Life is often more manageable when we feel a direct link to God. Even little ones can benefit from feeling this connection and knowing that God is there for them. You can explain this to your children and talk to them about praying, as prayer is something that can become a comforting constant throughout their lives.
Sit down with your little one and just talk for a minute or two about anything – the topic of conversation doesn’t matter. For example, talk about what you’ll have for lunch, the weather outside, plans for the afternoon or the dog’s new chew toy. After you share in some pleasant conversation, stop it short and say, “Isn’t it nice that we can talk to each other to share our thoughts and questions? We can spend time every day chatting and sharing important — and not so important — things in our lives.” Briefly explore that it’s possible to even share thoughts even with people who are far away when you connect by telephone, letter, email or other social media.
Next, it’s time to take a giant step and tell your little one that he has a direct line to God anytime he wants to talk – all he has to do is talk to Him, or “pray.” Explain that even though it’s not possible to see and hear God directly, God is watching and guiding lives. Go on to say that praying is a way that people often seek God, trying to understand His direction. Help your little one “get” this connection by explaining to him that he can reach out to God whenever he needs or want to communicate with Him, simply by praying. Tell your child that every time he prays to God, he makes his connection with God even stronger.
You should also discuss the importance of being thankful for blessings with your youngster. Explain that blessings can mean a variety of things, from good health to plenty of food to a snazzy new puzzle toy that lights up and plays music. Talk about the source of all blessings – God. Explain that just as people say thank you to each other or send thank-you cards for gifts, people should thank God for all their blessings to demonstrate their gratitude. Tell your child that when he thanks God for his blessings, it is a “prayer” of gratitude.
Needs and Wants
Discuss with your child how everyone has needs and wants in life – and how some top our lists in importance, while others are less important. Explain that the cool thing is that God wants to hear about everyone’s needs and wants. Teach your child that she can pray to God about the things she needs and wants. For example, you might explain that if she loses her teddy bear one day and can’t find it anywhere, one of the first things she should do is kneel in prayer to ask God to help her find it. You should try to make God accessible to your little one so she understands that God is always there for her and listening to her prayers. Let her know that even though she might not always get exactly what she wants, God hears her prayers and knows what is best for her.
Praying together is often one of the most effective ways to encourage your kids to pray. Add family prayers to the daily routine, before meals, at bedtime and maybe even at Bible study time. When kids see parents praying, they’re often more motivated to mimic this powerful activity. Also keep in mind that prayer has a way of drawing a family together into a tight, unbreakable knot of love.