As the Philippines is a Christian nation, Filipinos usually learn the rudiments of divine communication from their parents. Whatever denomination the family belongs to, it is most likely that children are taught that God is Our Father and Jesus Christ is Our Lord.
Besides what children learn in school and in church, parents are still the best teachers when it comes to living a young one’s faith. They should trust themselves in doing so based on their personal experience with religiosity, and perhaps find some of the points below helpful in guiding children towards a life of prayer.
Associate pastor Burk Parsons of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Central Florida shared on thegospelcoalition.org that it is important to let children see that there is not just one appropriate posture for prayer, “but that even as evinced in Scripture, we can pray in many postures.”
He continued, “Let us be discerning as to whether we force them to close their eyes and position their heads or bodies in precisely the same way we do. Let them simply observe our devotion, however we express it in a particular situation. Let them see that they can pray while kneeling, bowing, smiling, singing, hugging, crying, with faces down, with faces up, with hands folded, holding hands, or hands outstretched—there is not one right way to pray at all times and situations. Day by day, our children will observe our posture in prayer and, by God’s guiding grace, will naturally find themselves showing reverence to the Lord in manifold postures.”
Prayer is not a programmatic rite but the natural, organic overflow of a heart that belongs to God. Let children see that prayer is like breathing as we inhale adoration and thanksgiving, we exhale confessions and supplications. “If we think of prayer as the breath of our lungs and the blood from our hearts, we think rightly. The blood flows and the breathing continues—we are not conscious of it but it is always going on,” Oswald Chambers wrote.
Pray not because of need but because we are in need for God himself. What God gives or withholds is secondary, but that He himself is our great reward, our inheritance, our life, our all.
Prayer is the soul’s greatest instinct and passion. We pray because we can’t help but pray and desire communion with our Father and that we pray not primarily so that we can tell someone we have prayed but simply because we feel like praying so that they can see that we are sincerely passionate about prayer because we are sincerely passionate about God.
Prayer is not only a means to an end but an end in itself. Communion with our Lord, just as our worship of him, is an end in itself.
Prayer should be genuine and with genuine motives. Show children that we can go directly to the Lord when are faced with problems without hesitation. Let them see that prayer is done for help, for comfort, for joy, for a tender heart, and for a child-like faith that clings to Christ as our only hope.
Prayer is a privilege. It is not only something that we do in public, in private, before eating, before bed, during our time of disciplining them, but that it is something we have the great privilege of participating in at any time because we are the children of our Heavenly Father who can always come to Him and who will never be ignored.
Communion with God is the most important and the most enjoyable engagement of the day. It is the occasion when we get tell our Father we love Him, trust Him, and need Him—just as children want to express their love, trust, and need of parents daily.
J.C. Ryle wrote, “Oh, dear friend, if you love your children, I charge you, do not let the early impression of a habit of prayer slip by. If you train your children to do anything, train them, at least, to have a habit of prayer.”