Pray With Your Children
No matter how old your children are, it’s never too late to begin praying with them. Perhaps you’ve never prayed with your children. But no matter how old they are, it’s never too late to start. It helps to remember that prayer is simply a conversation with God. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1) Newspaper Prayer. Try this idea at the beginning of the day as you’re eating breakfast. Have each family member take a portion of the newspaper and circle items that he or she feels need to be prayed for. Then ask family members to pray for the things they circled in the paper.
2) Sentence Prayer. You can help your children pray aloud by giving them a sentence to complete, such as:
* “Lord, I thank you for …”
* “Lord, forgive me for …”
* “Lord, help my friend …”
* “Lord, help me be more …”
* “Lord, help me to let go of …”
* “Lord, give me the courage to …”
* “Lord, one of the fears I need help with is …”
3) Highs and Lows. Ask your children what their “highs” were from the day, and then ask them about their “lows” from the day. Share your highs and lows as well, and then pray for them together.
4) Prayer Journal. Share your prayer requests with the other members of your family and then record them in a prayer journal. One person can pray for all the requests you’ve listed for the day. The next time you pray together, look over the requests you listed previously and update any changes and answers. This is a good way to see how God has been active in your prayer lives.
5) A.C.T.S. Prayer. This is a well-known form of prayer that is easy to remember:
* A stands for “adoration.” Begin the prayer by simply adoring God for who He is.
* C stands for “confession.” Spend some time confessing your sins.
* T stands for “thanksgiving.” Take time to thank God for the blessings that He has given to you and your family.
* S stands for “supplication.” Lift up specific areas of your life in which you need God to supply for your needs.
Passing on Faith Requires Intentionality
In addition to being intentional about communicating with your children, be intentional about modeling and sharing your faith. Faith-talk requires that we intentionally involve ourselves in the lives of our children. Many parents have said to me, “My teenager won’t talk to me. She won’t tell me what’s going on in her life.” My reply is usually pretty blunt: “Try again! And don’t stop until she talks to you.”
When my wife, Maria, was a freshman in college, she informed her parents that she intended to quit school at the end of the year. This didn’t sit well with them, because they’d worked hard to save enough money for her to attend a four-year private college. Over spring break, Maria’s dad asked if she would help him with some roofing work that he was doing on the garage. It wasn’t unusual for her to help her dad with projects like this, so Maria climbed up the ladder to the garage roof. “Where do we start, Dad?” she asked. Maria’s dad walked over to the ladder and kicked it off the garage — meaning they had no way down. He sat next to Maria and said, “It’s time for us to talk about you and college.”
To make a long story short, after the talk, Maria committed to completing college. But what she remembers more than the ladder crashing to the ground was that her dad cared enough to talk with her about her struggles in college. She’ll always be grateful that he intentionally involved himself in her life struggles.
In addition to being intentional about communicating with your children, be intentional about modeling and sharing your faith with them.
What does intentionally showing your child how to live God’s way look like? It looks like tiny steps taken every single day. It requires joyfully showing and telling them some of the same things over and over. It is being transparent with them from day one so they not only understand what the goal is, but they will also desire it themselves It starts with the faith in your own heart. It starts today, whether your children are tiny or taller than you are.
• Let your children see you read God’s Word and pray.
• Tell your children how you are growing and learning new things.
• Enjoy getting together with other believers.
• Pray with your children every day. Begin today.
Adapted from Faith Begins at Home, published by Regal. Copyright © (2007), Regal. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”