Are you interested in teaching kids about prayer but don’t know where to begin?
The past ten minutes seemed like a slow crawl toward doom. I inwardly battled whether to turn around and go home. I wanted to, but knew I couldn’t.
Still raw with hormonal emotion, I felt tears forming in my eyes. I couldn’t stop the stream that was coming down my face by the time I pulled into the driveway.
This destination was the place I was about to leave my precious cargo. The home of a dear lady in my church, who quietly, faithfully ran a daycare out of her home.
But, even with all the positive reviews, this was the last place in the world I wanted to leave my six-week-old daughter.
I turned the car off and let the tears flow. My maternity leave was over. My husband and I had rehashed the budget one million times and we couldn’t make this work differently. While I loved teaching, something shifted when I had my own baby.
No longer was I merely responsible for other people’s babies. Now someone else was responsible for mine. I had an entire mind shift of what moms feel everyday leaving their own children at my classroom door. I was scared, I was frustrated, and I wanted God to make this “hard thing” disappear.
I willed my tears to stop and then uttered a quiet prayer that echoed off the walls of my SUV. “Dear God, please take care of my girl today. Please keep her safe and let her know she is loved. Please calm my anxious heart.”
Slowly, sadly, I walked my infant to the door of that home and handed her to the sweet grandma on the other side.
Lingering, I insisted, “Please call me if there is anything…anything at all”. My voice broke and I gave my sweet girl one last tight hug and kiss.
The sweet woman patted my arm as she took her and said, “We will be fine.” I could tell she knew I had been crying and wanted to ease the ache.
That morning was nearly 14 years ago, and I can still feel and see it–like it was yesterday. I have since been through the exact same emotions two other times. But they were different. I had learned how to trust.
That morning prayer, whispered in the autumn sunlight, has spurred on a lifetime of morning prayers with my kids. Each morning on our way to school, we utter a prayer for the day and approach our great big intimate and personal God with our love, requests, and hopes.
Really, this started when I was a kid as my own mother would pray us out the door on our way to the bus stop each morning.
This legacy of faith is one that I want instilled in my own kids, and I would venture to guess you do as well.
A faith that believes in the impossible and provides comfort when we are in need.
A trust that we do not walk alone.
An assurance that no matter the circumstance, we will be ok.
God asks us to come to Him with everything we have and lay it at His beautiful feet. Teaching my kids, the value of prayer has let them see that God is approachable and His love for us is beyond measure.
Here are three ways I have found helpful in teaching my kids how to approach prayer. I pray they will resonate with you and encourage your heart.
Three Ways To Approach Teaching Kids About Prayer
Treat Your Relationship with God Like a Friendship
Teaching our kids about prayer is teaching kids that God is a personal God is one of the single most important attributes of Him they can learn. Kids love friendships and when they can understand that God desires to be their best friend, they naturally want to talk with Him.
Talking about God as someone who is right beside us and who shares our emotions helps them relate to Him and learn the significance of His humanity while still being holy. Scripture is full of examples of God walking and talking with those on earth, as a friend and confidant. Finding common ground helps them understand He is a friend who can be trusted.
Show them they can talk to Him about anything both great and small. In your absence, your kids will learn to turn to Him with their requests and joys.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24, ESV)
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33, ESV)
Expect the Unexpected
God’s good is always chasing after us. When we surrender to this and remember that God is always part of our story, we can see the value of trusting and praying.
This life is built on one small prayer at a time. Pointing out that God is in the business of miracles, is a wonderful way to teach gratitude. Recounting the many times we have seen God show up is one way my family has been compelled to pray more.
No prayer is too big or too small for God. We have been known to pray for snow days and cures for cancer in our home. We have prayed for friendships that are strained and thanked Him for beautiful sunrises. God wants to hear us, and He desires to answer. This is faith.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)
Approach Prayer with Joy and Not as a Duty
We can be stuck thinking that the image of “holiness” involves countless hours in prayer and petition to God in a dark room. While there is nothing wrong with this image, it can be skewed when we talk to children about the privilege of talking to our loving God.
When I teach my kids to approach prayer as a delight, and not one more thing to check off the list, I am showing them the joy of serving and loving Him in return for all He has done for each one of us. He loves me as I am and that He never sets us up for failure or with a checklist.
Prayer takes the focus off “me” and puts it on “He”. This mind shift should bring great joy and delight to our hearts as we walk this path each day.
“…these I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar….” (Isaiah 56:7, ESV)
We have been called to a mighty task of raising the next generation to love and serve God. Let us build their faith through prayer and allow Him to produce warriors for His eternal kingdom!
Now It’s Your Turn: How Do You Go About Teaching Kids About Prayer?
Teaching kids about prayer isn’t always easy. Let us know below what you do or how you struggle so we can help!
Laura E. Sumpter is passionate about teaching women and children about the hope found in the Lord. She writes to encourage women, believing that when they are strengthened, future generations will be as well.
Laura lives in the Willamette Valley of the Pacific Northwest. She has an amazing husband of nearly 17 years, three busy fun kids and has been a teacher for over 20 years. When she isn’t writing or teaching, Laura enjoys reading, creating, gardening, and a good latte in any form. You can find the lessons God is teaching her at her blog https://lauraesumpter.com/ and as a contributor on Anchored Voices.
Tuesday 23rd of June 2020
Great article and such an important topic! Thank you.
Friday 29th of May 2020
Pretty amazing post. I stumbled upon your article and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your article. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!
Wednesday 11th of March 2020
Thanks for sharing this post! I'm encouraged as I have a daughter I take to the nursery sometimes (I understand those emotions, was super nervous when she first started). By praying we entrust our children to God and our faithful God preserves them. I love every bit of this post particularly the point that says approach prayer with Joy and not as a duty.
Monday 9th of March 2020
I love this... I actually wrote a blog on this when my son ran away. https://www.thebibleandcoffeepodcast.com/2020/02/26/nature-vs-nurture/ I realized that I had never taught my son to pray...just kinda left it up to him. It seems that a certain age it becomes a personal journal with God, however, teaching children through our example and then helping them to become confident to come before his throne. Thank you for this blog !
Tuesday 10th of March 2020
It's very easy to forget that we have to walk them through the process!