Prayer is something that needs to be developed in our children. It is something they learn by being taught. Beyond the bedtime prayer and saying a blessing for meals, how can we develop a prayer life in our kids that will become alive and vibrant? How can we help make prayer a discipline that our children grow to depend on and value?
It's ok to use some creativity as we teach children to pray. Prayer represents our relationship with God. It's how we talk with him. It's praising and thanking him and it's how we bring our needs to him. It's about a living relationship with a living God. Take that relationship and encourage it to come alive in your family.
Here are a few ideas that can help prayer become a central part of your family life:
Start a prayer journal
Children love to write things down and to make lists. Decorate a journal and call it your family prayer journal. When you have family time together have your children write down their prayer requests in the journal. This becomes a great tool to help children think of those around them and to start to realize the important of praying for one another. It also becomes a testimony to God's faithfulness as you look back together and see how God has worked in the lives of the people and situations you have been praying for.
Make a prayer board
It's no secret that family life is busy. Most days every one is running in different directions. Have a prayer board in a location in the house where it is easily visible. At the start of the week, write down on cue cards a couple items that your family will focus on in prayer. Put them on the prayer board. As everyone goes to and from their activities all week, those items on the board will be a visible reminder to say a prayer for those needs. Every week, change the requests. It's powerful to have everyone focused on praying for the same thing. This helps develop a responsibility of prayer and a common focus on prayer.
Have a prayer jar
Make prayer into a fun activity for younger children. Get a jar or container and fill it up with little slips of papers with different prayer requests written on each one. Each night after dinner or before bed you can get the family together and have someone pick a slip of paper out of the jar. Whatever request is picked out is something specific that can be prayed for that night. Children will love to have their turn picking requests and seeing what they are praying for that night. This will help develop anticipation for prayer time.
Use your technology
It's no secret that even in family life, technology is a big part of what everyone does. Use this to your advantage as a parent. Create a family text group. It's a great way to stay in touch during the day as well as it can be a great avenue for you to send prayer needs out to each other. Sometimes situations come up during the day and to be able to connect with the rest of the family and ask for prayer can be very powerful. Or, one person can send out a message that they are praying for the rest of the family during the day. It's a great way to stay connected and be supportive. See what is out there that can help you. Faith at Home has a prayer app (http://www.faithathome.com/faithhome-prayer-app/ )
that comes with prayer prompters that you can use on the go, with lots of different selections to get your family focused together on prayer.
Prayer is something we learn, it is something that we develop as we grow in our Faith Journey. Try some of these ideas and help your family strengthen their prayer life together!