It’s already February and Lent is around the corner (more on that next week!), but I’ve been thinking recently about how to interest children in prayer.
I love praying with my children each day. Picture me at the breakfast table with a coffee and half eaten muffin. Ollie is standing at his chair, wolfing down his daily 2 eggs while doing a puzzle and singing “Go go Thomas!” loudly. Addie sits across from me lost in her own imaginative world of princesses and sparkles and dropping half of her dry cereal on the rug.
I’ve just finished a short reading from Sally Lloyd Jones’ wonderful devotional Thoughts that make my heart sing. I begin praying out loud “Lord we thank you for this day…we thank you for Addie and Ollie…we thank you for Daddy and we thank you for…”
All the while I’m not sure if anyone else is listening on joining in. Ollie is flipping out about the piece that won’t fit and Addie’s still got her eyes on the lamp.
“Addie, would you like to pray?” I ask.
After 30 seconds or so, she sighs and responds with “I could pray but my mouth is too small.”
I’m sure we all have vignettes like the one above about praying with kids. Recently, my friend Alyssa Humphries shared a brilliant weekly prayer calendar of her own making that we are going to start this month to help guide our prayer times.
Each weekday in the notebook there’s a different theme to guide family prayer time. These can be adapted depending on the age and interest of your children but she included themes such as: praising God, praying for family members, and praying for the Church.
Along with each weekday theme, there’s an envelope that has little pieces of paper with more specific prayer items. For instance (see picture above) for the praising God day, there are different names of God that describe who He is.
Like with any spiritual practice, the practice of a prayer calendar doesn’t guarantee certain results in the spiritual growth or understanding of our children. Instead it’s just another tool to create space for God to work.
I’m planning on making mine this week. If you try it with your family, let us know how it goes!