anyone which is part of the reason this subject came up. 🙂

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