People perceive Prayer in different ways. Depending on your background, expectations and hang ups, Prayer really might be something you do or you let others handle. Today I want to explore a few topics in prayer and parenting. I want to tell you about my goal for my kids and I want to tell you about how we model prayer as a spiritual discipline.
I never trained to be a “public prayer-er.” I was trained specifically to grab a hold of God. My whole family gang up on us with the same goal (whether they knew it or not). I am hoping that my relatives will join me and do the same for my kids. My goal for them is not that people say “wow, listen to that kid! Let’s pick them every time to pray before we start Sunday School.” What I really want to instill is the knowledge of the Holy and the relationship of sons and daughters towards their Heavenly Father. I want them to know how to grab a hold of God wherever they are in the world.
Here’s what I mean: I know how to grab a hold of my mother. She lives in Rio de Janeiro, but I can find her any time of the day and I can talk to her. When I do talk to her, there are no formalities, other than the honorable ways I carry in my heart. The woman is my mom and we go way back to the time I was a fetus, so there’s no reason for me to address her as “Oh most excellent, honorable mother-est” I do honor her in my heart and actions as expressed through my love.
I want my kids to feel the same way about accessing the throne of God. I want them to know God enough that they can go before Him as beloved children, with boldness and confidence in who God is. That’s way more important than winning “most eloquent prayer warrior of the year” award.
The goal I have for myself as a parent is to model prayer daily. If my kids do not see me praying, they will not see it as important. I want them to catch me praying organically as well as during scheduled times.
Organically - I am one of those people who were trained to pray without ceasing. I saw it modeled by my family way before I realized this stuff was in the Bible. I heard my grandmothers pray as they were manually washing and hanging clothes. I learned quite a bit about worship too during those times but I’ll blog about that later. I heard them pray organically after they finished their food. Talking to God was a constant and I heard simple thanks for the daily issues of life. After I had kids of my own, I started using the kitchen sink as a place of prayer. Oh how God heard me and answered those simple prayers.
Scheduled - Scheduled prayers happen in the morning, at meal times, before we go to sleep and on the way to school. I believe that Scheduled prayers teach us the discipline of prayer. Once I learned that as a kid, I made progress in this spiritual discipline. I thank God for the times I saw my family practicing scheduled prayers. The one time I will never forget was when my dad had his face on the floor, supplicating God to heal my now late cousin from hemophilia. Dad set out to pray early in the morning, so when I woke up, I just had that image of him, in deep intercession before our powerful God. Actions are more powerful than words and repetition is the key to teaching children.
I don’t believe that scheduled prayers have more power than organic prayers. Prayers depend on God, not on a certain method, which is great.
When I became an adult and I was living in the States on my own, I decided to go back to attending prayer meetings. I learned a lot in those meetings as well. Let me tell you that the meetings were not weird at all. One of the groups met at 6 a.m. so I’d go there before work. It was a life changing time for me. I learned a lot from other believers and my faith was built. I no longer attend prayer meetings on a regular basis but I often think of starting one on Saturdays as we used to have when my paternal grandmother was alive.
I don’t know what your perception of prayer currently is. One thing is for sure: Jesus made a way for you to have direct access to the Father. I want to encourage you to start praying as a habit. Don’t set out to be a “prayer superstar” but aim to have a closer, more meaningful relationship with your Heavenly Father who longs to talk to you. If you are a parent, think of ways of praying organically and during scheduled times so you will teach this valuable spiritual discipline.