One of our favorite questions in Go Kids is, “What would you like to pray for?” The responses cover a vast array of topics. A child might say, “Can we pray for my dad?” and the child next to them, with an equal amount of urgency, will say, “Can we pray for my pet?” The Bible teaches us that we can pray for everything and anything. That’s what makes prayer time an adventure!
Growing up, I remember praying with my parents about big things, but I don’t remember always praying about the small things. Kids want to pray and we should encourage them to pray about the big and small things! They want to exercise their childlike faith. As parents, we can catalyze creating an attitude of prayer for needs, prayer at celebrations, prayers of adoration and prayers of praise.
Here are some practical ways to jump-start a culture of “praying for everything” in your home:
1. Create a rhythm of prayer.
Let the cycle of a day and week set up reminders for you to pray for specific things with your child. In the morning, pray for your day. When driving, pray for activities. Pray for your food at meals, and at bedtime, pray a prayer of thanksgiving. This rhythm is found in the Bible! Deuteronomy 6:4-9
2. Pray with faith.
As parents, we want to prepare our children for disappointments, but moments of prayer are not the times to do so. Children have a level of faith that we do not. Allow children to pray God-sized prayers. It’s better to teach a child to have faith to believe in the miraculous than to relegate their expectations that keep them from experiencing God’s power.
3. Pray in the moment.
If you are driving and have to pull over for an ambulance, take the opportunity to say this prayer with your child, “Lord, we pray for the person in that ambulance, please bring healing to their body in Jesus’ name Amen!” In doing so, you have just accomplished two things. First, you prayed for someone. Second, you have taught your child that prayer can take place at any moment.
4. Pray often.
Prayer is special, but it doesn’t only happen on special occasions. My grandfather was the master of praying often. At mealtimes, he would pray for food, squirrels, crops, family members and a myriad of other things I was too hungry to remember. I think he did it just to see how long our grandkids would last, but he did teach me to pray for things often. Parents, our task is simply to get Philippians 4:6 into the hearts and minds of our children. Philippians says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”