A Simple Way to Teach Children about Prayer

Recently, I had a conversation that made me realize one simple step I always try to take with my children might not be natural to every family. A sweet Christian mama was explaining to me how one of her young children struggles with anger issues; she explained how she deals with each outburst, using advice from her child's pediatrician. She seemed to seek any insights I might have, so I asked: "Do you pray with him after the outbursts?"

She looked a little surprised, and replied with a sad smile, "Well, no. I'm usually too busy praying for myself - that I will hold onto my own patience!"

Oh girl, I've so been there and done that!

But once you've prayed for yourself, and once your child has calmed down and you've had a talk about how better to handle things in the future, please don't forget to pray with your child about the situation. This has two major benefits:

1. God's help is required! Your child needs God's help, so be sure to ask for it - together.

2. It teaches your child to turn to God - the real source of all help.

Of course, angry outbursts aren't the only time to pray with your child about his or her behavior. Prayer is an important follow up to any negative behavior. (And actually, it's an important follow up to positive times, too, because we want to teach our children to turn to God all the time, not just when they feel in need.)

Here's an example of how I might pray with a child who became physical while feeling angry: "Dear Father in Heaven, please comfort Dan right now. Help him to learn self control. Help him not to feel so angry at his sister when she takes toys from him. Lord, help him to learn better ways to deal with his anger, and please heal his heart so it isn't angry. We come to you, God, because we know nobody can change except with your help. Please let your Holy Spirit guide Dan today and every day. In Jesus' name, Amen."

The idea is to simply to model prayer for your child.

And take note Mamas: It may take a lot of time for these lessons to sink in to your child's heart. But that's okay. God is in control.

More Tips for Teaching Children to Pray:

* 3 Ways to Pray Without Ceasing
* Let Your Kids Hear You Pray
* Teaching Children How to Pray
* Finger Prayers
* Counteracting "God-as-a-Genie"

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