Hearing my children pray never fails to warm my heart. There is something so pure about the prayers of a child, words that come straight from the heart, no second-guessing or doubting. I think we lose that as we get older and start to become more conscious of what we’re saying, wondering if it’s okay to pray for a certain thing, or approaching prayer as a list of wants.
My husband and I have not consciously taught our daughters to pray. They see us pray a lot. We pray as a family each morning before Jacques leaves for work. Usually Jacques and I alternate mornings, but occasionally one of the girls asks to pray. We pray that God will be with us throughout the day, that he will help us make good decisions, that he will fill us with his Spirit and help us to shine his light. We pray that God will help the girls to be kind and loving to their friends and obedient to their teachers.
I pray with the girls in the car before we leave for school. We pray for safety on the road and the playground.
We pray at mealtimes, but it’s usually a loud rendition of the grace they sing at school.
We pray with them before they go to bed each night, giving thanks for the day that we’ve had. We pray for our friends and family and health, and end with the Lord’s Prayer. Both girls can say the Lord’s prayer already, though they sometimes get confused with the words – “Give us this day our Daddy bread”.
We pray for them when they’re not feeling well, when they can’t fall asleep because there are monsters in the room, or when they wake from bad dreams.
In all this, my hope is that they can see that they can turn to God in any situation, that prayer isn’t reserved for certain times or certain places. I want them to see that prayer is a day-long – no, a life-long conversation with God. I want them to see that there is nothing they can’t take to him. I want them to know that there is no right or wrong way to pray, as long as they pray from the heart.
Above all, I want them to know the joy of a relationship with Jesus. I want them to see him as their friend as well as their Saviour. And that is what I pray for them in my own quiet times.
Do you teach your children to pray?