For Christian parents, this, in reality, is one of the most complicated questions and yet the very important one. I can pat myself on the shoulder for coming up with this question.
Before I head straight to the soul of the answer, I would love to share my personal story with prayers. My parents were Christians converted from Hindus and so their prayers were always about thanking the Lord for rescuing and bringing them to His light and everlasting love. I, on the other hand, was a christian just by name (the small “c” is intentional). I was in the church every Sunday, singing and dancing with fellow believers and praying. But, I never really believed in what I was praying for. Maybe I assumed that if God is benevolent, He will let me get away with it. Or, maybe I never believed that there was someone who was actually listening to my prayers. So, when my mother told me to pray earnestly and ask God to help me know His truth, I never expected to have so many spiritual encounters with Him, that too, at the age of eleven.
From these experiences, as I followed His guidance, I was immensely blessed in several ways that were too amazing to be possibly true. And, I learned about the importance of prayers in a believer’s life.
The world says that every child should have the freedom and the right to make their own choice and parents should never force their kids into doing anything. However, remember, before being a parent, you were God’s child and your mission is to spread His words and teach the essence of prayers to His other disciples, including your kids.
Give Your Testimony
Children are naturally very curious creatures. Research shows that they are all born with the hunger for information and the natural desire to understand the reason behind every action.
If you are going to teach your kids to pray, you have to expect them to ask you why.
You cannot expect your kids to believe in Christianity or in praying simply because they were raised in a Christian home. They will eventually have their own spiritual experience, but you can help them walk through it with your testimony.
They will only understand the importance of praying once they learn about the significance of getting closer to God and communicating with Him on a daily basis. For example, you can tell them about your very first encounter with God. Tell them how you became a Christian and what got you started on your Christian journey. Tell them about all the miraculous things that opened your eyes to His truth. You can also share times when your prayers were answered.
Help Them to Understand the Importance of Praying
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
– From Philippians 4:6
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
– From Matthew 7:7-8
It’s important to let your kids know that God is not only their Savior but also their Father. And, just like any father, God will also listen to their prayers and care for their needs and desires.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
-From Colossians 4:2
However, tell them also that praying isn’t only about asking God for things you need or want. It’s more about building a close relationship with Him. It’s about trusting and talking to Him everyday, asking for His guidance, confiding in Him or giving thanks.
You’ll even find lots of examples in the Bible where people were led to prayers for different reasons. How about getting your kids familiar with these Biblical stories?