I smiled at her and told her to repeat some words after me. “Dear Lord Jesus, please help me not to throw fits. Help me not to be selfish and annoy my brothers. Help me to love You with all my heart, to obey my parents, and to have self-control. In Jesus’ name, Amen”
She repeated back to me each phrase as I made up what she ought to pray for.
I did this for each of my sons when they were little. Now when I put my kids to bed, they take turns praying in the dark, and their prayers are way wiser, deeper, and more honest than mine ever were at their ages.
Back when I struggled with anger, I would stop abruptly, get on my knees, and pray in front of my children, that God would forgive me my sin and to help me not to be ruled by anger but by His Spirit. Oh, yes, it was humiliating to do that in front of my children multiple times a day for weeks on end, but guess what? My children have no shame to confess their sin in front of others, openly to God in their prayers, knowing that God can transform them through the power of the Spirit just like God transformed Mom.
Something else I love about my children’s prayers besides their honesty and confession of sin is the way they praise and glorify God. One of my sons said to God, “It must have been great when You created the universe from nothing. You are so incredibly powerful. Just everything, the sunsets, the trees, the mountains, You invented all that…” And he went on and on about how great God is while tears of joy rolled down my face in the dark.
People, you must love prayer if you ever want your kids to love it. Pray to God like you talk to a real, live human being. Because He is. And it’s so vibrant and beautiful, and God works so mightily through prayer. It’s so worth it to be in His presence!Tweet