VIEWS FROM THE CATBIRD SEAT
A Word About Prayer for Parents and Children Alike
by Alvin C. Romer
As a parent, what are you doing for prayer to remain a staple in your household? For you young folk, are you allowing God to be your Savior through prayer? These are questions that need to be answered. I’m more than a little dismayed as I observe the younger generation in their lack of discipline, especially as it pertain to spiritual value and moral turpitude. I see that there are not enough prayers being elicited from them in this period of need.
Households and communities are in disarray. They are begging for the young folk and parents alike to be accountable for anything that may be instrumental in turning the tide. I’m sure many parents feel uncomfortable when constructing prayers for children or instructing their children about prayer when they are not honoring the practice.
As parent speaking to others who may share my sentiment I wanted to impart depths of faith as we help our children discover their spiritual selves. We all have that picture-perfect image of a praying child — closed eyes, folded hands, peaceful expressions and a compliant countenance. But usually times of prayer find our children defying us be it subtly or in the most blatant of emotions! I see them fidgeting while I’ve at times shushed them, telling them to properly bow their heads. Is there a formula that defines prayer in a natural, simple manner where simple instruction is so hard to follow for our children?
I’ve given my children ample instruction and admonition that prayer means “talking to God.” This validates instituting an early relationship with Him, and for protocol to be expressed openly. I’ve always felt that as a child shares their concerns, parents can do much more to allow practice to elicit perfection in the form of writing down simple phrases to help them recall. There’s nothing better than using present situations for them to pray diligently. Who knows what God uses to determine whom to touch for Grace to perpetuate favor? By creating specific prayers, parents can address the child’s individual needs and concerns, thus teaching them the process. Prayer is stimulated by many small things that are just as important as major happenings in one’s life, be it driving along in a vehicle, expressing humility for others less fortunate, being an intercessor for the infirm, requesting mercies for healing, et al.
The homilies of music to ease and soothe the soul creates an awareness of God’s nearness, often helping children to focus on their feelings (Colossians 3:16). This is a perfect way for children to learn that prayer is a special time of thanksgiving with a Friend who is much closer than the music they would otherwise be privy to. I’ve heard many times children asking “what is the best way to pray?” I advocate the practice of praying out loud first and foremost. Why? “because God spoke His Word out loud. Do not dismiss the adage that “there is power in prayer”, especially when incorporating God’s penchant for wanting to hear what we have to say. In this regard, it’s very helpful for children to memorize Bible verses, using the call and response technique. This gives parents the opportunity to be involved in their learning process, and to see how the Holy Spirit helps their children to recall God’s truths (John 14:26). A few examples of scriptural-based prayers for children might include:
- Thanking God, for understanding and taking away sins and helping them to live right (1 Peter 2:24).
- Helping them to know Jesus’ love and to feel the power within (Ephesians 3:19).
- Trust God to always protect them in their time of need (Psalm 91:11, 14).
- Teaching them to be honest about sin so that confession is given for forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Giving them the need to go out and spread the Word and tell everyone how wonderful God is! (Psalm 150).
I think too, about what an investment it is for children to pay homage to His Glory for salvation. Prayers for children can be an investment in your children’s lives now and beyond. There’s a connection to Him, and we have used modern technology for correspondence among ourselves. Why not minimize those things that tend to shroud our vision and employ the harmful characteristic of idolizing things other than Him?
Meaningful prayer reinforces a life-long spiritual connection between the Heavenly Father, parents, and children. As responsible parents we often pray for our children’s healing or physical protection, yet often don’t insure the spiritual security we must demand of our progeny. DO pray that your children have the courage to follow Jesus, study the Bible, understand how obedience is part of the process, and to be wise to stress how talents are used to upgrade and maintain the Kingdom!
I admit not knowing how to pray. Besides that, I felt intimidated attempting to pray in groups. I learned the hard way, and that is allowing guilt and shame to corral me in to do the right thing. From birth, parents should invest in their (child)ren’s spiritual well-being. Do not discount the newborn who are being protected by God’s love as you hold them, imparting the Spirit and introducing them to Agape love (Matthew 19:14-15). Parents, no one will pray for you the way you can for your children. Young ones know that YOU are the masters and mistresses of your destiny through prayer. The method to the madness demands that by praying with your child after discipline, both parents and children experience God’s forgiveness and abundant mercy. You will not regret the quality time invested in seeking the higher power through prayer with our children individually and collectively seeking a return on invested will. (Psalm 103:17-18).
In conclusion, greater awareness should be apropos for association to be an assimilated action for continuity. Your children should see you praying regularly as if part of a daily regimen. Rare are the times when my family is not involved in morning worship, traveling mercies, and at other times during the day TOGETHER. The key is being models for our children (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
As guardian and protector of little D’Jimon Asante Romer, I pray that the Lord continues to have His hand on his shoulder, and for D’Jimon to adhere to all that is taught to him for understanding the importance of prayer. One day he will pray for me, his future family, and for others that are in need. I would have taught him this. My immediate and latent goals would always to have him emulate God’s character, so that his prayers would conversations with God with a purpose – without compromise and with much reason.
Remember that honest and unpretentious prayer is no formulated, nor a nonsensical ritual for self-adulation. It is the anticipation of God’s response to our need to repent as we speak to Him. Moreover, it represents a genuine expression of child-like devotion and faith. Prayers for children and with children give us an opportunity to pass the legacy of a child’s their commitment and faith on to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).
A Prayer for the Little Ones!
I kneel humbly in your presence submissive to your will; I dwell constantly in your spirit and receive peace when I stand still.
I abide daily in your word for there I gain wisdom; I pray fervently for the little ones, to secure their place in your kingdom.
I yearn deeply for your knowledge to discern ways pleasing to your sight; I reach out to the little ones to guide them back into the light.
I give praise to you Father; you provide all my earthly needs; I shower love onto the little ones with all my righteous deeds.
I walk faithfully towards Jesus, whose blood was shed on the cross; I share your truth to the little ones whose lives are no longer lost.
I have hope in you Father, for the good things you have orchestrated within my life; I reach out to the little ones to guide them back into the light!