The power of prayer is an incredible thing. It is something I’ve grown to love doing and I’ve incorporated it into my daily life. I have a prayer binder that I use to help focus my time, record prayer requests and reflect deeper into Scripture. I’m learning to pray moment by moment rather than waiting until a specific time of day. I’m leaning more into Him to help me through my days rather than relying on my own strength.
Now, I didn’t grow up with any real understanding of prayer. I attended Catholic school as a child, thus I was taught to memorize the Lord’s prayer, Hail Mary and Grace before meals. Now, there’s nothing wrong with memorizing prayers, especially the Lord’s prayer, which He gave us as an example of how to pray. The problem I had with prayer growing up is that I had no understanding of who I was praying too. I lacked a personal relationship with the Lord. I simply rehearsed these prayers I had memorized, which held no value or meaning to me. I never considered the words I was praying and didn’t actually mean a single word I said.
When I became a Christian, I joined a women’s Bible Study and it was there that I was surrounded by incredible women living out Titus 2:3-5. They are women of prayer. These are the women you’d want as prayer warriors. Their love and fear of the Lord is evident in their lives. It was these women who modelled to me how to pray powerfully. They openly prayed for one another with heart felt requests. Truly God was present amongst these women as they prayed together. It was there that I participated in the laying of hands and surrounding other women in prayer. For the first time in my life prayer made sense to me.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
I didn’t start off confident with praying. It was something that I grew to love doing and needing daily. I would imitate the prayers I heard and add them into my own prayer time. I started writing out prayers which really appealed to the writer side of me.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
My relationship with the Lord only grew closer and closer. I felt Him answer my prayers in many tangible ways and day-to-day occurrences. It only makes sense that my relationship would deepen. I was intentionally seeking Him out and pouring my heart out to Him. He is my closest confidant. He knows all of me- the good, the bad and the ugly. He knows all things, even the things I don’t want to share.
“Lord, you have examined me and know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them. You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it. You are all around me- in front and in back- and have put your hand on me.” Psalm 139:1-5
“Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
I look at the power of prayer in my life and I want my children to experience this too. I want them to know how to pray. I want them to have confidence to pray at all times. I want prayer to be the first thing they turn too in all circumstances. I want them to feel close to God when praying.
So how do we foster a love of prayer in our children?
I reflected on my own experience and the Spirit impressed upon me 4 ways to foster a love of prayer in our children.
- Model Prayer- If we want our children to pray, they must see us praying at all times. Let your children hear you pray so they can learn how to express their thoughts, needs and requests to God. Pray throughout the day, so they can see that prayer is not simply a task to do at the end of the day, but rather an on-going conversation with their Father.
- Opportunity to Pray- We must create opportunity for our children to pray throughout the day and in different situations. If our children only ever pray for their meals, they’ll never know to pray in all situations at all times. Encourage your child to pray when they feel hurt, frustrated or sad. Encourage them to give thanks and praise to God when things go well. Encourage them to ask the Holy Spirit to intercede on their behalf in any situation. This will allow them to see God at work in all areas of their life.
- Pray Scripture- Teaching our children to pray Scripture is an invaluable skill. We’re placing God’s Word on their hearts. In John 15:7, it says, “If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” If we align our will and desires with His, then we will receive all that we ask in His name. If we are praying Scripture, then we are certain that our will is in line with His will for us.
- Prayer Chair– I read about the prayer chair and implemented it in our house. My boys weren’t thrilled at first but the concept and skill they learn is invaluable. Whenever a bad behaviour or attitude occurs, they remove themselves from the situation, sit in the prayer chair and pray for Jesus to help change their heart. My children are still quite young and this is still fairly new to them, so I take the time to sit with them in the prayer chair. I help give them the words to pray and we pray Scripture into their life. It’s a really great opportunity to share this time with them. The prayer chair does a couple of things: first, it diffuses the situation and allows everyone to cool down rather than overreacting. Second, it teaches them to turn to Jesus to help bring about change. We are all sinners and only Jesus living in us can bring about change in our hears.
“I can do all things though Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
If we want to see the fruit of the Spirit living out in our children’s lives, then they need Jesus. We know the fruit comes from Him and we do not have the strength to live it out on our own. Only calling on Him to empower us to be full of the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control- will allow us to change our behaviour and attitude.
I’ve noticed a very real change in my boys. Prayer brings about change. It is alive and powerful. It brings us near to our Savior and keeps Satan away, for Scripture says, “He who calls in the name of the Lord, will be saved” (Romans 10:13). This is what we all desire for our children. Let’s start them off on the right path and equip them with the tools they need to develop a deep relationship with the Lord.
SHARE: What are some ways you help foster a love of prayer in your children’s lives?