There are so many jobs that come with parenthood, from teaching our kids their ABC’s, to manner training, shoe tying & more importantly……Spiritual matters of the heart.
One thing we must do, is teach our children to pray. And it’s easier than you think!
I have a very vivid memory as a child of about 5 years old, of something that occurred at my house in Phoenix. My mom was on the phone, crying and upset. She had just received sad news about my grandpa. I recall her hanging up the phone and walking towards me in the living room, wiping her tears. “Come here Tonya, we need to pray for your Grandpa”. I can still remember kneeling next to her in the living room, on the floor in front of our brown velvet couch, light streaming in through the blinds making strips on it. I recall pressing clasped hands to my forehead and peering out at her as she tearfully petitioned our Heavenly Father on her father’s behalf. I remember feeling better and at peace when we were done. Whether my mom did it on purpose or not, I learned something that day: That when we are scared, we can kneel before our Heavenly Father, and find peace.
Now, I am the mother. It’s MY job to teach my kids to go to prayer, to run to Jesus with joy or sadness. One of the simplest things we have started is this:
Whenever we hear a siren from our home, or see or hear an ambulance or fire truck zoom by while we are in the car, we take a moment and say a prayer. We pray for the family that called 911, the fire fighters, medics and police officers to arrive safely and on time, that the Lord would spare the lives of those involved.
This has become second nature to our children, and now, without me prompting, they bow their heads and pray…sometimes out loud, sometimes inside their heads when we hear sirens. It is my hope that this simple thing becomes a life long habit for them.
Another habit to promote, is the phrase: “Praise the Lord” or if you are Avery, “Pwaise da Waurd!” This is heard often throughout the day, from big moments like when we found our lost kitty, to small moments, like someone falling off their bike and not “having blood”, or Tylan finding his favorite race car he’d been looking for allll morning. This simple praise-prayer helps them to give credit where credit is due, gives God the glory and reminds them to pray without ceasing!
Another way we can teach our children to pray is by repetition. We pray over our children a similar prayer every night. And interestingly enough, after 8 years of praying this over Destiny, she has started to repeat things in her own prayers and in her own words. And when big sis does stuff like this, the others are sure to follow.
Destiny 8, Tylan 4 and Avery 3, already have begun to pray for their future spouses, because they are parroting what they hear us pray and have, in their own way, grasped the importance of this. They know that somewhere, out there in the world, a little girl or boy is being brought up to one day be their best friend, soul mate and help mate, and they are excited to meet them!
In our bedtime routine, after Bible story and songs, Dale picks a number between 1 and 10. Each child picks a number and whoever is closest, goes first. Followed by the other kids, then mom, then Dale closes.
Here is basically what I pray over them during family prayer time every night:
God, we come before you tonight and thank you for our blessings. (we list specific blessings) Thank you for our 4 children here on earth with us, and the 4 in Heaven with you. We ask, Father, that you would bless each life in this room with health and wholeness and long, full lives on this earth.
We pray that our children would come to know you at an early age; thank you that Destiny, Tylan & Avery have already made you their personal Savior. We pray Paxton would come to know you at an early age as well. May our kids have a close and special relationship with you, and may they NEVER stray from the teachings of the Bible, the church, or this home. We pray against the spirit of rebellion from ever entering this place. May our children always stay on the straight and narrow path that you have set before them. May they see, hear and know, only the truth.
I pray that they would show kindness and love to everyone they meet, and be Jesus to all they come in contact with. I pray that when people see our family, they see your light shining through us.
Lord, I just pray that our children would save themselves for marriage, that they would hang on to their purity for the treasure it is. That they would trust in you to pick out their spouse for them. That those girls and boys that are to marry our kids, wherever they are, would be raised in a Godly home, taught manners, obedience, hard work, and money management. That they would hide God’s word in their heart that they might not sin against you. That they would be taught the importance of purity and praying for their future spouses: our kids. I pray that we would raise our children up in a way that is pleasing to you, that our boys would be men of honor and integrity and our girls would be Proverbs 31 wives.
I pray that our children would have a covenant with their eyes to not look upon anything impure, that they would not participate in cattiness or gossip, rumors or lies, that they would be friends to everyone. That coarse or unclean talk would not come from their lips. That they would recognize the attacks of the enemy at the first sign and flee from temptation.
We pray that you would reveal their God-given gifts and talents at an early age, so we can nurture those and help those to grow to further the Kingdom of God.
We love you Jesus and we thank you for giving your life on the cross so we could have eternal life. We pray angels of protection at every door and every window of this home, and we plead the Blood of Jesus over our family as we sleep tonight.
We love you Jesus! In your name we pray, Amen.
Something Dale and I have done since Destiny was born, is pray this nightly devotion book over our children. This book was given to me by my mother 9 years ago, and as you can tell, it is falling to pieces:
“While They Were Sleeping” deals with 12 character traits, each topic broken down into several nights worth of 1 page prayers and applicable Bible verses. These 12 traits are:
Kindness, Humility, Teachability, Forgiveness, Obedience, Discernment, Purity, Responsibility, Courage, Servanthood, Contentment, & Endurance
From the preface:
“A child who loves the Lord and grows to reflect His character….it’s our heart’s desire. That’s why we work so hard to guide our children biblically by teaching values, building character and carefully setting boundaries. But one of the most important things we can do for our children may occur in the still of the night – while all is quiet, and they are sound asleep. That is….to pray for them- faithfully, and fervently petitioning the Father on their behalf-involving ourselves in the work HE is doing in their lives……
God can move, shape and fashion the very hearts of our children through prayer. “While They Were Sleeping” is a 12 week prayer guide, designed to help you pray systematically and specifically of character traits to be built in your child’s life. You will learn how to pray aggressively for your children, calling out to God until He fulfills the promises He has already graciously given in His word.”
I HIGHLY recommend this book! I think it will give you peace in your hearts as you think of the daunting list of things to pray over your children. This breaks it down into very manageable nuggets for each night. Make it part of your nightly routine, you won’t be sorry!
A Parent’s Prayer
Help Me give my children the best… not of trappings or toys,
but of myself, cherishing them on good days and bad, theirs and mine.
Teach Me to accept them for who they are, not for what they do;
to listen to what they say, if only so they will listen to me;
to encourage their goals, not mine;
And please, let me laugh with them and be silly.
Let Me give them a home where respect is the cornerstone,
integrity the foundation, and there is enough happiness to raise the roof.
May I give them the courage to be true to themselves;
the independence to take care of themselves and the faith to believe in a power
much greater than their own.
See That I discipline my children without demeaning them,
demand good manners without forgetting my own
and let them know they have limitless love, no matter what they do.
Let Me feed them properly, clothe them adequately
and have enough to give them small allowances…
not for the work they do but the pleasure they bring…
and let me be moderate in all these things,
so the joy of getting will help them discover the joy of giving.
See That their responsibilities are real but not burdensome,
that my expectations are high but not overwhelming
and that my thanks and praise are thoughtful and given when they’re due.
Help Me teach them that excellence is work’s real reward,
and not the glory it brings.
But when it comes…. and it will, let me revel in each honor, however small,
without once pretending that it’s mine; my children are glories enough.
Above all, let me ground these children so well that I can dare to let them go.
And may they be so blessed.
by Marguerite Kelly