By Teresa Kindred
There is nothing sweeter than a child with their eyes closed and their hands clasped together in prayer. How much do children really get from the wonderful blessing of prayer? Sometimes not as much as they could if they were only given a little help.
When children are very small the easiest way to teach them to pray is by making prayer a part of their night time ritual. Most often the prayer is something easy to memorize. "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep," are familiar words to thousands of children.
As children grow older they need to learn that prayer is an avenue for talking to God and a wonderful blessing that can enrich their spiritual lives. Here are five easy suggestions to help your child get more out of prayer.
1. Tell your child that prayer is not just for bedtime. Let them lead the blessing at the dinner table. When you're getting ready to travel say a family prayer asking God to watch over you on your journey. Let your child see you praying at different times during the day. Remember children learn from our examples.
2. Stress that God wants us to come to him in prayer with whatever is on our minds. It's okay to pray about their sick pet or the bully at school who just will not leave them alone.
3. Talk about how God answers prayers. It's important for children to know that they may not always get the answer they want. God knows what is best for them and a large part of being a happy Christian rests on the basis of accepting God's will.
4. Pray together. Too often children see adults pray only in church. Have a family time of Bible reading and prayer as often as possible. Not only will your child benefit from it but the whole family will feel closer.
5. Encourage your child's Sunday school teacher to talk to the class about prayer and to let each child take turns leading the prayer. Seeing other children pray makes praying easier for youngsters. Children taught to pray will grow into young adults who know where to turn for help. In today's troubled world isn't it wonderful that God gave us the blessing of prayer!
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