As a mom, I often think about what I want most for my girls. One of my greatest desires for them is that they would own their personal faith in God. Therefore, my next thoughts are about what my husband and I can do to help facilitate that.
A personal faith means a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s son. In every relationship, communication is vital. So, we have to help our children learn how to communicate and interact with God. God created the human race for intimate fellowship. I long for my children and every child at Calvary Christian Academy to understand that God has this incredible love for us. He wants more than anything else for us to approach Him and enter into this one-on-one, personal relationship with Him.
we have to help our children learn how to communicate and interact with God.
We do not want prayer to become like that little glass covered box on the wall that says something like, “break in case of emergency.” We want prayer to be associated with more than crises in their life — something they do everyday, throughout the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 encourages us to, “pray continually.”
Prayer helps us to keep growing and build a strong foundation in Christ. Spiritual disciplines do not make us righteous because we do them, but rather, they put us in a position to be drawn into trusting Christ more fully and knowing Him more intimately.
Prayer helps us to keep growing and build a strong foundation in Christ.
Billy Graham once said, “True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice.”
How can we be more intentional as parents to teach our kids about prayer?
Simply put, prayer is communicating or talking to God. It’s important for our children to know that they can talk to God at any time. Jesus made this possible. He made a way for us to have access to God whenever, wherever we are. Prayer doesn’t have to be fancy or long. Jesus just wants it to be sincere, from our heart.
There are also some fun, simple activities we can do as families to help our children see the importance of prayer. Here are some of my favorite ones that I encourage you to try as a family:
HAND STACKShared from Focus on the Family
To help little ones stay focused during family prayer, have one person place their hand in the middle of the table, then have everyone else in the family place one hand on top to create a “stack” of hands. The person whose hand is at the base of the stack goes first, praying a single sentence prayer as they pull out their hand out and place it on top of the “hand stack.”
Then, the next person, whose hand is now on the bottom, prays as they pull their hand out and place it on top of the stack. When you sense it is time to stop, the adult (whose hand is on the bottom) raises up the pile of hands. That’s the signal for everyone to say “Amen!” and high-five the person next to them.
PRAYER WEBSShared from Ministry Spark
Play some quiet music and give each child a piece of paper and some colored pencils or crayons. In the center of their paper, instruct them to write a statement starting with “God is . . . ” As the music plays, kids are able to quietly pray and write (or draw) about who God is and the requests that are on their hearts.
They might draw or write about people they can pray for or things they can thank God for. They can connect each new request to their “God is” statement in the center using colors and different line shapes, as it turns into a prayer web to remind them who God is.
GOOGLE MAP PRAYERSShared from Ministry Spark
Look up the satellite view of your church, CCA, or your home. Print them out or pass around your electronic device. While it is passed around the circle, each child can pray for something they see in the picture. They can pray for their home, their neighbors, their school, the church, or even other places people gather.
STICKY NOTE PRAYERSShared from Ministry Spark
Lay out sticky notes on a table. Label three sections of a wall or a whiteboard with the titles “What to pray for,” “Prayed for,” and “Answered prayers.” Have your family write requests on the notes, one request per sticky note. Stick the notes under the “What to pray for” title.
When the person who requested the prayer sees an answer, they are able to then move the sticky note into the “Answered prayers” heading!
In John 10:27, Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” It’s crucial for our children to know their Shepherd's voice. The way they learn it is by being intentional about going to Jesus in prayer. They are being bombarded with voices from the world and our culture. The voice we want them to know, seek, and listen to is the voice of God. We want to help them be dependent on the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort, and teach them while learning how to listen to the whispers of God over the voice of public opinion.
We want to help them be dependent on the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort, and teach them while learning how to listen to the whispers of God over the voice of public opinion.
As parents, it begins with us. I encourage you to be authentic about what God is speaking to you. Share what God is teaching you and how you are applying it. It’s okay to be vulnerable and share your struggles. Our kids need to see us push through in prayer, trusting Him, and looking to God for anything and everything in our lives.
Try out some of the activities that I shared. Make praying together as a family a habit. Again, we want their relationship with Jesus to be more than a string of emergency meetings — waiting for a crisis to develop and then running to God for an answer. Emergency praying will give relief. But fellowship — the intimacy of everyday closeness — is what will give them joy. Nothing in this life will bring peace and joy like a close relationship with Jesus.
Give Them a Chance
Give your kids an opportunity to pray for themselves. My husband and I usually pray for our kids before bed, but we also have them pray for each other. As a family, we take turns praying for different needs. Or as situations arise, we ask our children in the moment to pray. If we drive by an accident on the road, we take time to pray for the passengers and the first responders. If someone in our family is sick, we lay hands on them and pray for their healing. It’s a great opportunity to teach the children about the power of prayer and that their prayers make a difference.
We cannot control our children’s faith journey, but we can certainly influence it.
We as parents have the primary responsibility of discipleship. God has called you to it and will give you everything you need to disciple your child. We cannot control our children’s faith journey, but we can certainly influence it. Engaging with them in prayer and teaching them how to have a consistent prayer life will help them experience Jesus in powerful ways!
Ashley West serves as the Elementary Discipleship Coordinator at Calvary Christian Academy. This is her first year working at CCA! She has a background in missions, discipleship, and small groups ministry. Ashley is passionate about this generation of young people and helping them become fully committed followers of Christ.