If you are a parent, one question is never far from your mind . . . “Am I doing this right?”
I know. I’m there, too.
When your baby is little, you fret about how you lay them down to sleep, when to say goodbye to the pacifier, and the best method to potty train. As they grow, you worry how quickly they can learn the alphabet or why they don’t pick up their toys. Questioning everything from discipline to rewards continues throughout grade school, the dreaded middle school years, high school and beyond. And that’s OK. It means you care.
You want to equip your child to thrive long after you are gone, right? Of course! Well, here’s one tool you can offer your baby to last a life-time: prayer.
Equipping your little one to be a prayer warrior is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. The ability to talk to God will give them guidance, comfort, power and so much more when they are no longer in arm’s reach. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Consider these tips to empower your child for a life of prayer.
Talk it out. Engage in an ongoing conversation with your child about prayer. “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19). It doesn’t have to be a long, involved lesson every time. Do whatever is appropriate for the age and situation. When they are small, you might talk about the reasons for bedtime prayers or prayer over meals. Share stories from the Bible about people who prayed and how God answered their prayers. Older kids can read and discuss Scriptures about prayer with you. Explain why we pray and when and where we pray as they grow in maturity. When they mention friends or others who might be struggling in life, chat about why it is important to pray for those who are hurting. During family Bible study discuss the different promises concerning prayer found in Scripture. And don’t forget to explore what Jesus said about prayer.
Point it out. Guide your child into a prayer life with “hands on” prayer activities that you can do together. Start by deciding on bedtime prayers and meal prayers together. Use a favorite prayer, develop a prayer for your family together or encourage them to share their unique prayers. Visuals help young children understand about how God hears our prayers. For example, blow prayers into bubbles or tie prayer slips to helium balloons and watch them float heavenward. As they learn to read and write, help them create a prayer journal, listing out both needs and victories. Go back and read older prayers occasionally to show how God works.
Walk it out. As a parent, you know that one of the most powerful influences in your child’s life is you. They watch you, mimic you, and value what you do. Your actions speak volumes so be diligent about your own prayer life. When you invest in your own prayer life, it will show in your daily walk. And when you pray for your children regularly, believe me . . . they will know.
A parent who prays is definitely “doing it right” . . . you got this!