Teaching Our Children to Pray
By Larissa Havens
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Growing up in a preacher’s home, I remember many times that I would wake up hearing my parents travailing in prayer in the other room. I also remember days when they would bundle my sister and me up in blankets and lay us on the church pews while they prayed. As a child, I did not understand the importance of prayer or why anyone would want to get up that early to pray. However, even while I was sleeping, I remember feeling a prick in my heart.
We all have a responsibility to teach the next generation how to communicate with God. Like my parents, our example speaks louder than our words. The best way they taught me how to pray was by showing me through their prayer life. Children listen and watch us even when we don’t realize it. Deuteronomy shows us that we should teach them in everything we do.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
It should be our mission to pray God’s protection over our children’s sensitive hearts. We need to rebuke any spirit that would try to discourage or confuse them as they learn to communicate with Him. When a child prays, you can feel God smiling. We are all the children of God. It is His greatest joy for us to talk with Him and to learn His ways. How will we teach the next generation about Him? How will we show them Christ’s love? We must tell them about the goodness of Jesus. I love the way it is written in Psalms in reference to the stories passed down from their ancestors.
“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done” (Psalms 78:4).
This is how we will teach the next generation: through prayer and praising His works from one generation to the next!
Note: Larissa Havens was born in Texas and grew up in New Mexico. She and her husband, Luke, grew up together in the same church and are currently missionaries to the beautiful country of Latvia.