Teaching children to pray
BY DR. ROBERT E. FOWLER
As Christians, we know the importance of prayer in our own lives. But are we using prayer as God intended us to — as a way to plug into His power in our lives? Corrie Ten Boom gives us a good word picture: “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”
JESUS MODELED PRAYER
Jesus modeled prayer for us. Children need us to model prayer for them, because that is how they learn best. Nothing is more effective than praying with and for your children each day. In John 17, we see the progression in prayer that Jesus modeled. He prayed for Himself — that He might bring honor and glory to the Father. Then He prayed for those closest to Him, the disciples. Finally, He prayed for all believers.
PARTNERSHIP IN PRAYER
In the Bible, we read in 1 Samuel about a child, Samuel, who heard the voice of God. Yet he still needed the loving, encouragement of Eli to guide him and teach him how to obey what he heard from God. As parents and teachers, we should embrace the God-given partnership we have in training our children to hear and obey God. It is more difficult today because as a culture we are immersed in activity and our senses are saturated.
How, then, can we hear the still, small voice of God? How can we train children to listen quietly when we are bombarded by sound? We should show them how to listen to the silence so they can hear God. We also want children to learn to pray scripture. A good way to achieve both may be to read Psalm 46:10 to the children, and invite them to take the first part of the verse to pray quietly. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”