teaching kids to pray

"Thank you so much Jesus for this day and for the sunshine.  Thank you for your grace and for your forgiveness.  Thank you  for all you have done for us, for rescuing us so that we could be with you. And Lord...."
"Mommy, can you say Amen now?", says my 5 yr old in his sweetest voice.

I'm sure you've had similar candid moments with your little ones while praying. Or maybe I'm just long winded. ;-) 

Can I be totally honest with you?  Prayer is something that I've wrestled with a lot.  Probably more since becoming a mother. My little boy asks questions like: "Where is God? I can't see Him! Why can't I see God, mommy?!" And, "God can you hear me? I can't hear you God. Why can't I hear God talking to me, mommy? Can you hear God, mommy?" More recently, he's even become upset and has asked me not to pray for him before bed, because he still has nightmares most nights, even though I ask the Lord nightly to give Him peace and take away bad dreams. He feels like God isn't listening or isn't really taking care of Him. {SIGH} These are the moments I am challenged in my prayer life and in my faith.

These simple (notice I didn't say easy) questions our young ones ask peel back the veil of complacent faith and strip us down to our vulnerable and human selves.  Those dangerous and daring questions we ourselves shy away from because it means we may find we don't have the answers.

So how do we teach our kids to pray when we find our adult selves with questions of our own?

As parents, we tend to want to be able to provide answers for all their questions. But the reality is, when we become adults, we don't have all the answers.  We may have some answers, but they come accompanied by even more questions. 

When we give our kids permission to question things they don't understand, and when we give ourselves the freedom from the need to always resolve the tension they feel in the questioning, we create space for faith...space for the mysteries and wonders of God.

And in the midst of uncertainty, we continue to point them to the truth of scripture so they learn that any answers available to us in this life, are found there.

As they ask their questions and we asks ours, and we navigate prayer together with our children, we can look at a few things together from His word to guide us on our journey.

1) They need to know who they're talking to

-God created them and the world (Genesis 1)
-Jesus is God's only son, sent to the world to die for our sin & defeat death (John 3:16) (Matthew 16)
-God gave us His Spirit to be with us always (John 14:15-17)

2) What is Prayer? 

-Listening  (1 Samuel 3) (John 15:26) (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
-Talking to Him (Philippians 4:6-7) (The Psalms)

3) What to Pray (Matthew 6:9-13)

-Praising God (tell Him how great He is) & Thanksgiving
-Confession (telling God we are sad about the things we've done that make His heart sad)
-For the needs others and ourselves

4) When & Where to Pray?

-All the time (1 Thessalonians 5:17) (Luke 18:1) (Ephesians 6:18)
-Because God is everywhere we can pray anywhere (Psalm 139:7-10, Proverbs  15:3, Colossians 1:17)

And for those moments we wonder if He hears us...

Psalm 34:17-The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.
Psalm 91:15-He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
Psalm 18:6-In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached His ears.

We know the Bible says prayer is powerful and effective (James 5:16). I'm praying the Holy Spirit will begin in us, showing us what it looks like to have a rich and powerful prayer life. 

Love, Nat.

my own worst enemy

real life mama: melody joy