Welcome to the seventh and last post in this series. If you’ve stuck with me, I’m certain that you’ve seen encouraging things in your prayer time with your kids, and I’m guessing you have been challenged in your own prayer life. Which, by the way, has made you a better parent. Guaranteed. Ready to see the last method? In some ways, this is the easiest, but in some ways, the hardest. Keep at it, and give yourself grace while you make it a habit.
- Saying Grace
- Bedtime Prayers (and Morning Prayers)
- Praying Scripture
- Memorized Prayers
- Before Reading the Bible
- Spontaneous Prayer
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of prayer as something we do at predetermined times, like before dinner or before bed. But when something happens during the day that prompts us to pray, we should do it every time. Every single time. When we do it front of our kids, we teach them that our first response to things is to go to the Lord. It shows that our connection with God is constant, not just at scheduled times. My son is great about this, which is a blessing because I haven’t modeled this as well as I should have. But I always honor it when he does it, and I love seeing him drop his head in the car or wherever we are to reach out to God in the moment.
When something happens during the day that prompts us to pray, we should do it every time. Every single time. When we do it front of our kids, we teach them that our first response to things is to go to the Lord.
A Very Unexpected Mission Field
Storytime from the minivan! When my daughter was a preschooler, we were driving back from my parents’ house one afternoon, and an idiot on a motorcycle whipped past us going way, way too fast and popping a wheelie down the highway. Terrifying. My first impulse was to use him as an example of how you should never, ever drive a motorcycle like a maniac. Well, that’s dumb. How is that relevant to a preschooler?!? In that second, God showed me something way better. (Isn’t it great when His wisdom overrides our nonsense?) She and I both saw the reckless way he was driving, so I said, “Sarah, that scares me. He is somebody’s son, or husband, or friend, and he is doing things that could kill him or hurt him. Let’s pray for him to stay safe and to start taking better care of himself.” So, we did. And after that, every time she saw a motorcycle, she prayed for them right there in the car, whether they were being safe or not. Motorcycle riders became her prayer mission field!
I hope this series has been helpful to you. Even if you only take one of these methods and use it consistently, your prayer world with your child will expand. Put that in the “win” column. Let me wrap up with a few general principles:
The sooner, the better. But it’s never too late. Of course, it’s better if you can start when they’re little because they’re so spongy, and they think you’re the greatest. They want to be just like you. When they get older, they’re less spongy and you’ve certainly toppled right off your pedestal. But even if you only have 3 months until they leave your home, you can do a lot in that time. And God honors your efforts and will stretch them.
Keep the prayers close to their level, but slightly above. Praying with a two-year-old isn’t the same as praying with a twelve-year-old. It shouldn’t be. Their life experience is different. So always pray at a level that they can relate to, but most kids can take in more than you think. Growth comes with challenge, so see if they can take it if you pray a little above their current level. If they get lost, adjust. And check yourself every few months to be sure you’re moving with them and not staying at a level they’ve passed.
If you have Christian family members, encourage them to pray with your child. They probably already do, but be sure they know how important this is to you. When your child sees and hears people besides you praying, the impact is greater, and it will become more organic to their everyday life.