Teach Your Children Well
Written By Rick Nau
Had a conversation after church a few Sundays ago. Along the way, the subject of prayer came up–specifically, the importance of teaching our children to pray.
It’s easy to assume that our children know the meaning of prayer. After all, the pastor and worship leader each say a prayer at the beginning of church. Before meals, grace may be said. Before sleep, another prayer may be said. But are these all the lessons needed?
As parents, we might want to ask ourselves a question first. Do we know how to pray? Before we answer, let’s remember that even the disciples had to be taught how to pray:
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
Jesus was the consummate teacher. He didn’t use the watch me approach, but gave His disciples an example of what to pray, which we now call The Lord’s Prayer.
During the Sermon On The Mount Jesus also taught us how to pray.
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:6.
Matthew’s account of Jesus in the Garden Of Gethsemane lets us hear the words Jesus spoke to His Father on the most agonizing night of his life.
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
These are models we can use to teach ourselves and our children how to pray. Our children need to know that prayer is a very personal conversation with God, that God loves them and wants them to come close and speak to him about everything that is weighing on their hearts:
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
They need to understand that prayer builds faith. When they pray in secret and see their prayers answered, they learn of the immensity of God’s love for them.
Let’s pray with our children as often as we can. Let’s pray when God blesses our families. Let’s pray when God lets hardships into our lives. Let’s pray for forgiveness whenever we’ve done wrong. Let’s encourage our children to have a continuous conversation with God–at home, at school, when they go to bed at night, when they get up in the morning, when they’re playing, when they’re happy, when they’re sad. Let’s tell them the importance of letting God into their lives, just as David did, the shepherd boy who became a great king, a man after God’s own heart.
He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ Acts 13:22