Prayer connects children with God in a powerful way; it's a relationship a conversation. As we teach our children about prayer we will inevitably grow in our journey of prayer as well. God wants our prayers to be simple and sincere. God loves us and hears the cry's of our hearts. God loves to talk to His Children.
There are lots of ways to be praying for the kids in our lives. Here are a few that you may want to give a try.
Prayers of Blessing. What is a blessing and why do we bless children? Right from the start of scripture we see God blesses us. Gen 1:28, "God blessed them and said: Be fruitful..." Essentially when we bless we are giving a gift of God's power that our kids will be tapping into for the rest of their lives. Blessings are not about us and the things we can give to our children but rather about God. i.e. May the LORD bless you... God Bless (Sally) with your joy. Blessings can be scriptural (see Numbers 6:24-26, Matthew 5:14; 16) or words simply that speak life over our kids. Blessings affirm, encourage, speak favour and provide hope of a future.
Prayers of Original Design. God has uniquely designed your children or the children in your life. See Psalm 139:16; Jeremiah 29:11. Through prayer you have the amazing opportunity to partner with God in seeing His plans come to fruition as each child grow to be an adult. How can you know God's Original design for your child?
1. Become a student of your child - their talents, gifts, likes / dislikes?
2. Ask questions - What do they dream about most often? Of all of the people in the Bible they have studied who do they most want to be like? Why?
3. Ask God - Ask God how He sees your children. What he sees in their future? Pray into what God reveals.
Prayers of Intersession. In Scripture we are given the picture that Jesus intercedes to the Father on our behalf. We as parents and caregivers can intercede on behalf of our kids. We can present both felt and real needs of our kids to God and know that He hears and answers our prayers.
Prayers of Healing. There are lots of things that families and children need healing from. Families today suffer a barrage of hurts, conflicts and challenges. But we believe that prayer makes a difference - prayer heals hurting families.
We know its important to not only pray for our kids but to pray with them. Here are some tips that might help you get started.
Step 1: Define Prayer in words your kids will understand. You might start with something like... Prayer is a conversation with God.
Step 2: Teach kids to Praise God for who He is. With your child look up the names of God in the Bible. He is our Father, Friend, Counsellor, Shepherd, Mighty King, Prince of Peace... Then have your kids thank God for who He is in their prayers. God you are Love and we thank-you that you love us so much.
Step 3: Teach children to pray God's Word Look at prayers in Scripture; look at how people in the Bible pray (i.e. what they ask for how they hear from God)
Step 4: Teach kids to pray in the moment. Sick, Scared, excited, annoyed - tell God about it. Encourage your kids to start or continue to dialogue with God on an ongoing basis.
Step 5: Train their ears to hear God's Voice Expect that your kids are hearing from God; ask them what He is speaking to them. Does it line up with scripture? Train their ears and eyes to hear from God. Through listening prayer, asking God for a picture, stepping into a Bible story, soaking prayer etc.
Step 6: Remind kids that God responds to simple Faith. Teach kids that things don't always turn out the way we expect / we can't always see what God is doing while at the same time teach them to ask and expect big things of God.
Step 7: Invite kids into your prayer life. The same Spirit that lives in us lives in them. Kids need to be invited into the prayers of their parents and other significant adults. Model authentic prayer. Show them how you talk to God. Invite them to pray for you about the things on your heart. Invite them to share with you the things God is saying to them.
Children, Can You Hear Me? by Brad Jersak (Can you hear me? also by Brad is an excellent read if you are interested in deepening your listening prayer life with God.)
Prayer Saturated Kids. By Cheryl Sacks and Arlyn Lawrence (also by Cheryl and Arlyn PrayKids! A great resource book)