When thinking about a praying life, it is like thinking of the fuel needed for our engine to run or the water needed for our life to be sustained. Prayer is not an act; it is a way of life. Prayer is not a moment, but a posture of the heart. In the most simple terms, prayer is surrendering our self-sufficiency and pride in order to show our need and dependency on the Lord. It’s living with a revelation of our hidden poverty. Without living a lifestyle of reliance and humility at the soul level, we will not have the correct perspective and vision of prayer for ourselves or our children.
Prayer is not an act; it is a way of life.
As we think of prayer, so often we think it is for those who are mature in their faith, not as a crucial part of the life of a young child of God. Oh, how we are wrong! The Lord is very clear in James 5:16 that prayer is not more important or more powerful for the mature, but has great power to any with a righteous heart. As parents, we have been given such an opportunity to model and display prayer. What a gift it is to share the gospel with our children through our desperation and constant need for communication with the very One who has rescued, saved, and redeemed our souls.
WAYS TO FOSTER A PRAYING HOME
1. It starts with God at work in you! Ask the Lord to work in your own heart so you can see your need and dependency on God. Ask that He show His power and love through your constant communication and relationship with Him.
2. Model prayer for your children. One of the first and most pivotal ways children learn prayer is through hearing their parents pray. Inviting your children into those moments allows them to see what it looks like to cry out to our Father in heaven. Opening your child’s eyes to communication with God through prayer walking, creative prayer moments, and your own journey of a praying life is one of the greatest privileges we are given.
3. Teach the children how to pray. As we look through scripture, the Bible teaches us in Matthew 6:9-13 that Jesus taught his disciples what it looked like to pray. Just as Jesus taught the ones He loved, we must also teach our children to pray. Jesus did not expect His disciples to pray without teaching them how. We must be careful to do the same. Many examples in the Bible teach us that prayer is not scripted or rigid, but, in contrast, is an expression of our
4. Pray in the intentional times and in the everyday moments. Setting aside intentional time to spend with the Lord is teaching a discipline that comes with prayer. As children spend set-aside time in the Lord’s presence, they begin to talk and listen to God and learn about His heart. Outside of those intentional times, there are moments throughout our day that allow us to demonstrate that God desires for us to cast all our cares and worries onto Him. As parents, we are able to remind them in those moments of our need for God and His grace over even the smallest circumstances.
5. Speak often of patience. Prayer is not a magic trick and God is not a magician. In Psalm 40:1-3, David is showing that the Lord has heard his cries, but that God answered David’s prayers in His own way and His own timing. This can sometimes be the hardest reality of surrendering in prayer. As we live in a world packed with urgency, practicing patience with a heart that trusts seem so
6. Prayer is about being in God’s presence. God desires for us to seek his face and not just His hands. We must teach our children that prayer is a longing for His presence not just for His answers (2 Chronicles 6:19).
7. God speaks to us through His Word. Scripture says in Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” There may be nothing more powerful than praying Scripture over our hearts and seeking the Word of God with our children.
Let’s have a moment of honesty… this all sounds great and we know it to be true, but so often our flesh forgets the need we have for Christ. We have it all together until we don’t. We can do it all until we can’t anymore. We can make it happen until we find ourselves overwhelmed. What if our children saw parents who don't have it all together, who can’t do it all, who are truly desperate for a Savior? May we all beg for needy spirits. Our children need us to model our need for a Savior more than they need us to be the savior. Parents, may you feel hopeful and confident in fostering a praying home. You are so capable and significant in the Lord’s process of shaping your kids and cultivating a prayer-filled home.