Finding Opportunities to Pray with our Kids

I have always desired to have a vibrant prayer life because I know that ongoing fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit is what God created us for.  However, in our busy culture, it is difficult to fight against the compartmentalization of prayer and other spiritual disciplines.  I don’t want to see prayer as a task on my daily check off list.  I want to see it as the source of my joy, the fuel behind everything I do, my access to all the spiritual blessings promised to me, the foundation of my work and ministry, and the overflow of abundant life through Jesus Christ.

Throughout the day, there are set times when we pray with our kids, and there are also circumstantial triggers that can lead us to pray aloud.  I think it’s important to model prayer in all circumstances, so our kids can understand the different facets of prayer and the different attitudes we can have when we pray.  I think praying out loud helps them develop a picture of the God we pray to.  Ultimately, we hope they will learn to communion with their heavenly Father at all times!

We try to pray with our kids…
1. When we’re in the car – for God’s blessings and protection upon us, that we would be pleasing to God in all that we do
2. Before each meal – to be thankful for the provision of food, for health upon our bodies
3. When someone has a physical ailment of some sort (bloody nose, running nose, coughing, spit up, etc) – for the Healer to grant a quick and full recovery
4. During visitations – when we visiti the sick
5. When we hear sirens on the road – we pray for God’s intervention upon any accidents, physical or life threatening injuries, and wisdom for first-responders
6. Whenever we go to church – for our hearts, for the pastors-teachers-servants, for opportunities to be a blessing to others
7. When we are lacking in love – when we find ourselves impatient, angry, irritable, or unkind to each other
8. Each night during family time- we follow a weekly schedule of prayer prompts (more in another post)
9. Weekly blessing prayer – our senior pastor taught us to pray blessing prayers over our children to beseech God’s rich spiritual blessings promised to us.  We lay hands and pray this way every Sunday night before a new week begins.

Below are some verses that have helped me to understand what we pray for, who we can pray for, when we can pray, how we pray, and why we pray to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always,
 pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Ephesians 5:18
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

Matthew 5:44
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Romans 8:26
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words

Philippians 4:6
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Closing thoughts.  Children soak up what you teach them or how you model something like a sponge.  I am amazed that sometimes it just takes one time of modeling prayer in a particular moment for our oldest daughter to understand and apply in similar future circumstances.  Almost always, she requests to intercede on behalf or people when we hear ambulances zooming by or when someone has signs of a physical ailment.  She also likes to volunteer to pray for our food every time.  At two years old, I think she has learned to give thanks to God and petition for physical healing.

This was the progression of her prayers:
12-18 months “Muah”
20-24 months “Amen!”
24-30 months “Dear God, we thank you for the food.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.” “Dear God, we pray for my spit up and bloody nose. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
30+ months “Dear God, thank you for mommy, daddy, Eve, and Abby, and for Eve’s food and for mommy making food. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

Some of the ways we would like to model prayer in the future when they are older is how to give praises and adoration to God and how to confess our sins before Him.

***How do you incorporate prayer into your family life?  I’d love to hear and learn new opportunities!

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