Praying is a fundamental part of the Christian faith. So if you want to help your kids develop a genuine, close relationship with God, teaching them to pray is definitely something that should be a priority. Here are some tips you can use as a guide for teaching your kids to pray.
Don’t Overthink Prayer
It’s so easy to overcomplicate prayer, which may be one of the most straightforward spiritual disciplines the Lord has given us. When prayer is just this natural thing that is incorporated into each day, your kids learn from listening and participating. So invite them to join in, but don’t pressure them to pray if they don’t want to. And if they ever seem nervous about praying, explain that prayer is simply having a conversation with the Lord! We can come to God with anything, and we don’t have to be nervous or worried we won’t “do it right” before we start.
Explain That Prayer Isn’t One Dimensional
Whenever we talk to a close friend or a family member, there’s variety: we ask questions, we share our thoughts and feelings, we cry, we listen. It’s the same way with God! If you want to teach your kids to pray, perhaps start with asking them some questions to gauge their understanding of prayer like:
“What does prayer mean to you? Do you ask God for things when you pray or thank Him for things? Do you share freely with Him or do you hold back?”
These are questions that can get your kids thinking. Once you’ve heard their answers, you can circle back by explaining that prayer can actually mean doing all of those things. God wants to hear from us. He is always listening. And a healthy, ongoing conversation with God might not sound the same day to day.
Talk About the Different Types of Prayer
Although sometimes prayer is formal and solemn, it’s important to teach our kids that prayer isn’t something that has to be done only in church or alone on our knees. We can talk to God anywhere, even silently in our minds! Prayer may look like taking a walk in nature, praising God for what He has created by singing a hymn as you go. Prayer can look like laying hands on a friend who is sick and asking God to heal them. Prayer might even look like writing in a journal, privately sharing thoughts and concerns with the only one who truly understands how we feel.
The beautiful thing about prayer is that it is as unique (from individual to individual) as the relationship that person has with God. While there certainly ought to be some reverence in prayer, at the end of the day, God is our Father and we can come to Him boldly as His children with whatever is on our hearts.