Most of us have witnessed this scene before: a prayer request is mentioned, heads bow, and prayer begins. What comes next sounds nothing like the person you know. In reality, sometimes our prayers just don’t sound like us when it comes to praying aloud, in front of others, and especially in front of our children. Who each of us is as a person doesn’t always come across as genuine to whom God made us to be.
So, what are some practical tips to bridge the uncomfortableness and just be yourself in prayer?
- Slow down and be okay with silence (Ps. 46:10). Slowing your pace and allowing for quiet moments helps to move our thoughts away from the daily demands and focus on being in the presence of the Lord.
- Use normal language. Your kids will be the first to call you out on this one. Model for them that prayer is conversation with God.
- Use your normal voice. See #2.
- Keep it short and simple. Even though the comprehension level will differ, the attention span of a toddler and teenager are roughly the same J. Pay attention to the attention limitations of your children at various ages and slowly build their praying stamina.
- Let your children see YOU praying (1 Thess. 5:17-18). You are your children’s primary discipler. As they watch you pray about all things and in every circumstance, they will learn that prayer is a natural part of life.
- Expose your children to other adults praying. Whether this is in Sunday morning worship or at a weekly prayer fellowship, children need to see and hear other adults praying. Depending on the setting, include your child as a participant and not just a listener.
Prayer is naturally one of the most spiritual things we can do as believers, so we don’t need to add anything extra to over-spiritualize it, make it a burden, or complicate it for our children. We can simply come as joyful sons and daughters with reverent awe that we have been rescued by a God who loves us and hears us.
Every Wednesday night at 6:30, we have a one-hour prayer fellowship time for our entire church family and those in our community. During this time, we have a team of caring adults who will pray with your children and teach them how to pray for others. Start the New Year off with a renewed commitment of bringing the entire family to prayer fellowship at least once a month, if not more. It’s a great time of fellowship, a midweek recharging of the soul, and a place to just be yourself. This could be the thing which helps your prayer life the most.