In my previous blog, The Art of Raising Prayer Warriors: Part 1, I discussed the importance of modeling prayer for our kids, even when the conditions are not ideal. Raising prayer warriors does not have to be complicated nor a struggle. In this blog, I provide more tips for helping kids develop a heart for prayer.
Give your children time for God to talk back
The reason I struggled with prayer for many years is because frankly God was not talking back. A one way conversation is really no fun and I know my kids agree with me on that. The truth is that God will talk back, but not always the way we expect Him to. Some may hear an audible voice and are gifted in the prophetic, but those of us that are not, will hear in other ways. But we have to give Him the time to speak to us in His own way. It is those times of just sitting and listening that I get my deepest revelation. For example, on one occasion, as I listened, the thought popped in my head to pray for a particular individual that I barely knew so I did. A few minutes later, when I was done, I checked my Facebook feed and that person was requesting prayer. This has repeated itself in different ways over and over.
When I sit down with my children to pray, we always allow a minute or two of silent meditation listening to God’s direction for the day. I ask them what came to mind during that time and I write it down. My four-year-old’s “revelation” is mostly her wild imagination (rainbow ponies, flying princess, etc), but I have been floored by what my nine-year-old “hears” during that time. It is a time that He uses to remind her that He is alive and it is such a comfort for her to know that He is there. And now, because He will show her things, she looks forward to those times of meditation in prayer.
Point out answered prayers
When their prayers are answered, it serves as a motivation to pray more. It also demonstrates for kids the power of prayer. However, kids are shortsighted (and so are adults for that matter). They may not necessarily always make the link between something they prayed for and the answer that came several months later. That is where we come in. We have to make the connection for them and then remind them to be thankful for God’s graciousness and faithfulness.
Don’t limit their prayers nor stifle the Holy Spirit
Although we want to begin to teach them the Biblical concept of not praying from a place of selfishness (James 4:3), don’t limit your child’s prayer because you don’t believe it is possible. Sometimes we do this because we are afraid they will be disappointed, but that really speaks to our unbelief. God is not a slot-machine, and we can’t expect that He will answer our every whim. On the other hand, God is God, and he is the same today as he was in Biblical times. He is still capable of the same miracles today as He was back then and He showed me this through my child’s prayer.Although we want to begin to teach them the Biblical concept of not praying from a place of selfishness (James 4:3), don't limit your child's prayer because you don't believe it is possible. Click To Tweet
When my now nine-year-old was about six-years-old, her prayers resulted in a series of miracles that exposed my own lack of faith. A storm was moving through our little town and the lightning and thunder frightened my daughter. She told me, “Mommy, I am going to pray for the thunderstorm to stop.” In my efforts to keep her from being disappointed, I responded something to the effect of, “Sweety, well, the grass and the trees need rain so don’t feel bad if God does not answer your prayer.” She shot back, “Mommy, I am not going to pray for the rain to stop, just for the thunder and lightning to stop.” In her determination, she bowed her head and said her little prayer. As soon as she finished speaking, the thunder and lightning stopped, and my little girl said, “See.” I did see and for about a year after that every time there was a storm, she said the same prayer, and every time God answered it . (You can read the full account in A Child’s Faith.)
Raising prayer warriors with worship music
Prayer is not always about asking for things and in an effort to teach this lesson, I have found that my girls found a new way to enjoy prayer. We will play one of our favorite worship songs, kneel and then I ask them to listen to the words and focus on God with their eyes closed. They both really love this. There is something about the music that stirs their little hearts. On some occasions, my oldest daughter has been so moved by it that she has cried. It is a wonderful way to praise and thank God in moving and enjoyable way.
Make prayer an adventure for these budding warriors
My little girls are Star Wars fans. They love the battle between good versus evil and the adventure behind it. It excites them. So I describe prayer to them in those terms. I tell them that every time they pray it is like they are lighting up their light sabers. Somewhere in the spiritual realm, they are Jedi warriors fighting for good versus evil.
These are just some of my recommendations as I try to find creative ways to fulfill Proverbs 22:6:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
If you have your own tips, please feel free to share them below in the comment section. I would love to hear them!