I have been praying with my children a lot more recently. If the kids are sitting down for breakfast and I am running late to work, I stop and pray over them God’s blessings. When there is a stubbed toe or cat scratch, we pray before finding the Barbie and Superman bandages. And when we do our evening tuck-ins, prayer comes before books, songs or tickles.
Sounds like I got it all together, right? NOT AT ALL! You see, I am the same as you. I raise my voice at the kids (…a/k/a/ scream at them…). I fail to take out the trash. I don’t give my wife the encouragement she needs everyday. But, like you, I am a work in progress learned about praying with your kids:
- Make it about God. Remember the ultimate point of the prayer . . . to communicate with our Creator . . . to praise Him for all things . . . to thank Him for the blessings he bestows . . . to ask Him for wisdom . . . to hand Him your worries . . . to claim His healing. Your children need to hear these words on a regular basis so they “get it” later in life.
- Make it about the child. After giving thanks and praise to God, we then pray about other friends and family. Then we conclude with our own desires and struggles. For each of my children, I use age appropriate words and always pray for: (a) their past day; (b) their evening protection; (c) their tomorrow’s blessings; and (d) their future contribution to the Kingdom.
- Make it fun and joyful. Last time I checked, there was not an Eleventh Commandment — Thou shalt not have fun. Instead, we are to go to the altar of God with our “exceeding joy” (Ps. 43:4). To me, this means having a joyful and vibrant voice of excite when I pray with my kids. Be animated. Let them experience joyful prayer flowing from your lips. It’s perfectly okay to say “dude” in your prayer with your six-year-old boy, which sounds something like this:
God, I just thank you for the strong little man that you gave to our family. I ask that you continue to strengthen Jackson in all that he does. Build him. Use him. Make him into a great, God-loving, change all nations, people leading, prayer warrior dude!!!
When I see the smile on the little one’s face as we say Amen . . . I know that I reached his heart and mind. There are really two major reasons to pray with your children. First, to communicate with God as a family. Second, to teach your little one how to pray. If you are just trying to check “pray with kid” off your checklist, then your heart is really not there.
Question: Are your praying with your children? Why not?