"Our kids should experience the love, power and faithfulness of God first-hand."
One of the best gifts we can give our young people, is the power of prayer. We can pray for them and pray with them, but when we teach them to pray we give them a resource that has no limits. The bond they develop with the Lord in prayer creates a relationship they can depend on for years to come. His reach exceeds ours and there are moments when despite our best intentions, we cannot be there for them. In the same way that we have learned to trust in the Lord, listen for His voice and connect with Him, our children need to be encouraged to do the same, on their level. When we show them to how to pray, and see their faith in action, we help them to establish their own record of faithfulness with Him. Praying children become praying adults.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Prov. 22:6
There’s no hard and fast rule for teaching your kids to pray, but here are just a few quick tips I’ve used along the way to helping God’s young giants develop a strong and consistent prayer life.
1. Lead by example
We are the best model of prayer and worship for our kids. If you are passionate about prayer and personal devotion, they will believe that is how they ought to approach their times with the Lord as well. Lead by example, show them the richness of your personal relationship with the Lord, giving them a pattern to follow and aspire to replicate.
2. Establish a routine
When you are helping your kids establish a prayer routine, set a time they can maintain. If your after school schedule is overwhelmed with sports, rehearsals and extra curricular activities, setting their prayer/worship time in the morning or before settling in for the night might be a better bet. You want to help them establish a time with God that they can commit to and not constantly have to reschedule. Teach them that keeping their scheduled times is important.
3. Set prayer goals and expectations
Chart what you are praying for each day. Help them to map out specific prayer goals and to note when God answers their prayers. Teach them to listen for His voice. 1 Samuel 3 is a great chapter to read with your children, or your class if you are teaching in ministry. Ask them often, what is God saying about, or what has the Lord been speaking to you?
4. Challenge them to grow
Challenge your kids to look for opportunities to grow in their prayer life. Praying in the spirit, learning to declare, interceding for others, speaking out what the Lord is showing them, or working on interpreting tongues. It’s a work in progress, but I have found that kids rise to the occasion when they are challenged by people they admire and respect. I remember one service in particular; I was opening in prayer and began to go into the spirit to intercede for the class. Initially, I was apprehensive about praying on that level with them because I did not want to “leave them behind” so to speak, but I was very humbled and pleasantly surprised at how many of the class joined with me, praying in the tongues, worshiping and sincerely engaging in the moment. After that, our prayer times as a class changed dramatically. Don’t be afraid to challenge your kids to go to the next level in their relationship with the Lord.
5. Be Creative!
Prayer can happen anywhere. Teach your kids that God is where they are, so if they have to break out and pray in the bathroom at school for whatever moment they’re going through at the time, so be it. God is there for them in every aspect of their lives. Some moments, they can be listening out for God’s still small voice, and other moments crying out for God to move in their schools or with their family. Incorporate different aspects into their prayer routine, like reading their favorite scriptures or beginning with the worship song that they love and inspire their creativity.
How are you teaching your kids, or your class to pray? I’d love to hear from you! Post your comments below on how you empower your child’s prayer life, or let me know about the challenges you have faced as a teacher, in incorporating prayer in class.