It was a few years ago that I read J. C. Ryle’s book, Duties of Parents. In it, J. C. Ryle admonished parents to teach their children to pray. Through my years of being a mother, I had always prayed with my children, and for my children. But I had not really made it a point to teach my young children to pray!
As my children grew older, we started having a family prayer time during our Bible time together. And with my littlest one, I began teaching her to say her prayers before she went to bed. I had her kneel beside her bed, fold her hands, and bow her head, and I did the same right next to her. She was only 2 or less when we started. We would also include her in our family prayer time, and allow her to have a turn. In the beginning, either I or one of her big sisters, would simply give her some words of thanks to the Lord to repeat, and then maybe a humble request or two. Now, she has all sorts of things that she will pray on her own, and sometimes she even sings her prayers. I always have her pray before bed in the evening, but most days, she tells me she wants to pray at nap time too.
Do we have any problems? Yes! Some nights she is grumpy and says she doesn’t know what to pray. Then I just help her with some words of thanks and ask the Lord to help her be good, and she will repeat these things after me. Sometimes then she gets over her mood and says her own prayers. And another thing–she is often wiggly, and I haven’t quite figured out how to get her past that yet (I’m sure mores stillness will come with age). If she does get up, I do have her kneel back down again though.
I am so glad that I have been able to teach her how to pray at a young age. This is practice for all of life–for our children to communicate with and praise their Creator.
What about you?
Have you taught your children, even your little ones, to pray, or will you start now?