Generally as parents we tend to assume that our children already know how to pray. This isn't true though. Just as the disciples need to be taught so do our children. So you ask, "What if I'm not sure how to pray myself?" Then this will be good for you too.
Look at Luke 11:1-4. As this chapter starts the beloved 12 are listening intently as Jesus prays to his Father. As the disciples heard Jesus' prayer they saw and heard something wonderfully moving and powerful that was complete in his prayers. They also recognized that their prayers were lacking. What was lacking in their prayers was fully evident in the prayer of Jesus, and they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
His reply, has become one of the most cherished biblical prayers: The Lord's Prayer. Even more important than the words Jesus spoke, was the prayer model he provided. The key is that in Luke 11:1 is the fact that powerful, faithful, and strengthening prayer must be taught. The best time to teach is now, so that our children can pray with the full heart and authority Jesus grants them.
How can we expect our children to deeply grasp the promises, power, and full love of God? We must physically, emotionally, and spiritually teach them of God's faithfulness to hear and answer prayer. With the authority Jese entrusts to each of us, healing and intercession are to be nurtured as well as the two-way communication between God and our children that will drive them to seek the Father's strengthening love in their greatest times of need.
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say:
'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'
Consider a moment how many childhood prayers you may recall from from your past. Family grace at the dinner table or bedtime prayers, repeated word for word every night. How sad it is that our children aren't taught how to really pray. Take a look at a classic childhood bedtime prayer:
"Now I lay me down to sleep,"
"Okay, so far so good, It's bedtime and I am sleepy and happy."
"I pray the Lord my soul to keep."
"Hey mommy, who is Lord and what is my soul? I don't think I want to give my soul away."
"If I should die before I wake,"
"DIE? Mommy am I gonna die? I don't want to die mommy?
"I pray the Lord my soul to take."
"MOMMY! Don't go! I don't want to go to sleep, I don't want anybody taking anything from me mommy."
While this could be a slight overreaction, these are common things that run through the thoughts of children. To little ones this prayer is more terrifying than anything else. And night after night saying it to God is not getting anybody anywhere. Imagine, everyday you tell your bestfriend the same thing you told them yesterday and the day before and the day before. Your friend would be hurt that you didn't want to share with them.
Our children's needs change daily, and hourly, so their prayers need to reflect their sincerly open, honest hearts before God.
Submitted on : 21-Apr-2005
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."