Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Praying with Your Children

When my oldest daughter was only two weeks old, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. I'll never forget that moment. Immediately I called my husband and just broke down. I didn't know what to do with this. I was a new mom, I barely knew how to handle a newborn, let alone one that would deal with illness her entire life. That night, our family and pastors came to our home. We all circled around Addi and just began to intercede.. I couldn't even get words out. I just weeped and weeped, completely overwhelmed with every emotion possible. That night I went to bed completely drained, but oddly enough had peace in my spirit.. I knew at that point God had a plan for her life and whether she would be healed from this or if she had to walk with it, it was going to glorify Him in the end. We took her in for more testing a couple days later and the pediatrician gave me some information on what I need to start looking for, what to expect, etc... I didn't even read it. I wasn't ready. A couple more days passed and I just tried to enjoy her as if nothing was wrong. One night I was preparing dinner when the doctor's office called me. The nurse informed me that the second round of tests showed absolutely no sign of cystic fibrosis. She wasn't sure what had happened, but there was no indication that anything was wrong with Addi. The doctor decided instead of doing yet another set of tests, we would wait to see if she showed any signs and then possibly test again. Well my friends... She never did. I had always known that prayer works, but I will never underestimate it's power again. My daughter was completely healed and it was all because we prayed.

Needless to say, prayer is an important part of our everyday lives and we've tried to instill that in our children since birth.. 

"Start children off on the way they should go, 
and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
-Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

Even though our boys can't talk, they pray with us and since the girls can talk- they do a lot of the praying. I had a friend ask me the other week what our prayer time looks like... It was a blessing for me to be able to share that with her and gave me the desire to share it with anyone out there who may have the desire to pray with their children, but really haven't started... 

In everything my husband and I do, we try to take it back to the Word. So as far as praying with our children, we can model it after "The Lord's Prayer" in Matthew 6:9-13. 

  • Recognize & Honor God (v9). Starting your prayer out with something like, "Dear Heavenly Father," may seem simple, but it's really important. By praying to God, you're acknowledging Him as the Alpha and Omega... The One who holds the world in His hands and that He has the power to answer your prayers. With your children, this is a great teaching moment. Tell them why we pray to Him- who He is. Make it personal so they understand who they're talking to.
  • Honoring His Will (v10). Jesus asked that God's will be done. We should do the same. It doesn't have to be those exact words and be the same everyday, but just ask Him to be with us at work or school, or even at home raising our children. That whatever He has called us to do and be, that we can do it joyfully and with excellence. It's unreal the amount of peace you obtain when you're doing what He has called you to do... Share that with your children. As parents, your best example is what His Word says in Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Tell them that by obeying you, they are honoring God. 
  • Asking For Our Needs (v11). Whether we realize it or not, God is just waiting for us to talk to Him. Just like we as parents love blessing our children, we sometimes are just waiting for them to ask rather than just expecting. If they lived everyday acting as though we never existed, even if we did bless them, chances are, they wouldn't notice. Notice Him. We make it a habit to thank Him for all the blessings we DO have before asking for anything else... Because when it comes down to it, we are blessed no matter what we do or don't have:
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, 
because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
-Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
  • Forgiveness (v12). 1 John 1:9 is pretty clear.. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Talk with your kids about what it means to sin. It's important for them to understand that there are consequences for their choices. It is also important for them to understand God's love and grace. 
  • Forgiving Others (v12). In a house with four little ones, the phrase "I'm sorry" is used about every half an hour. It's great if they are quick to apologize, but its also just as important for them to forgive one another. 
"Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, 
so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow... 
Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. 
And what I have forgiven- if there was anything to forgive-
I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake."
-2 Corinthians 2:7 & 10 (NIV)
  • Protection (v13). We make it a point every morning and night to ask God to guard our minds, our bodies and our spirit. That our home be a place of peace and even if we leave it, that nothing would come against us. 
"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God
in whom I trust.'"
-Psalm 91:1-2

This may seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Simply talk to God. Your children will learn how to pray more from you doing it with them than they will by you or a Sunday school teacher telling them how to. 

Other areas to pray about and/or teach your children:
  • Full Armor of God (our children "put it on" daily) Ephesians 6:10-18
  • Fruits of the Spirit (what we should be full of as believers) Galatians 5:22-23
  • Prayer Psalm 145:18, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Sins 1 John 2:12, Romans 5:8, Proverbs 28:13
  • Protection Psalm 138:7; 46:1, Isaiah 41:10, 2 Samuel 22:3-4, 2 Thessalonians 3:3
  • Obedience Proverbs 1:8
  • Fighting Romans 12:17, Philippians 2:14
  • Lying Proverbs 12:22, Colossians 3:9
  • Complaining Philippians 2:14, James 5:9