Encouraging our children in their faith
- What kind of adults do we want our children to become?
- How do we help shape our children’s values and beliefs?
- How do we help them be a positive influence in their community?
Research highlights four keys that can help positively shape our children’s faith, values and character.
Prayer is a part of each of them.
Caring Conversation – Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer grows out of what we hear from God and about God and what we share in caring conversation with one another in our families.
Devotions – Special times dedicated to making God part of your family’s conversation and ritual.
Rituals and Traditions – Prayer can be an important family practice.
Service – One of the most important ways we can serve others is to pray for them.
It is good to pray – to talk to and listen to God – with our children every day.
We can pray anywhere – In the bedroom or in the bath, at a study table or kitchen bench, in the car or at school or work, on our own or in a crowd.
It may also help our children learn to pray if we have a special place to be quiet and pray. You could choose a rocking chair or a beanbag in a corner of their room or a bench in the garden.
We can pray anytime – when we get up in the morning or when we can’t sleep at night, when we are happy or when we are miserable, when we need help or when we are celebrating.
It is also a good idea to have some special times for regular prayer, perhaps before bed, before leaving home, at mealtimes.
We can pray about anything – If it’s on our minds, our loving heavenly Father wants us to share with Him.
We can pray in a whole range of different ways – The Bible speaks of prayer in words, in song, in actions and in sighs too deep for words. We can help our children use all of these.
We can pray many different kinds of prayer – We can model and help our children to pray spontaneous prayers, like ‘Wow, God, that rainbow is awesome!’ or ‘Help me, God, I can’t do this myself’. We can help our children use prayers written by someone else, prayers like the Lord’s Prayer from the Bible, or a thank you prayer from a prayer book.
Here are some ideas for praying with your child:
- Start with short, simple prayers
- Use the child’s language and their experiences
- Look for and talk about answers to your prayers
- Have a prayer album or prayer wall with pictures of people you pray for regularly
- Pray about people and situations in the news
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude; thank God for all the good things God does for you.
Cool ideas for five-finger prayers
Use five fingers to remind you of five kinds of prayer.
Praise – tell God how great He is
Thanks – thank God for what He does
Confession – tell God about things that you are sorry about
Petition – ask God to help you
Intercession – ask God to help other people
Use five fingers to remind you of who to pray for.
Little finger: weak, poor, sick and helpless people
Ring finger (with a special link to your heart): your family and other people you Jove
Middle finger (the tallest): leaders of your community, nation and the world
Pointer finger: people who point the way for you, e.g. teachers
Thumb (that bends back toward you): yourself
Here are some more ideas from our GIFT Prayer resource that you could try too: