Teaching your child to pray can be daunting for any parent. Many feel inadequate and not ‘prepared’ or ‘qualified’. But children learn to pray by watching and imitating their parents, brothers or sisters or Grandparents. In Church they see the congregation around them take part in active worship and learn to recognise the prayers we say in Church.
Children can easily memorise our every day prayers; Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory to be to the Father and so forth. Also by praying before and after meals it shows the importance of the prayer of thankfulness for what is and has been received.
It is important to let your child know that they can speak to Jesus as a friend. A best friend who never judges and to whom they can say absolutely anything. It can be something that happened during their day or maybe something they are scared of, or perhaps something or someone they are worried about. It is important to let them understand that Jesus is interested in everything.
Praying together helps and guided by your conversation with Jesus they begin to adopt their own way of talking to him and making this their prayer. It is good to encourage them to pray when they are by themselves. You can suggest that good times to pray with Jesus is they have been tucked up in bed at night First thing in the morning when they open their eyes they can ask Jesus to be with them as they go through their day or even when they are walking home from school if they are alone.
Sometimes in can be good to introduce a prayer you may have said for something and casually adding how you prayed that Jesus helped you to achieve all you needed to do that day. It may be that they are going for a dentist or doctor’s visit and are scared. This would be a perfect time to pray out loud for them: “Dear Jesus help Matthew to be brave tomorrow when he go to …….. even though he is scared.”
Let your child see that prayer isn’t anything to worry about or something that you have to do the right way. Praying can be natural and informal.
Jesus is waiting to hear their prayers with a heart filled with love and delight.