Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Praying With Young Children

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Definitely not my family... Definitely not my family... (FreeImages.com/Anna Hunter)

I remember reading from a children’s bible every night after supper growing up. By the time I was a teenager, I had a pretty decent understanding of the major stories in the bible (whether I wanted to or not). It gave me a great foundation for my faith life.

Jane and I have tried to do the same thing with our children. But we failed spectacularly (usually around day number 2 or 3).

I’m not blaming the children (well, at least not for this). We were undisciplined. We got lazy. And this didn’t fit the routine of our lives.

Here are some things that did work for us:

  1. Fit it in. We already had a bit of a bedtime routine, so we worked it into that. Get changed, prayers, and then stories. We forgot more than once, but now it just happens naturally (most of the time).
  2. Keep it simple. The kids like songs, so we start with one, or at least with the refrain from one. “Glory to God” is their favorite. Initially, I think we just had the song and an Our Father. Done.
  3. Take little steps. As the kids grew, we slowly added a little bit more. We added on asking them to name one thing they’d like to pray for. Then we added on one thing they’re thankful for. Then a Hail Mary (Cat.Chat version) and a Glory Be got added to the end. But if we’d tried to do the whole thing initially (song, thankful, intention, prayer, prayer, and finally another prayer), we wouldn’t have lasted a week.
  4. Try. Yoda said, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Yoda’s full of it. We try all the time. Sometimes we succeed. Sometimes it takes a while for us to get there. Sometimes we fail miserably. But we tried, and we’ll try again. Next time we might choose something more realistic for us to try.
  5. Lose all hope (AKA “Meet them where they’re at”). The 2 year old is going to pray for “mama and papa and nana” every night. (Every. Single. Night.) The 4 year old is going to turn it into a story about everything she can see right now. The 7 year old is going to find something to fidget with constantly. Sigh.

So that’s us. Sometimes it works well. Sometimes it drives us crazy. But it’s worked for us (mostly).

How about your family? Have you found something that works for you? Is there a little step you could take?

Read 290 times Last modified on Thursday, February 16, 2017