Praying with your child
It is a privilege to share with children in praying both in church and at home.
But many parents find it hard to pray with their children and wish they did more, especially at home. There are so many distractions and it’s easy not to get round to doing it. But why not just take the plunge and keep things very simple, especially if your children are very young. Perhaps you are a grandparent or godparent - you may have a special role in helping your loved ones to learn how to pray.
Praying with your children, even when they are really little, creates a valuable opportunity to talk to your children as well as to God and starts a habit which, we hope and pray, will sustain and nurture your child for life.
Praying together at the end of the day
Maybe in the bath or when they are in bed perhaps thank God for one thing – it can be as simple as:
Thank you for my toys . . . . for my pets . . . . my mum . . . . . [whatever it is they suggest] Amen.
If your child is worried about something you could pray:
Thank you that you love us and that you want to help us when we are worried. Help us to trust you all the time . . . . [or you could say out loud the problem and ask God to help]. Amen
To start off with keep it simple and short. There are lots of lovely children’s prayer books and Bibles which you can buy but have confidence that simple prayers which you make up together are often the best.
Praying together as a family
A grace at mealtimes is a good start – thank God for the food, for those who are sharing the food together and remember those who don’t have enough food. You could take it in turns to pray out loud or throw a dice with names on to choose who gets to pray.
Remember the same applies – it needn’t be long or use special language.
You could help order a prayer using a teaspoon – abbreviated to ‘tsp’ thank you, sorry, please. A teaspoon could be handed round from person to person to allow each person to pray, if they want to, once they are holding the spoon.
Praying while you’re out and about
Traditionally we think of closing our eyes and putting our hands together when we pray. There’s nothing that says it has to be like that. It can help children to concentrate if they are still . . . but a prayer while out can be a great way of reminding a child (and you) that God is involved in all of our lives, all the time and wants to hear from us.
Thank God for a tasty ice cream or a fun time, in the middle of it.
Stop and wonder at a beautiful flower or what’s around you and praise God the creator . . .
’We praise and thank you God for this wonderful . . . .’
Ask God for safety while sitting in the car before starting a journey.
Writing prayers down
Your children may like to write down their prayers and draw pictures. This is one which Arthur wrote in church . . . with the help of his mum.