Praying With Your Children

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 So. . . if you’re only here for the deals (I understand!) scoot on past this post to the next penny-pinched deal . . . I promise not to be offended. ;)

There are so many things that I’ve messed up as a parent. I holler at my kids too much, tell them I’m too busy way too often, and have even been known to feed them ice cream for supper, without a single fruit or veggie in sight, one too many times. In fact, most days as I reflect on my job as a mom, I question whether or not I’m getting even a tiny ounce of it right.

 

But when my kiddos were just babies, I started praying with them out loud each night. Not long, elaborate, high-church prayers, but rather sit-down, bring-God-over-to-the-bedside-and-let’s-have-a-talk-kind-of-chatty prayers. Even now, when tucking them into bed each night, I thank Him for my crazy amazing kiddos – that He made them strong today, or especially courageous, or even just plain old cute. (I’ve got one right now who’s so stinkin’ cute you can hardly stand it . . . not a good thing for this pushover momma!)

If it’s a particularly rough day in our home (which happens way more often than I’d care to admit . . .), I just go on ahead and let Him know, right out loud in front of them that they’ve pushed me just a wee bit over the edge, and that mom has maybe lost it a time or two that day. I pray for their future, that God will surround them in all they do, and every single night (especially with the one that seems to struggle the most . . . ), I pray that they will know God’s love each day of their lives.

Now this might not seem like anything special, and it’s definitely nothing fancy. But what it’s done for my kids (and for me), is made it completely comfortable to pray when something bigger is going on. A few weeks ago one of my children was going to a home of someone that I didn’t know very well. While driving them to their friend’s house, we said a quick prayer for God’s protection, guidance, and wisdom for my child in any situation. It wasn’t a big surprise to them, because it’s just what we do, and they knew that their crazy momma was going to remind God again how to care for them (as if I needed to tell Him!)

Here’s the thing: my kids are getting older. They go to regular schools, walk down our regular street, and have regular friends. And as much as I’d like to (heaven knows I’d like to!), I can’t protect them all the time these days. . . gosh, that hurts to even type! So, instead, my trust must go to the One who loves them best. (Can I just tell you how crazy bad that hurts? If you’re a mom, you already know!) But my kids know all about Him, because they’ve talked to Him a time or two themselves. And no matter where they go on in this ole’ world, they’ll know that they have a momma who’s still at the bedside praying for them each night . . . even if it’s right after she feeds them ice cream for dinner.

“Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Are you in the habit of praying with your children, and do you have any tips on getting started? I’d love to hear them!

 

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Comments

  1. Crystal says:

    My husband and I pray with our children everynight at bed time. Now we each have a turn saying our prayers. It is such a blessing to hear our babies pray for things, sometimes it makes us laugh and sometimes it makes us cry, but it so special. We started praying with the kids about a year and a half ago, it isn’t only for the kids, but for us too. Sometimes when my husband and I have had a rough day, we come together for family prayer and it seems to bring peace to our home.

  2. Mary says:

    Beautiful! Tears in my eyes as I read! I pray with my 2.5 year old and 15 month old each night. For me, this is the simplest way to introduce them to our Father. It’s all about the relationship. If they know they can talk to Him, then they know they can take their cares and hurts to Him. Bless you!

    • Laurie says:

      It brought tears to my eyes as I wrote it – because I so hate giving up my control of them (gosh…I just hate it!) I know that they’ve got to grow up (my oldest is 11, it’s amazing how fast he’s grown), and they are just such blessings that I want to protect their entire being. Giving up control might be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Hold tight to those babies, Mary!

  3. Liz says:

    Laurie, I love this post. Thank you for being so open and honest. It is a beautiful thing to pray with our children. Thank you for reminding me of what a gift it is. I pray with the kids every night but sometimes the desire to put them to bed quickly, outweighs the desire to just sit there and talk with God with them, so the prayers become quick and not real personal. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to take that time.

    • Laurie says:

      I definitely struggle with trying to speed the process along too Liz! But, I do try to take just a few minutes to be thankful for my (wildly-busy!) little blessings. So hard to slow down some days!

  4. Molly says:

    What a wonderful post. We are a christian family that prays at meals and attends church, etc. but we do not pray with our children each night. We mention it and remind them to, but we don’t openly pray out loud. Thanks for reminding me that I am falling short. We will begin a new ritual tonight. I appreciate the push..

    • Laurie says:

      You are not falling short Molly! I think I started it because I didn’t do it growing up at home, but had several sweet friends who’s parents did, and they would even pray sometimes with me. I remember then feeling a little uncomfortable, and I didn’t want my kids to ever feel awkward. . . so we just started praying! Now it’s become such a great way to end the day. I’m sure your children will love those minutes with you!

      • Claire says:

        Fantastic article! Your reply touches close to home with me – I was raised atheist. I am a believer, God has shown himself to me and has shown me he has ALWAYS been there. It is intimidating for me to go to church, but I feel the same and do not want my son to ever feel uncmfortable or awkward or get made fun of for knowing nothing about the Bible. I am slowly but surely strengthening my relationship with God and overcoming my fears and discomfort, I started by reading the Bible with my son and praying before bed and before we eat.
        He tells me “God bless you Mama” every night after I turn out the lights :)

        Thank you for the article, and especially for this reply. It’s a nice feeling to know I am not alone :)

        • Laurie says:

          You are definitely not alone Claire! I love that you’re reading with your son and praying with him daily ~ and know that will bless both him and you. I’m amazed at how quickly I’ve learned to become comfortable with praying with my own children (I’m not that way in front of other adults), and I how freeing it is to just lay it all out there, before Him to deal with.

          Thanks so much for sharing ~your story inspires me and I love that your sweet son cares so much for you! Blessings :)

  5. odika says:

    I believe this is your best “Deal Post” ever. Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle n bustle and what deal to be had next that we let important things such as this slip through the cracks. My husband and I pray w our kids nightly and if we try to get out the rm door to quickly bc of a rough day, my 5 yr old will remind me that hey we didn’t pray. I commend you for the post. In todays world we definitely need the hand of God on our children. Because of our prayers at night, my children have learned to pray for healing, blessings and more importantly for others. There is power in their prayers at a young age.
    Thanks

  6. Holly Green says:

    We pray every morning on the way to school. We pray for them to have a good day, for the teachers and students at WMES to be calm, and if there is a test that day for confidence on the test. Lately we have been praying for one of their teachers who has been sick. I say being a Mom has made me a better Christian because I turn to God more now in prayer than ever before.

    • Laurie says:

      Love that Holly! We say the quickest prayer ever some mornings (not faithfully), and I try to remember to pray for them as they head out on the bus. Goodness – handing your kids over to someone else’s control definitely makes us need to turn to Him for prayer!

  7. Kanisha says:

    Thank you so much for this! I agree with the previous commenter that this is your best “DEAL POST” ever! With my hectic schedule, bedtime prayer is the one thing I try to make time for with my kids. Surprisingly they are now the ones that remind me when they are headed to bed that “it’s time to pray”. It’s refreshing to know someone else experiences the same chaos, understands and feels the same way! :~)

    • Laurie says:

      Yup – we definitely experience some chaos around here Kanisha! I’ve been known to holler at my kids as we get in the car, then make them all close their eyes and start off fresh with a quick prayer that we can start things over. Wonder if God uses our chaos to bring us closer to Him? :)

  8. Jessica says:

    My favorite post of yours to date! I had a tear roll down my check as I read it. So true! I have 3 boys…4, 2, and 9 months. Almost every night, my oldest will pray for candy and presents! Lol. I also remind him to pray for more important things like our health, clothes on our back, our warm beds to sleep in and so forth but it still warms my heart and reminds me of what exactly is imprtant to from a child’s perspective. As parents, we often have regrets but I can promise you, we will never say I spent too much time teaching them about Him.

  9. vicky says:

    Your my new hero.To come forward and be able to talk about our Lord God and not hide him away(Thats wrong in America Today).I have 4-year old twin girls,That were given too me as a late gift in life.Being my only children at 46 yrs old has been a great challage.But they are also the greatest gift GOD has ever given me.I have caught myself hollering at them way too often,But every nite of my life ,When we lay down too sleep.I ask my little girls to forgive me and tell them I love them enough to make them mind their Mom and Dad,And when they get big they will understand.One was sick the other day and she looks up at me and says: Mommy you hope Jesus helps me fell better?So I know that I am truely trying too be the best mom I can and that is too teach my children about JESUS,And he will always help her feel better!

  10. anon says:

    Please continue this more often. The student that was killed near Columbia H.S. today was my math student. I just saw him. I needed this reminder not only for my children but for my students. Please pray for his family. Please teach your children to be safe on their bicycles. He was going home, one mile away. He was a happy go lucky typical energetic teenage boy. God bless you all.

    • Laurie says:

      I just saw the news about the student that wash in the accident . . . how horrible! Praying for his family and for Columbia (and you!), I truly can’t even begin to imagine.

  11. Rachel says:

    Thanks so much for the post, Laurie. My husband and I do not have any children yet…but plans to start a family soon. :) I look forward to teaching them about the real purpose in life…having a relationship with our God and living their lives for Him. So encouraging to hear from moms and dream about being a mom someday and forming these praying habits someday with our future children. :)

  12. Kris says:

    Yes, this is a great reminder. I have found the best way for prayer to be natural with my kids is by prompting them to pray “in the moment”– whenever they see or experience something that stirs them, breaks their heart, or upsets them. I am learning to seize the opportunity to let the kingdom break into our lives. Right then, we stop and pray. It started one day when we were driving home through downtown and a homeless man asked us for money (a typical occurrence in our neighborhood). I told him I wouldn’t give him cash, but I would be happy to help him get whatever he needed. He refused my offer and angrily walked away. My 4 yr old daughter was upset that we didn’t help him, so I explained that I wanted to help but I act from a principle that helps me care for the poor in a way that protects them from temptation. She understood the dilemma, and her heart was so full of compassion she nearly cried. She said, “We should pray for him.” I said, “Yes, let’s pray for him tonight when we pray for our other friends in need.” Then I thought, why not right now? So she prayed aloud in the van right then, while her heart was still moved and the moment was still very near. Her words were wise, spirit-filled, and right in line with God’s heart. Since then we rarely see a person in need that she doesn’t notice and respond to with compassionate prayers and action.

  13. Jennifer Wilkerson says:

    Thank you for this post! So refreshing! We pray with our kids every night. I feel like it has given them something stable in this crazy/busy world!

    • Laurie says:

      I love that you also pray with them Jennifer ~ it really is a wonderful time for us to slow down and focus on what matters. Thanks for sharing Jennifer! :)

  14. Naomi says:

    Best post I have read in a long time. I’m the same, we always remember the things we didnt do well. But what I’m most proud of as a parent of teens (teens, so fast!!!) is that each of my kids thinks Jesus is their BFF. I talk to God numerous times thru-out the day and they witnessed it all. When I hear my 18 year say, I’m just gonna pray over it and leave it to God, I know in my heart I did the only thing that really mattered……..I gave them a lifetime of God. Thanks for your posts!!!!

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you so much for sharing Naomi ~ I know these years are fleeting by so quickly, but I love hearing that yours have learned so much! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  15. Rita Marullo says:

    I wish the children that I see in my charity had a mom just like you. The area our charity goes in to has been described as a chaotic spot. Children run around not knowing where their parents are and hungry. Teens do not have guidance and fall in the same drug and alcohol trap as the parents, These kids wish they had a parent that talked to them or even cared to yell at them. You are way to hard on your self. You are amazing!

  16. Sonja Kremer says:

    Thank you for that beautiful post! I do pray with my kiddos not as often as I would like to but we do manage to get our bedtime prayer in! It so important to teach young ones about Gods love and I often forget that so again Thank you!

  17. taylor says:

    Matthew 18:20 NIV, “Where two or three come in my name, I am there with them.”

  18. buffy blease says:

    I just wanted to thank you for your Awesome Post that are real. We have three boys. One is 22, 16, and our newest addition is 6 months. We would pray together as a family every now and then, and at supper time, but not on a nightly basis. After reading this post, I am so grateful that GOD has allowed us the opprotunity to do things over. We will be praying daily with our six month old.

    • Laurie says:

      How precious Buffy ~ you just made my week! Blessings to you as you start, it really has meant so much for me with my kids and I’m just so thankful that we started it years ago. Enjoy that precious little one!

  19. Elizabeth Edwards says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It's an excellent reminder and for me personally I love that you spoke about "Not long, elaborate, high-church prayers, but rather sit-down, bring-God-over-to-the-bedside-and-let’s-have-a-talk-kind-of-chatty prayers." I want my children to come to God as they are. My 13 year old often says "I don't know what to say." So, this gives me permission to hold her hand and literally come to Him in the most simple form. Thank you. For this mother you have answered and unanswered prayer.

  20. Yes I thank you for posting this too! Its been a recent struggle for me to keep God in my daily thoughts. I have made a habit of praying with my 2 1/2 year old after our story before bed and I feel so guilty when I do not! Lately I have started to just Thank Jesus out loud while we are driving or at the store, for just little things. He was whining about the sun in his eyes so we said thank you Jesus for giving us the sun for warmth and light :-) .

  21. Mandi Fay says:

    Beautifully written . Thank you

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