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CEE's Family Building Blocks
January/February 1998

"Raising Praying Kids"

Teaching our children total dependence upon God will enable them to handle anything that comes their way in life. Confidence in God's sovereignty and wisdom set the Christian apart from the non-Christian in handling life's most difficult trials, especially those that can seem meaningless, like death and suffering.

The best way to train your children to pray--to communicate with God daily and to trust in Him--is to model this behavior yourself. You might like to kick off the day with a morning prayer huddle and pray together as a family at bedtime. In addition to prayer at mealtime, make communication with God a normal part of life. Instead of silently sending up a bullet prayer when you have a need, verbalize it aloud so the kids can hear and join in--even if you're driving in the car and pass an accident scene. Or Daddy is late getting home from work and you are concerned. Take every opportunity to teach your children to relinquish their fears and needs to the Lord.

Keeping a prayer journal, in which you write family prayers and then note answers as they are received, will help to build your children's faith, as they see the hand of God at work in very tangible ways. You can also post a bulletin board full of pictures of various people (missionaries, family, friends, the pastor, etc.) that you are praying for, and point them out as you pray. Such a visual reminder is especially helpful for toddlers and young children.

Even very young children (age 3) can pray real prayers, not just recite memorized prayers. Teach them to pray for others, to be thankful, to ask for help when they are afraid or have a need. We can also help them memorize, and then pray, scriptures, like Psalm 56:46.

Andrea Collins suggests, in Christian Parenting Today, encouraging our children to include the following Six P's of Prayer:

  • Peace. Pray that God will give you peace when you face difficulties or uncertainty (Prov. 14:30).
  • Patience. Ask God for patience in waiting for answers to prayer (Rom. 8:25)
  • Pathways. Ask for guidance in making a good decision (Acts 2:28).
  • Protection. Pray that God will keep you safe, healthy and strong (Ps. 41:2).
  • Perseverance. Ask God to help you stand strong when you feel weak (Rom. 5:3-4).
  • Penitence. Confess your sins to Jesus and ask forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9).

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