Before I got married and had kids, I used to have dreams of sitting around as a family, possibly holding hands and praying together (cue the Kum ba ya music). I thought our family prayer life would be fruitful because I married a Godly man and we agreed that growing our family faith was a priority.
What I hadn’t figured into the mix was the busyness of life and our growing need to integrate our faith into everyday living. That’s not to say slowing down from time to time to linger in prayer together isn’t important. It most certainly is! But when it isn’t possible (which is more often than not), it’s good to have a plan in place to keep our family prayer life growing still.
Prayer is a foundational faith tenet our kids need to understand and embrace so they can grow in their relationship with God. Prayer doesn’t have to be a stale tradition and it doesn’t have to be an unattainable practice, reserved only for the holiest saints.
Prayer is simply talking to God. Just like we would talk to each other. It can be formal or it can be casual. It can be planned or it can be spontaneous.
Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God. Billy Graham
And yet, prayer is a holy act, allowing words to become our path to meet with our Creator.
So if prayer is as simple (and complicated) as that, how do we teach our kids about prayer while developing a family prayer life. Let’s start with these 3 simple steps.
3 Steps to Growing a Family Prayer Life
- Prepare Heart Soil. Teaching our kids about prayer is one of the first steps in growing their faith. Prayer prepares the soil of their hearts to communicate with God and grow in relationship with him. Read scriptures about prayer to teach kids what it means to talk to God. Start with Jeremiah 29:12, Psalm 145:18 and The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 (you can also look at this kids version of The Lord’s Prayer as a good starting point).
- Plant Prayer Seeds. Each time we pray or talk about prayer, we’re planing seeds in our child’s heart. Prayer can be more than a mindless tradition. Make prayer come alive for your kids by continuing to plant seeds through regular practice and discussion. When prayer becomes a part of our family life, it becomes a part of our child’s faith legacy. So practice prayer by making it a part of your routine – morning, evening and mealtime. But don’t let it end there. Stop in the middle of the daily chaos to offer prayers to God anytime, anywhere. Talk about prayer often and practice praying in the midst of your day.
- Cultivate Growth. Pray together often and continue to talk about prayer. Prayer should be an ongoing conversation between us and God and between us as a family. Discuss together when God answers your prayers and when he doesn’t. It’s so important for kids to be comfortable talking about their hope in God and their disappointment when his answer is different than expected. Use a tool like the ICB Prayer Bible in Pink or Blue to encourage kids to study prayer and grow in their prayer life. These beautiful Bibles will help your children develop a heart for prayer. This ICB version (my favorite for kids!), highlights the most famous and beloved prayers featured in the Bible throughout the text. To put prayer life into practice, the Bible comes with a free prayer journal and a handy pocket on the back flap to carry it!
What steps are you taking (or can you take) to grow your family prayer life this year?
Jess Wolstenholm / gatherandgrow.co