Praying With Your Children

"Thank you Jesus for this day and thank you for this wonderful time that I've had. I pray I have a good night's sleep and I have a good day tomorrow. In Jesus' name. Amen." "Jesus I thank you for my boys and pray they sleep well and you keep them healthy. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Have you gotten to this point when praying for your children, or is this how your children pray? It's not hard to allow our prayers to become stale and insincere. Sometimes we can fall so hard into routine that that's exactly what our prayers become. Routine. And canned. This can be a danger because it leads our children to believe that prayer is nothing more than a part of "thing" we check off everyday.

They lack heart, power, and a real need for God. We may not believe we don't need God, but the prayers we spew out with our children are nothing less than hollow. Can you relate? Because I can.

This is not how I want to teach my children to pray. Prayer has power and it is effective, when we take the time to really pour ourselves into God. If we want our children to witness the power of God, we must pray powerful prayers.

Furthermore, this takes us into a deeper relationship with our children as we connect with God together. It's different than reading and learning the Bible, which is it's own gift. But praying together invites the power of the Holy Spirit to dwell among you and move you in ways you cannot imagine -- and in the hearts of your children. They will experience the power of God in a tangible way. Where God's word gives revelation, prayer gives transformation.

I don't mean long, wordy prayers. We know what the Bible says about those.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. -Matthew 6:7

Instead, when you pray with your children, pray with sincerity of heart. Saying the same prayers over, everyday does not allow for new growth or new insights. They're dead prayers. They don't call for action for real needs. That doesn't mean God isn't listening, but He isn't invited to move.

Morning Prayer Time

Many of us have probably developed meal time and evening prayer habits with our children. Most likely we repeat the same words most every single time.

Might I invite you, encourage, you to develop a time of morning prayer with your children? Gather your children either before or after breakfast and take 5-10 minutes to pray. And make this the most deliberate, genuine 5-10 minutes of your day.  This is the ground work to laying a foundation for a solid and powerful prayer life in our children.

What do we pray?

  • Gratitude ~ thank God for specific things in your life and the lives of your children
  • Scriptures ~ pray verses over your children {Praying the Scriptures for Your Children is a good resource}
  • Friends/Family/Unsaved ~ are there needs within your acquaintance or your children's?
  • The poor ~ don't overlook the poor. They desperately need our prayers.

Invite your children to pray as well. Allow and encourage them the opportunity to speak to God and become familiar with talking to Him. Reassure them He does hear us even when it seems as if there is no immediate response.

Perhaps you can record some prayers in a journal so you might come back to them later when God has answered them - whether it was how you thought He would or in a different manner.

Prayer is such a wonderful way for us to connect with God - let us not take it for granted nor fail to train our children of it's power and need.

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Spiritual Disciplines ~ Prayer

One of the things that can hinder us from a powerful and effective prayer life is not recognizing our desperate need and depravity. The Island Cross

In a society that appears to have everything, how do we learn to pray in light of the suffering of others? Where is the urgency for real devotion in a place saturated with stuff that seems to meet all our needs?

When we have food that satisfies, not only our hunger but our appetites, what need do we have to pray for our daily bread? When clothing abounds, do we need to rely on God for what we will wear? No, typically we rely on our money and the stores which provide the clothing.

Many people would call us blessed, but I think it's closer to spoiled. Because the blessings can blind us to the needy. It can ruin our vision and hinder us from looking outside ourselves.

Did you know that Jesus commanded us to care for the poor? It isn't optional.

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18

 

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35

Why am I writing about the poor in a post about prayer?

Because the poor are desperate for our prayers. And being devoted to God means being devoted to the things He cares about.

Prayer isn't simply a laundry list of things we "need" from God. It's a powerful way to communicate with God and hear from Him. It's a sacrificial way to stand in the gap for someone else and ask God to care for them and make Himself known to them. Even those we don't know or have never met.

We need to recognize our own depravity without Christ and cling to Him as if our life depended on it...because it does.

The first step to having a disciplined prayer life is to step outside yourself and see the needs of others. Not necessarily for new cars or homes, but new life in Christ. Even basic needs such as food and water.

Does God care about the tools in life that helps us live? Yes. Absolutely. But that's not all He cares about. In fact, He warned us not to worry about those things. He said He would take care of them because He knows what we need. This frees us up from worry and allows us to focus our energies on something more productive.

What burdens do you carry? Prayer is the time to lay them down so God can handle them. Do not carry the weight on your shoulders when it's not yours to carry.

Next week I will share some more specifics on a devoted prayer life.

Scripture references:

Matthew 6:11

Matthew 6:25

Philippians 2:4

Resources for further reading

Be Devoted to Prayer - Desiring God

Read the Spiritual Disciplines series here.

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