How Do We Teach Our Kids To Pray
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take.”
This is the classic children’s bedtime prayer from the 18th century and printed in Thomas Fleet’s “New England Primer” in 1737.
Do you remember praying that prayer when you were a child? Did it ever scare you that you could die before you woke up?Often people ask me how to teach children how to pray. This has always surprised me because I never understood why our children should pray any differently than we do. Their spirits are alive and tuned into the Holy Spirit dwelling within them the same as ours.
Teach Kids To Pray
You have probably heard the expression ‘out of the mouths of children.’ Children are often more aware than adults and see things from an uncomplicated, basic perspective.
Their thinking is not clouded by tradition or advanced learning. This is why I am confounded when people ask how to teach children how to pray.
When a child has asked Jesus into their heart, that same Spirit that dwells in us dwells in them. There is not one for adults and one for children.
This became exquisitely clear when I asked my grandson, age 10, if he knew how to pray. My grandchildren live a fair distance from me, and I only see them three times a year. I hope that anyone who lives close to their grandchildren appreciates it to the max!
When I do have the privilege to visit with them for a few days, I love tucking them into bed at night. I enjoy asking them about their lives, their friends, and their likes and dislikes.
On the first night of an extended visit, I asked them what they would like to pray about before going to sleep.
“I want to pray for my daddy,” my grandson, Will, responded.
I was pleasantly surprised that he wanted to pray for someone other than himself. He proceeded to tell me his concerns which were greater than what a young boy should need to worry about. He was worried about his daddy’s business and wanted to ask God to bless his company.
“Okay,” I responded and then explained the prayer of agreement as described as a miracle story in this article.
Out Of The Mouth Of Babes
There are times when we are trusting God for a miracle but appreciate the support of someone agreeing with us in the prayer of thanksgiving and victory. The person who agrees with you, as the above story illustrates, must be of the same mindset, unwavering in their faith.
The children and I held hands, and we prayed a simple prayer of thanking God that He knew the situation and that He would turn this business around and realize God’s favor on it.
A tear ran down Will’s face as the Lord touched his heart with that assurance and we each felt God’s presence.
The following night I asked the children if they understood what it means to have a conversation with God. They both nodded and I asked Will to explain what that means.
“Gramma, when I pray, I always stop for a bit and I am quiet.”
“Why are you quiet, Will?”
“Because if two people talk at the same time, it is hard to hear the other one!”
Did I mention – out of the mouth of babes? BAM.
Shut Up And Listen
Many Christians have stated that they think God only speaks to a select few. Sadly, many believe that God no longer talks to people today.
Yet, here is a ten-year-old boy who has grasped the truth that to hear God we need to shut up and listen.
I then asked him how he knew it was God talking to him and how did he hear Him?
‘Oh, Gramma,” he stated with an eye roll as if to say I should know better than to ask such a silly question. He continued, “when we are praying at night and the room is quiet, I just think about God and I can hear him right here.” He put his hand on his heart and covered it with his other hand like a hug to himself.
“Do you ever wonder if it is God talking to you or….”
“Of course not, Gramma. I can only hear God in my heart. It is like a deep feeling, and I know He is near.”
I was deeply moved by this conversation, hugged them, and said good night.
This is NOT Faith...
The following evening I told them I had a question that I thought only a kid would be able to answer.
“Why do you think the Bible says that when we approach God we should come as little children?”
Will laughed. “That’s an easy one Gramma!”
“Well?” I was waiting patiently for his drum roll answer.
“God is like our daddy. When my daddy tells me something or promises me something I know he is going to do it. I do not wonder about it. I just wait for it to happen.”You may want to read that again.
If God said it, you must choose to believe it. This is faith.
How often do we pray the same prayer repeatedly? This is not faith. Asking God over and over again for the same thing only means that we did not believe His answer the first time.
Questioning it, doubting it, wondering when it will happen, or wondering if God heard our prayer are not statements of faith. They are statements of doubt and the enemy is quick to feed that seed.
Let us become as little children and let our petitions be made known with thanksgiving in our hearts.
Instead of wondering how to teach children how to pray, let them teach us.