I don't want them to see prayer as an obligation or a chore. I want them to know and understand what prayer really is. I want them to not only enjoy praying to God, but for them to choose talking with God first instead of last.
The bible tells us to teach God's ways to our kids. I believe prayer should be a priority on that list.
I want to encourage my kids to learn these important aspects about prayer in hopes that it may help them develop a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father.
*What is prayer? It is basically communication. Communication with God. Just like we speak to each other, we can speak to God the same way. We can trust that the God who created us is eagerly waiting for us to have a chat with Him. Just talk to Him like you would talk to a friend.
*Who are we talking to when we pray? God. Our King of Kings. The Great I Am. Our Heavenly Father. Our creator. Yes, when we pray it is just like communicating with our parents and friends, but we must never forget who we are speaking to. He deserves our respect. He is so Holy. Let us not forget how Holy our God is. He deserves our communication, love, trust and praise!
*Prayer time does not mean gossip time. I do not want to hear you gossiping about how bad certain people are and neither does God. Yes, if someone has hurt you, God cares. You are free to share with him all of your hurt, pain and disappointments in life. He wants you to share with Him. However, if you are just gossiping and telling God all about the sins of others, that is not praying. That person and the wrong they are doing; that is between them and God. Not you.
*Take our time when praying. When you've waited all day to get to talk to someone, how would you feel if they hurriedly came in, said a quick sentence or two that you barely understood, and they left as quickly as they came in? You'd be disappointed, right? That is probably how God feels when we rush our prayer time with Him. To build a relationship with God or anyone for that matter, it takes good communication. Let's take the time to really talk with God. Share with Him about your day, thoughts, needs and wants, but always start off thanking Him for everything He is and all that He has given you.
*Be respectful when we pray. When the family is praying over our yummy meal we are about to eat or when we are in family prayer time before bed, it is important to be respectful. The reason we close our eyes when we pray is to help us stay focused and not become distracted by things around us. When we pray over our food, all of have our heads are bowed and eyes closed. That is not the time to sneak a bite of your food or sneak your green peas on to your sister's plate. It is time to show how thankful we are to God for supplying all of our needs...including the food on our plate.
Also, do you remember the A.C.T.S prayer guide when you were younger? I remember my Sunday School teacher giving us this guide to help us remember how to pray.
A = Adoration. Let's start our prayer with adoring God for all He is and for all He has done for us. He is Holy! He is above all. He is our strength. He is our provider.
C = Confession. Lay before God all our sins. Asking forgiveness from them and asking for help with not doing those sins any longer.
T = Thanksgiving. Thank God for every blessing he has ever given you and will ever give you! Every good gift comes from God.
S = Supplication. This is where we ask God to provide all of our needs. Asking Him for help in the different areas of our lives that we need help in. He is faithful.
Praying to God, taking the time to talk and listen, will help build a strong relationship with God. That goes for us adults and for our children. Let's lead by example, parents.
New International Version (NIV)