As parents our mandate to “train up a child…” (Proverbs 22:6) should go further than taking them to church. Our children need to be well trained in all areas of the life of a Christian. This means in Bible Study, evangelism, and benevolence. Sometimes there is one area that is overlooked. That is, the area of prayer.
Have you ever had a one-sided conversation? Maybe you have texted or e-mailed a person and had no response returned. It is very possible you called out to your children and received no answer. Do you recall how frustrating it was to have no return correspondence? Imagine the way God feels when we study and study, but do not talk to Him in return. He wants for us to talk to Him. This is an area in which we must train our children.
Recently our family decided we needed to go beyond mealtime prayers and bedtime prayers. We had previously taught them a rote prayer as toddlers and through the school age years we saw the need for something more. This idea is something I found and we adapted it to our needs. Feel free to do the same for your family. We call it “BAP Time” (Bible and Prayer Time).
Choose a time of day, say after breakfast or lunch, and set aside that time as your BAP time (or whatever name you choose for it). In our house, each child gets settled in a quiet place with these materials: four craft sticks (more on these in a bit), one Bible, one pen/pencil and a notebook. They are to spend time in prayer, then read in the Bible. If they have any questions, they are to write them in their notebook to discuss with Mom or Dad later. This keeps it quiet so that Mom can read/pray as well.
There are two jars of craft sticks and each child chooses two sticks from each jar. One jar is for supplication (needs) and the other for thanksgiving. On one side of each stick is written the type of prayer and on the other side is the item for which to pray. For example: one stick may say “thanksgiving, prayer.” This tells the child they should pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the avenue of prayer. Another stick may read “supplication, the sick.”
You can decide how specific to make each stick. Our plan is to add a jar with sticks of prayer requests for specific people. This should by no means be all they pray about. This is simply a way to get beyond what they include in bedtime and mealtime prayers and is meant to be a beginning of their prayer time with God.
Whatever methods you employ, be diligent in training your children to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
by Dawn Pasley
Dawn Pasley has been married to the man of her dreams for nearly 20 years. She and her husband, James, live in Ferriday, LA where he is the preacher. She is a stay at home mom to five children, Xander (11), Abigail (7), Julia (2) and the newest arrivals, Keturah and Kezia, arrived in June. Dawn teaches the 5th and 6th graders in their congregation as well as her children at home.