Prayer is a vital discipline within our relationship with Jesus. Prayer strengthens our connection with the Lord. Through prayer, we can both be a mediator for others and align our will with God’s will.
If prayer is communication with God and is essential to real relationship with Him, it should be incredibly important to us as parents to spend time developing a discipline of prayer in our kids! For all the skills and knowledge that we teach our kids, prayer is one of the most powerful discipline we can leave them with.
Jeremiah 29:12 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” We will always be there when our children need us, but their heavenly Father will never fail them and will eternally be there forever. Why not lead them to the God that will always hear them when they call?
Here are 5 strategies to help your kids learn the discipline of prayer:
1. Be the consistent example.
This is a simple strategy to think of, but harder to follow through with. For us as parents, we are always fixing problems and finding solutions for our kids as quickly as we can. What would it look like when crisis hits your family for you to take your kids hands, and instead of solving their problem immediately, you lead them in prayer to the Father that cares for them? This will help them look back and see, “How did my parents handle problems? They went to the Lord in prayer!” This is not an easy task, but as you create your own discipline of this, you will see your kids react and learn the discipline as well.
2. Keep a family prayer list.
This can look like a white board in your kitchen or in their bedrooms. For a lot of us, inconsistency with prayer usually stems from not knowing what to pray about. Keeping a family prayer list keeps their minds focused on what they are praying for and brings much needed structure to their thinking. This is also an amazing opportunity to see how God answers prayers and have even more discussion with them when prayers don’t seem to be getting answered.
3. Make a place for prayer.
Where is your safe place to get alone with the Lord? Where could your family gather together to pray as a family? This could look like designating a room or closet to prayer and quiet time with the Lord or having a designated time within the household that everyone is quiet and respectful to people who are praying. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve.” James 5:16
Prayer is a powerful tool that the Lord has given us, and we need to show our kids the reverence and respect that it deserves. As a family, make effort to devoting a place for prayer in your homes. Your kids will take notice of its importance.
4. Teach them how to pray scripture.
Not only is praying the scriptures a biblical thing to do, it is the best structure we can give our kids for what to pray. Looking through scripture, there are verses we want so desperately to be true in our lives. Encourage your kids to highlight, underline, or mark those scripture to pray into their lives. These scriptures will be the anthems of their prayer lives. Praying scripture helps us and our kids continue to align our will with God’s will by praying his words into our lives and the lives of those around us.
5. Take time for family prayer.
This is the sweetest strategy that you can use. Schedules are crazy and your family is no doubt busy. Make time to pray together as a family. Maybe it is dinnertime or a random movie night. What would it look like for you to cultivate and schedule a weekly or daily time for your family at the beginning of the day or at the end to stop and pray together? This time can be a consistent habit that your family can expect and look forward to. This can be led by everyone in the family, and responsibilities can revolve. This sweet time with your family will be a memory that you kids will always remember, and what better memory than your family praying to the God that hears us!