If you are following the 12 month challenge to teach your children to live more like Jesus, this month is all about prayer. Jesus modeled prayer to us in such wonderful ways. It was obvious the prayer life of Jesus was about pouring his heart out to his Father. We only have a few of his actual prayers recorded, but I have a feeling they barely touch the tip of his prayer life.
In most Christian families, prayer is probably the area that gets the most attention when our children are young. Parents love those adorable bedtime prayers of small children and most have a favorite rote prayer which is said at meals. How many of us though, have gone beyond those basics to help our children establish a meaningful prayer life?
Schools all over the country teach fire safety to even the youngest children. If you say, “Stop, drop and roll.” to almost any child, he knows it is what he is supposed to do if he is on fire. As a Mom, I feel like I am a “Stop, drop and pray” Christian. My life is often so chaotic, I may be praying without ceasing, but often they are prayers because my life is on fire at the moment. My prayer life is often a reaction to the events and problems surrounding me currently or that I see approaching in the near future. My goal is to develop a more proactive rather than reactive prayer life, especially in my prayers for my child.
When my daughter started kindergarten, several of the moms approached me about joining their Moms In Touch group. MIT consists of small groups of Christian moms all over the world. They meet regularly to pray for the students and teachers in the public and private schools their children attend. Being in that group introduced me to the idea of planned, proactive prayer. The group shared with members several handouts of scriptures to pray for your child. Many of them focused on godly characteristics you hoped your child would develop.
My daughter is currently on a campaign to move mealtime prayers to the end of meals. She actually has a very valid point. In her opinion, no one really pays attention to the prayer before a meal because they are so hungry or are worried about the food getting cold (ouch!). We have had several light-hearted discussions on the pros and cons of her campaign.
In reality, I am just glad she thinks about prayer. We have family prayer times, but I have always tried to encourage our daughter to have her own private conversations with God. I don’t force her to pray out loud in front of us (and never have) any more than I would listen in on one of her private telephone conversations. I often wonder how she talks to God and I am happy when she occasionally gives me glimpses into her prayer life.