Should you really teach your child to pray? Well, check out the difference between a praying child and a child who does not pray and you will get the answer. Yes, teach your child two things and you have taught them well, to love the Lord with all of their heart and to have compassion for others. Teaching kids to pray helps them to lay down their worries, seek wisdom and have faith in the Almighty.It is the best gift you can give to your child. It is essential to face the challenges of the always uncertain and sometimes negative world.
I remember an incident when my daughter was four years old. It was a rainy day and there was a power cut for some time at night. My daughter firmly announced, “Don’t be scared Mommy, God is with us even in the dark” and she started singing a Church hymn that said ‘Let your light shine upon us, O Lord, may we never fear the dark when you are by our side’. I was surprised to see that a simple family routine of saying the prayers before meals, before going to bed had given my child the confidence that might have been difficult otherwise.
I am happy that my child has found her most loyal friend and companion ‘God’.Tips for teaching kids to pray-
It’s never too early to start
Children, especially toddlers and preschoolers love to follow their parents in whatever they do. If prayer is a regular part of your life, it will be a regular part of their life too. You can start by saying prayers before every meal, before bed, and thanking God for every new day. Once children learn to communicate verbally, they can learn to pray on their own.
Introduce ‘God’ as your child’s best buddy
Yes.Best buddy he is. He is our best friend, our father, and guide. Teach children to talk to God as they would to their best buddies. Let children know that they can share their secrets, happy moments, sad moments with God and seek his help. Encourage them to say ‘Good morning/night God’, ‘I love you God Daddy’ to get started. This can help not just children but also adults to feel more peaceful and happy.
Use words that are age appropriate
Teach your child to pray using words that are age appropriate. Simple prayers like’I thank you Lord for this beautiful day’, ‘Lord I feel scared, be with me’ can help. I remember my daughter saying ‘Lord thank you for this lovely food, especially because it is my favourite.’ Well, that’s completely alright.
Support your child in prayer
Let your child know that we can take everything to God. No request is too small or too big. Prayers are deeply personal, and a child’s worries and wishes change according to age. So, encourage children to talk to God about whatever is on their mind even a bike ride, a new toy or a trip to the park.
Don’t fix limits
Tell your child that there is no prescribed length or time of prayer. A prayer that comes from the heart, whether short or long is what matters. The more natural it is, the better. They will understand the stages and depth of prayer when they are of the right age.
Read children’s books about prayer
For example, a children’s Bible or any holy book pertaining to your religion or children’s prayer book can be used to teach children. There are many books that have simple morning prayers, prayers at bedtime or before studies
Teach them the right body language
While teaching kids to pray, simple gestures like joining hands, head bowed, closing the eyes or kneeling down, taking the name of God with reverence should be taught. Thus they will learn to respect God.
It is not difficult to teach your child to pray, especially when you do it yourself. So set the right example, the right prayer routine and you are good to go.
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Originally published at mommysmagazine.com