Taking Everyday Opportunities to Pray
We, as families, are busy. In addition to working long hours, our schedules can be full of homework, sports, arts, and music. Many parents are exhausted!! The very last thing we want to do is to make them feel guilty about yet another thing to have to fit into their busy family life. The solution is to equip parents to take opportunities that they already have in the time they spend with their children to teach them the importance of prayer and how to pray. As we get them up in the morning, drive them to school or other activities, as we sit around the table for dinner and as we tuck them into bed, we can be praying for and with our children, all the while building and strengthening their faith.
Praying with our kids about things that really matter to them shows them that the great big God of the universe cares for them. When kids get in the car after a full day of school, they often have a story about something. Sometimes, it’s a fight with another child, a hard project they need to complete or news of a sick classmate. Praying about these things before bed at night, or better still, then and there, not only sends a message that the parents care about what is going on in their child’s life but that God cares. When a child understands that God in heaven cares about their “little” (big to them) problem at 6, they also learn that he will certainly care about the bigger life issues at 18 and beyond.
Recognising and celebrating when God answers prayer is also an important way parents can be intentionally pointing to God. Sometimes when God answers a prayer, we ring a friend, and make sure we tell the Pastor on Sunday, but do we celebrate it with our children? Do our kids witness Him at work in our everyday lives? Sometimes God comes through with an answer for a family in a really BIG way and this creates a rich opportunity for families to not only celebrate it when it happens, but to mark the anniversary in years to come. When miracles happen to parents, children in the family also own that faith story. Just as the people in the Old Testament remembered God’s faithfulness, celebrating His faithfulness reveals His relevance for our children today. Noticing the big and the little answers to prayer teaches our kids to trust our faithful God.
Being intentional about looking for opportunities to pray with our children, and encouraging them to pray themselves, empowers them to develop their own deep relationship with God. It gives them confidence in being able to open their heart to God at any time, day or night – not just on Sundays. When we habitually pray for and with our kids, it is only natural that they will want to pray for us. Allowing them to do this and telling them our prayer needs (being age appropriate), we are sending a valuable and strong message to our kids that we not only trust them, but we affirm their faith is real and God hears their prayers as much as He hears ours. Developing the confidence to pray for others empowers our kids to have faith and equips them for a lifetime of relying on God. Prayer in the home is central to building families with strong enduring faith.
Ps Tracy Valentine, Generations Pastor, Gateway Baptist