We say mealtime prayers and pray with our kids at bedtime, but do we gather the family to seek God and expect Him to answer? Do we fervently seek God’s heart and will; praise Him, thank Him, ask for forgiveness, and pray for others and our needs?
The fact is the majority of church attending parents aren’t praying as families. George Barna’s research revealed that less than 10% of parents in the church pray together with their kids other than at mealtimes.*
Here are 5 reasons why we have to bring our kids together often to pray:
- Teaches them how to approach God. Telling someone how to change a tire, or doing it in front of them, is a lot different than doing it with them as a participant in the procedure. Praying together with them models for them, guides and teaches them. What a privilege it is to lead our children to connect with God!
- We hear what’s on their hearts and minds; their major concerns. We learn about their character as they share their challenges about friends, tests or siblings. It’s such a blessing to hear their prayers for those who need help, healing or Jesus.
- Helps us connect with God and each other. Nothing can restore relationships better than asking for forgiveness! We teach our children to ask for forgiveness from God and each other. We want them to know God does forgive and that we are in need of a Savior!
- God answers the prayer of children! God hears a child’s prayer. God listens to children; God uses children. Who had the 5 loaves and 2 fish (John 6:8-9)? A child did. Do you remember Josiah, the faithful boy king (2 Kings 22)? He was used to restore a nation to God. Sharing these scriptures and encouraging them to build their relationship with God now, communicates to our children that God wants to work through them and listens to them today; not just when they are older! It was Jesus who said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
- The most important reason is so they will experience GOD AT WORK. How will they know God is real, active, listens, and answers prayers? Too many children are growing up going to church and hearing terrific stories of what God has done in the past, but aren’t experiencing what He is doing today. Do you want your teenager to avoid rebellion and to live for God? It’s really hard for a teen to live for God when they have not experienced Him at work. This is the biggest reason why the majority of children growing up in churches today are walking away; they are not experiencing the fruit of a home devoted.
We have an awesome opportunity that no one else does: to pray with our children daily. We can lead our kids to experience that our God is real, that He does care and that He is still at work answering prayers and guiding us.
Let’s continue to sharpen each other. Respond with your comments, thoughts, questions below.
Questions to ponder individually, as a couple, or as a small group:
- Why don’t we pray more often with our spouse?
- Why don’t we pray more often with our family?
- How do our children experience God at work?
- When will they experience God’s answered prayers for themselves?
- Why do you think the majority of children in the church grow up and out of their faith by college?
- How do we pray together and when? (Stay tuned for our next post.)
NEXT ARTICLE: HOW TO PRAY WITH YOUR CHILDREN
*(Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, p. 78)