High River United Church of High River, Alberta
        

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07
May

Teaching Our Children to Pray - A Gift that will last a Lifetime

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Give your children the gift of prayer. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give them - a gift that will last a lifetime. Prayer is a place to rest when we are overwhelmed. In prayer, we lean into God when we are sad or frustrated or feeling alone. Our kids need us, and they also need to know that they can turn to God in prayer.

 

Prayer is a place to express every emotion. We don’t have to edit those emotions or be nice to God. We can tell God everything and anything, and know that God holds it all in unconditional love. God doesn’t express, “You shouldn’t say that!” because God already knows what is in our hearts.

 

Right now, we are going through a pandemic. Depending upon how disrupted their lives are, our children may or may not be experiencing upset and stress. However, at some point, actually many points, in their lives, our children will be confronted with challenging and difficult situations, whether on a personal level or a global level. Prayer is one of the tools we can put in their tool kit – a major tool that will help them be resilient.

 

Resilience is what we want our children to have. As much as we’d like to and as much as we try to, we can’t protect them from every devastating and challenging experience. This pandemic is a prime example! So, let’s help them know how to bounce back. Let’s give them tools for resilience.

 

Prayer helps us be resilient. We can take our tears, our frustration and our fears to God. I love the verse in Revelation 21:4, “God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” What a beautiful image! We can sit with God, let our tears flow, and in tender love, God will reach out to wipe those tears from our face. We can rest in God.

 

So, I invite you to pray with your children. Grace at dinner is one place. Prayers at bedtime are another moment. Be the model. Let your children see and hear you taking a moment of prayer (but those moments are not the ones to pour out your deepest feelings to God – save those for private time.)

 

One early Christian practice was to pray the Lord’s Prayer three times a day. This pattern of praying three times a day – morning, noon and evening – helps build the spiritual practice of prayer. One can use printed or memorized prayers, but also teach your children to offer their own words in their own way. They should never think there is only one way to pray.

 

Here are some prayers as starting points for you and your children:

(or download this pdf: Prayers_for_Children__Families.pdf )

Morning

Good morning, dear God!

Here we go!

Things aren’t normal,

so I’m glad you’re with me! Amen.

 

Noon

Hello, God!

I know you are saying, “I love you!”

in so many ways.

I’m paying attention. Thank you. Amen.

 

Evening Prayer

If you wish, stop to name specific things, add actions of giving things to God, or just say the prayer all the way through without stopping.

  

Dear God, I know you love me.

Thank you for being so good! (name things you are thankful for)

Here are my worries! (share them)

Here are my fears. (share them)

Would you help me? (share what you need)

Would you help my friends and family? (name the people and what they need)

Bless my family.

Bless my friends.

Bless the earth and animals,

and bless me. Amen.

            *Bless – to wish good, hope, love, peace & joy

 

Another Prayer for Children

Thank you, o God,

for being with us today.

Thank you for Jesus,

who shows us your Way.

Thanks for the Spirit,

who helps us to pray.

You’re awesome, God,

we just have to say.

Help us, o God,

on you we depend.

Bless our family, friends, and world,

for your love never ends. Amen.

 

Five Finger Prayer:

on each finger pause to add thoughts and ideas.

Five Finger Prayer 

Wow, God! the chocolate cake was delicious. I liked playing Snakes and Ladders.

Forgive me, God! I hit my sister.

Bless others, please. Be with grandma and grandpa and all my friends

Help me, please. I’m still mad at my sister.

Thank you, God, for my parents and my dog.

Loving God, hear my prayer. Amen.

End by opening both hands and offering everything to God, knowing that God holds everything so that you (and your children) can sleep well.

 

Daily prayer practice can be shared by the whole family. What a gift to offer your children – a spiritual practice of leaning into God to say thanks when things are good and to express all emotions and needs when things uncertain and difficult. Prayer is a spiritual practice that helps us and our children be resilient! Thanks be to God!

May 5, 2020                      ©Susan Lukey 2020

 

 

 

 

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