Teaching My Children to Pray
I have a vision of being a woman that doesn’t figure out how to share her faith or instill her faith in her children or in how she goes about any task, but for my identity in Christ to be so rooted that it is on my tongue and in my actions and on my face. All of the time.
I regularly wrestle with the issue of trying to encourage my children to pray- to give thanks for food, to pray over a friend who is in need of healing, pray about a concern or worry that they have, or really anything that would involve them talking to God in front of me. I have tried making my own prayers very simple and leading by example. I have tried praying how I usually pray and not kid-ing it down at all. I have tried repeat-after-me prayers and song prayers. I have tried addressing it with them and I have left it completely untouched, allowing it to come about naturally. All I know is, my 5, 3, and 2 year olds don’t want to pray out loud and I sometimes struggle with not being disappointed about it. There.
The disappointment comes in not because I wish they were different or more advanced or even more faithful or disciplined. I don’t really even question my parenting or my own prayer life. It is this intense desire of wanting to help develop faith and prayer within them so that they can take hold of all of the promises and gifts that God has ready and waiting for them. The goldmine that is at their fingertips. For all of us. Experiencing intimacy and hope-producing relationship with the one who longs for their hearts to reach out to His own each morning, each hour, each moment of the day. And also because I am impatient and I want that for them now. At 2, 3, 5. Is that so much to ask.
I overheard the angel that lives in our house. Did you know we have an angel living in our guest bedroom? We used to call her our babysitter, then she quickly became part of our family, and in recent months, she’s just so far beyond any description I can find. Anyways, she moved in with us a couple of weeks ago and there has been an extra light shining in our home ever since. She was in charge of dinner for the kids on date night over the weekend and I overheard her as we said our goodbyes and departed up the steps…
“Let’s say a big ‘THANK YOU, JESUS!’ Ready, set, ‘THANK YOU, JESUS!’”
And they used their sweet voices and thanked Jesus. Boldly, happily, loudly.
And I was so filled with joy and thanks. To her for loving on and praying over how she interacts with and leads our children, and to God for His clear answer and ridiculous attention to the small things in my life. It wasn’t groundbreaking and I always take over the prayer for the meal/day/request soon after. But I tell you what, since then, we have been “Thank You, Jesus!!!”-ing with that same boldness, happiness, and volume.
So, please, feel free to borrow this little idea if you are in the same situation as I am/was and if it doesn’t work, keep trying until something does. Us? We are going to ride this wave while it lasts and enjoy hearing the name of Jesus yelled in our home as often as possible. Amen.