One of the most important jobs for a parent is to teach our children the skills they need to survive in this world. That responsibility is no more apparent than when our children reach an age where they can learn how to pray. When we teach our children to pray, we introduce them to Jesus and plants the seeds for them to grow their personal relationship with God. We were given prayer as a way to communicate with Our Lord directly. Teaching children to pray helps them to understand that God is always accessible and always there for them.
Growing Closer to God
In its simplest form, prayer is defined as “talking to God.” It is a personal process of opening our hearts to our Heavenly Father and bringing everything in our hearts to Him. Through the Apostle Paul, God asked us to pray. Prayer can be a powerful force for change in our lives, and the importance of doing it on a daily basis should be instilled in our children.
Communication is the foundation for success in any relationship. When we communicate openly and freely with each other, we learn to know each other as individuals. This principle also applies to our relationship with God. By talking to God, we can learn more about who He is and what plan He has for us.
We should teach our children about the need to read the Bible and to pray, both as a family unit and as an individual. It is through this action that we learn to live our lives with God as a part of it.
Benefits of Prayer
As Christians, we should never underestimate the power of our prayers. Even when the tough times and challenges of life tempt us to question our faith, taking the time to pray each day will reinforce your faith as you face life’s obstacles. Your children will be watching you and learning from your example. Teaching your kids how to pray, and letting them see and hear you praying for them, will grow to be the bedrock of their faith as they grow into adulthood.
As children mature through the years, so will their prayers. They will learn that there is power in the words of their prayers. Just as Jesus healed the sick and bestowed on his disciples the authority to heal in His name, children can learn how the prayers of a righteous man can impact the world around them. Praying and reading the Bible can begin the healing process when it is needed, can calm the fears and anxiety of a troubled heart, and reassure the soul that is seeking a relationship with God.
Teach Children the Art of Praying
We can begin teaching our children about prayer even before they can speak in coherent sentences. When we allow them to see us praying, and by including them in your prayers, we are showing children that praying is something important that adults do. As our children grow and are able to communicate verbally, they will learn to pray on their own over time.
Include your child in the ritual of prayer on a daily basis. Seeing you pray sets the example, and young children learn by example. Children need to know the importance of saying a prayer before a meal, as a part of their morning routine, and before they go to bed at night. Set this routine at a young age, and it will continue through adulthood.
This doesn’t mean that once a child has reached his or her teen years that it is too late to teach them to pray. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is never too late to begin learning the importance of prayer.
There are numerous prayers for children that can be taught when the child is of an age to learn and understand them. There are books for children of all ages that can teach them the lessons of Jesus while entertaining them, as well.
Prayer Has a Purpose
It is important that our children understand that there is a purpose to prayer. Jesus frequently prayed during His life on Earth. He had a reason for doing so. Our prayers are something that God deeply desires. But our prayers are not for His benefit; as a perfect Divine Being, God is complete in His power and knowledge. Our prayers are for our benefit, and this is what we need to teach our children.
As our Creator, God already possesses a knowledge of each of us that is complete and perfect. It is we who are lacking in knowledge of Him. Through our prayers, we can gain a better understanding of God. Whether our devotions are prayers of praise or thanksgiving, offering up our supplications is an acknowledgment of our own pettiness and insignificance when compared to God’s power and Divine greatness.
Prayer acknowledges our dependence on Him. When we pray our prayers of repentance, we take ownership of our sinful nature and open ourselves to experience God’s unending mercy. We force ourselves to recognize the difference between our needs and our wants with our prayers of petition.
Daily prayer can lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves, and of God. Children can learn that prayers are not said on a daily basis for God’s sake but for our own. As parents, it is our responsibility to help our children understand that we must work to build a more complete relationship with God for ourselves. Our lives will be filled with God’s goodness in return when we accept this responsibility.
Giving the Gift of Prayer
A simple fact of life is that we cannot give to others what we do not have to give. This holds true when it comes to the art of prayer. In order to bring Christ to our children and our families, we have to be filled with Christ ourselves.
The way to do this is through deep, meditative, repetitive prayer. This can be done at home and doesn’t have to take hours out of our day. It is a simple act that we can pass to our children through the smallest of effort. Yet the payoff, for our children and ourselves, can be beyond measure.
About the Author
Megan Dahle and her husband Travis own Discount Catholic Products located outside of Harrisburg, SD. Before this e-commerce adventure, she was an accountant. She enjoys coaching robotics for her daughters’ FLL teams and gardening. Megan likes to emphasize prayer life and her blogging in hopes of giving reinforcement to live bravely as a Catholic.
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