How to Teach Your Preshooler to Pray


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How to Teach Your Preschooler to Pray

SYLVIA McCRORY APRIL 2020

Today, very few parents teach their children to pray.  And most parents who teach their children to pray, use memorized prayers and blessings.  There is certainly nothing wrong with these. The concern is later children seem to outgrow this kind of prayer and even stop praying.  

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

Ways to Encourage Children to Talk to God

1. Children love to build forts and playhouses.  Use old sheets and blankets to build a fort in their room.  Lay pillows on the floor and lay prayer list in the fort (even if child cannot read, they will learn how important it is to pray for others).  Spend time in the fort with your child talking to God and praying. Share how you talk to God. Let your child hear you pray, then encourage them to pray.  

2. Go into your child’s room one-on-one.  Make this a special time. Listen to them, let them tell you everything they want to talk about.  Pray together, praising God for the blessings and asking for help with worries. Don’t let this private time get away, for they will be gone too soon.  Let your child know they can carry all their burdens to God.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

3. Lead by example.  During your time in your child’s room share a problem you are having that they could understand.  Allow them to hear you talking to God about your problems or asking for guidance. 

In, The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers, Amy Hollingworth says “Taking one’s time, especially in relationships, allows the other person to know he or she is worth the time (p.6-7).”

4.Talk about the Goodness of God. Spend time talking about all God has done for you and your family.  Talk about today’s blessings.

5. Teach silence or mediating on God.  “Fred Rogers was one of those who was very far advanced in the Lord’s service and who often employed the prayer of silence.  It wasn’t just the absence of noise he advocated, but silence that reflects on the goodness of God, the goodness of what and whom He made. Silence to think about those who have helped us.  He knew that silence leads to reflection, that reflection leads to appreciation, and that appreciation looks about for someone to thank: ‘I trust that they will thank God, for it is God who inspires and informs all that is nourishing and good,’ he once said (p.7 The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth. ).”

 In that same book (p.13) Fred Rogers wrote the following in a letter to Amy Hollingsworth: “How good that you can show your children early in their lives the importance silence has for you.  That will serve them all their days. May your heart and mind continue to be settled in God’s tender care.”

The most important point is teaching your children to pray will serve them throughout their lives, when the good times come and when those bad times seem to cloud everything.  Prayer, and having that confidence that God is always available for us, gives our children comfort and security in the trying times of their lives.  

 

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