One of the most important things you can do as a parent, teacher, or faith leader is teach your kids how to pray. Prayer provides an opportunity for kids to encounter Christ wherever they are. Take the time to teach your kids about the importance of prayer and how they can incorporate it in their day. Provide them with some of the tools and the knowledge that they need to be able to have a strong foundation for when they want to pray on their own.
Here are 6 tips to help you do that.
1. MAKE IT SIMPLE
Kids need to know that prayer does not need to be long. Just saying the name of Jesus is a prayer. Whether they have 5 min or 5 seconds, Jesus wants to be a part of their day.
2. SHARE YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY
What do you do in your prayer time? What are some of your favorite prayers? What special things do you have in your prayer spot? Did you pray when you were their age? Share these things with the kids so that they can see how prayer works in daily life. They’ll be inspired by your witness.
3. DISCUSS ANY MISCONCEPTIONS
Some people have preconceived notions about prayer. For example, many kids might have the impression that prayer can only happen in Church, or that they need to say the right words in order for God to hear them. Going over some basic facts about prayer can be very helpful for both you and your kids. Make sure you leave time to answer any questions they might want to ask you.
4. GIVE THEM CONCRETE TOOLS
Part of our job is to provide kids with the tools they need to feel comfortable in their prayer time. Give them ideas for a variety of ways that they can pray. (Bible reading, rosary, prayer books, talking to God, just being quiet and listening, etc.) You can even print out prayer cards for them to use. Another great way is by helping them set up a prayer spot in their room.
5. BE CREATIVE
Prayer is an important topic and there’s no need for it to be boring. Kids notice when you go the extra mile for them. Find funny comics about prayer to post up in their rooms. (You can google “Christian comics about prayer” and choose the ones you like.) For the younger kids, use puppets and have a conversation between God and a child praying. Invite your parish priest over to share his personal experience of prayer. Have fun with it and see what works best for your kids.
6. TRUST THE HOLY SPIRIT
We often have a dozen plans and ideas about what we want to teach the kids or what they should get out of the things that we teach them. However, sometimes God’s plans are vastly different from our own, so we need to trust that the Holy Spirit is at work and that He knows what’s best for the kids. Pray: “Jesus, you take over!”
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards heaven.” - St. Therese of Lisieux
What are some things that help you teach your kids how to pray? Let us know in the comments below.