When we call on God’s name, he listens. And he is ready to answer. Even when we don’t know what to say next, he already knows how to help. “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8).
Prayer is a powerful connection that we have with Jesus. We can talk to him – the Lord Almighty – whenever we want. And Jesus loves it when we do! Just as we enjoy catching up with friends, sharing a concern with our spouse, or giving praise to our kids, Jesus likes it when we converse with him, too.
Prayer is powerful. It’s important. It’s a large part of a faith-life. How do we make sure we are sharing the importance of prayer with our children? How can we, as families, make prayer a normal part of daily life?
There is no correct answer. But here are a few ideas.
1). Teach your family a new prayer.
Whether it’s refreshing your children on the Lord’s Prayer, making up your own family prayer, using Martin Luther’s morning or evening prayer (typed below), or using one from a devotional book, repetition is the key. Choose a time each day when your family will be together, and introduce the prayer. Then each day, say it again, helping your family say it along with you. Kids are quick learners. They’ll have it memorized in no time! And very likely, the words of your family prayer will stick with them for a very long time.
2). Pray for your child during some quiet time.
Our kids – even teens – appreciate it when we give them genuine attention. The next time you play a video game (or just watch) with your 3rd grader or ask your teen if you could treat him to some pizza, find some time to spend alone with your child. Ask to pray, just for him or her. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy – just thank Jesus for the gift of your child and ask Him to keep him or her in His care.
3). Use meal time.
Meal time is a great time of the day to thank Jesus for all he gives to us. Have your family say a common meal time prayer together, or go around the table and ask each of your children to thank Jesus for something. Or use this family time to lift up specific concerns or family issues. The sky is the limit!
4). Praise God during good times.
Enjoying a family weekend on the lake, heading to the cabin, taking a vacation, playing at a park, or laughing at your goofy dog are all healthy and happy family moments. Talk to Jesus during these happy times, too! Children will be glad to hear that Jesus likes it when we have fun. Even a simple “Jesus, thank you for our cabin” or “That was a great day at the beach! Thanks, God” can show our children just how important – and easy – it is to include Jesus during the good times, too.
5). Talk to God while in the car.
This might seem especially important before taking a long trip or before heading to a big event, but we can ask Jesus for safe travel wherever we go, and no matter how close or how far it is. Safety for our family is something we all strive for, so we can ask Jesus to keep us safe while en route, too.
These are just a few ways to incorporate prayer into family routines. The most important thing we can do is show our children how to pray, to pray with them, and to pray for them. Since Jesus promises to be with us all the time, we are not bound by limits! We can pray when we want, where we want, and for whatever is on our minds. Jesus listens. He cares. He loves families. And he is pleased when we talk to him.
Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer:
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Martin Luther’s Evening Prayer:
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray You to forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.