Show Your Children the Power of Prayer
by Charlie Matz
Prayer is important. That might be the greatest understatement known to humanity. When we look back at our lives 100 years from now, in the presence of God, I think we’ll agree. Through Jesus Christ, we have access to God’s throne of grace. Our perfect high priest intercedes to God the Father for us, on our behalf anytime we come to Him. Not only does He intercede, but He understands our plight (Hebrews 4:14-16). We are the most fortunate souls to have this unending and ever-powerful access.
We also live in the most incredible age to be a Christian, with access to so much information, resources, people, connections, and so on. But the throne of grace is still more important. Still more useful. But my guess is that most of you reading this wish your prayer life was better. The most unfortunate irony of our time, Christian! Let’s work together to change that. Let’s set the tone in our home for prayer.
Perhaps you're like me and it helps to have “something at stake” or something to fight for. Well, if you’re also like me in that you have children, there’s a lot at stake.
I pray for many things for my children. First I pray that they repent and follow Jesus, turning from their sin and turning toward Christ, putting their full faith in His work, giving up their life and letting Him “call the shots” for eternity. Second, I pray that once they are saved they will be disciplined to grow, especially through prayer. Because behind every extraordinary man or woman who lived a life worthy of hearing an exuberant and loud “well done”, was a rigorous prayer life.
The number one way that you and I can show our children the power of prayer is by first experiencing the power of prayer. So before continuing, let’s all “check ourselves”, pausing to pray about our own prayer life. Let’s resolve to be so diligent in prayer that we can confidently say “imitate me” to our children.
Start with the Right Motive
Even with good intentions, we can be “off” from the start. We might be tempted to showcase our “trophy family” who does all the right things. Or we might be tempted to think wrongly about salvation, thinking that if our family “prays well”, we’ll earn God’s favor. Whatever we’re tempted to think or feel, let’s start with a few simple “gut checks” to make sure we’re starting our family prayer journey on the right track.
We want to glorify God
Right from the start, it’s important for our children to know that praying is about God. Just like Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name” in Matthew 6:9, we need our entire prayer life to start with reverence for God and an understanding that we’re completely reliant on God. We also need to prepare young hearts to know that He gets the glory for answered prayer. This is about God. Everything is about God.
We want God’s will to be done, now our own
Expectations are important to set with young hearts and minds. Yes, we should teach our children that God is capable of answering the largest and most difficult of prayers, but it doesn’t mean that He will. In scripture we see Him creating everything, parting the sea, raising the dead, etc. God is capable of anything but that doesn’t mean He will necessarily answer prayers the way we think He will. Again, in the Lord’s prayer, this time in verse 10, Jesus says “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s important to align our thoughts and desires with God’s thoughts and desires.
The more our children learn the word of God, the more they will be able to understand what God desires. Throughout the pages of scripture, God makes it clear what He loves, hates, affirms, and destroys. The more we get to know God through His scriptures, the more we can align our prayers with His will and the picture of His kingdom.
Choose People You Know to Pray For
Kids get bored easy. But kids also get excited about people they know, people they can picture, people they can actually talk to and share with. We want to develop a pattern of prayer in our children while they learn the power of prayer. I suggest choosing people you know to pray for.
Make it Personal
There’s nothing that helps you love someone more than praying for them. Your children will begin to see this take shape as they pray for people they know. They will pray for them, then interact with them, then most likely see God answer prayers for them! That’s transforming. That’s a practical “experiment” that kids can get excited about!
Create a Habit of Encouragement
When you pray for someone you know, you can specifically encourage them throughout the process. A few ways you might be able to do that are:
- Send them notes about how you’re praying for them
- Send them text messages to see what they might need prayer for
- Call them on the phone, so that the kids can actually tell them how they are praying (this will really encourage the recipient)
When you choose to pray for people you know with your children, you create an environment for fun and engagement, which is key when you’re learning something new and developing new habits.
Keep Track of Progress
One of the most rewarding parts of prayer is praising God for the results. There’s something indescribably powerful about looking back at a prayer list and witnessing how God answered prayer. There’s really nothing like it. I hate to say it like this, but there’s almost something “‘spiritually addictive” about it. If we want out kids to really catch the power of prayer, write your prayers down and go back to check them often as a family.
If all of this sounds like a plan and you’re ready to show your children the power of prayer, we have the perfect resource for you! We created the Prayer Calendar.
We designed it to follow the patterns we’ve written about above. Visit this page to learn more and to order one for your family today!