By Joey and Carla Link
May 4, 2022
Have you taught your kids how to pray? As parents, we try to teach our kids healthy eating and sleeping habits so they’re able to develop properly. In the same way, we hope you’re teaching your kids how to talk to God and helping them develop a healthy spiritual life. The Bible tells us that Jesus grew in favor with God (Luke 2:52). We hope you’re reading stories from the Bible to your kids and helping them develop a daily quiet time. This is one of the reasons we carry so many age-appropriate devotionals for kids of all ages in the Parenting Made Practical bookstore.
If you teach your kids how to pray when they are young, it helps them to have an active prayer life and ask God to guide them when they are older.
Do you have an active prayer life? The reason we ask this is if parents don’t have the example of a good prayer life, how will kids grow up with one or thinking one is important? If you are not an avid prayer, please don’t stop reading or get discouraged. Let’s look at how you can help your kids to develop a prayer life.
Praying is talking to God, and that is what you want to teach your kids. It is not a formal conversation, but it’s like talking to anyone else. We want to teach our kids that they can talk to God their heavenly father ANY TIME, by just praying.
How to teach kids to pray:
- At meals. As soon as they sit in the high chair, before they get to put their hands in the food, grab their hands and pray a very short prayer. For older kids, have them start praying at meals.
- At bedtime. At night before bed is a great time to pray. One of my (Joey) favorite things to do when my children were in our home and now with my grandchildren is to go in and talk with them before they go to bed, then pray with them. I ask them to tell Jesus 2-3 things they are thankful for that happened that day that we had talked about. In our talk I also asked them something they wanted to do better and suggest they pray and ask Jesus to help them with that too.
- After Bible reading. A couple of days a week, read Bible stories or the Bible to them depending on their age or have family devotion time. After you read, pray that they will learn from what you read that day.
- When kids are having issues. Kids have issues with siblings and friends at school. When kids come to you with these issues or you hear about them, ask them if the two of you can pray about it. You can remind them what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 that if two people are together, Jesus is there with you and He loves them and wants to help them through it.
- When kids are in constant trouble. When you are dealing with a constant sin issue with your child and they keep struggling with it, ask them if the two of you can pray about it at least once a day. You can talk to Jesus about it with them and then you can ask them to talk to Jesus about it. It’s one thing to say pray about it, it’s another thing to pray with them for it. It makes it more real, and makes them more accountable too.
- Keeping a prayer list or journal. Keeping a prayer journal as a family to end the devotion time with is a great idea. It teaches them to write down their requests and to also write down when God answers them. Nothing will teach them that God answers prayer in a memorable way more effectively than this. When our kids were 8 yrs. old we started them on having daily personal devotions. The books we got them for this had a couple questions each day we had them write down the answers to in a notebook. This is where they kept their written prayer requests too. It is a joyful time when one of your kids says to you “Do you want to hear how God answered one of my prayer requests?”
- Pray with your kids. We have mentioned it at other times here but there is no better way for your kids to see that you can pray anytime and anywhere than to see you do it. If I got concerning news that it was okay to share with them about, I (Carla) would ask the kids to stop what they were doing and pray with me about it. I often told them when I had prayed about something.
- God DOES answer prayer. The #1 reason both kids and adults give up on praying is because they don’t get the answers they want. I used to tell my girls when they were learning to pray that God wasn’t a magician who waved His magic wand and gave you what you wanted. All too often what we think is for our best God knows it is not. That’s where trust comes in.
Be sure they learn to thank God more than ask God for things. Prayer is the open door of talking and communicating with God. God loves to hear his children talk to him!