Prayer has been on mind a lot recently. I have the privilege of parenting a son with Autism but my child (now teenager) has always been one to pray. From his kindergarten days when he’d come home crying to today when he has begun to show an interest in girls, I am thrilled my son takes everything to God in prayer. He even prays for his wife who says he will meet soon. (Yikes!) It wasn’t me that placed that desire to pray in my bb-gun loving, Lego-building child, that was totally God. However, I did learn over the years to keep my mouth shut when it came to his prayer life. I never would have dreamed about praying as he does but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong and I’m right.
As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day rolls around, let’s think a little more about what we can do to encourage our children to talk to God. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few pointers when it comes to teaching kids about prayer.
1. Kids should know that God speaks their “language.”
Whether influenced by King James or our favorite minister, we adults tend to get formal at times when talking to God. I doubt that you break out the thee’s and thou’s in front of your child during family prayer but if you do, perhaps you should reconsider. Kids need to know that talking to God is not always formal; it can be from their own childish language.
2. Kids should know that God hears them, no matter how they pray.
Whether they pray aloud or just in their mind, children should know that God hears them when they talk to him, no matter the time or place. (That is important when kids went to pray during school hours or just whenever they need to talk to Him.)
3. Kids should know that they could pray about anything that concerns them from a lost pet to a lost world.
I don’t believe for one second that a conscientious parent would make fun of their child or belittle him, even when he wants to pray about healing a toy. We have to be careful not to discourage them from praying about anything they deem worthy to bring to God. No matter how small it may seem to us, it is big to both the child and our Father. Here’s something else to think of, you don’t know if maybe it was God whom is prompting your little one to pray about something specific.
4. Kids should know that their prayers are private.
If you have the privilege to pray with your child, don’t share his prayer requests with others unless he gives you permission. You never want to discourage a child from praying by betraying his trust, even if that was the sweetest prayer you ever heard.
If you need somewhere to start, you can print off our simple prayer examples for children. We also have recommend the 5 finger prayer model to help kids learn to pray on their own.
Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.