Teaching your child to pray

by Mark Smith, Family Evangelism & Discipleship

Monday, October 9, 2017

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  — Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Prayer is one of the greatest gifts we have as believers. Anyone who has put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ has the wonderful privilege of entering into God’s throne room as His welcomed guest.

As we approach the throne of grace, we should come with boldness, reverence, humility and confidence. We have full access to our Lord and Savior who understands our every need, hurt and want. For His children, the throne of grace is where His mercy and love reigns and how we find rest.

As an added bonus, moms, dads and grandparents not only have the privilege of prayer, but they also have the tremendous joy of modeling and teaching their children and grandchildren how to pray. There are many different ways to teach a child to pray. The age of the child and whether they have put their faith and trust in Christ will determine how you approach this opportunity.

Following are several things to consider in modeling prayer before your children and grandchildren at different ages.

Early years

During the early years of a child’s life or before they have given their lives to Christ, there is no greater way to teach your child about prayer than to regularly model it in front of them. When you get the opportunity, tell your child about God and explain that talking to Him is the way you get to know Him and show your love for Him. When you pray at mealtime and bedtime, use words they understand. Let them hear you calling Him by name, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness and praying for the lost. It’s also important to let them hear you praying for the needs of others as well as your own. Your child needs to see that your relationship with the Lord is real and personal.

Middle years

As your child grows older, hopefully they will make a decision to put their faith and trust in Christ early in life. When they do, you will be ready to build on the foundation you have established, and now your prayer focus can be more strategic. Invite your child to join you in your regular prayer. Be transparent with your child, and allow the Holy Spirit to use you to teach your child about prayer by praying together. With your new prayer partner, you will be able to teach them what it means to come into God’s throne room with confidence.

Later years

After your child has watched and partnered with you in prayer, send them out to model and teach others to pray. Continue partnering with your child, but encourage them to seek opportunities to teach others about the great gift and importance of prayer. Help them start prayer groups at church and school with other believers. Challenge them to be bold in their prayers, confidently asking God to use them to be salt and light in their communities.

Prayer is one of our greatest resources as believers. Isn’t it time we start changing our families, churches and neighborhoods by first beginning on our knees?

Editor’s note: Mark Smith serves as senior consultant for Family Evangelism and Discipleship at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.