They just don’t stop moving!
Whether in the pew at Church or at home for night prayers, the kids just would not sit still and pay attention. I couldn’t help but wonder if they ever would.
All I wanted was for them to listen and be reverent as they learned to pray, but it wasn’t happening. In Church, I would look over at the other families with young children who were magically sitting contentedly in the pew, and wondered what I was doing wrong.
At home, we were constantly reminding the kids to “sit, put your hands together, and pray.” Patience was running thin, and guilt would follow every harsh word that slipped out in between the words of prayer.
Growing up, I remembered that the little ones would move around a bit, but the full weight of responsibility for the caring of their souls wasn’t on my shoulders. How was I supposed to teach these rambunctious little ones the value of prayer and of having a relationship with our Lord?
I would ponder this question while praying for God to help me with this responsibility. The answer was much more simple than I would allow myself to believe.
Let us remember that prayer is a relationship with God. How do our children learn to interact and have relationships with other human beings? …By watching you and learning from how you interact with and speak to others.
The same is true with prayer.
Growing up, the Faith was modeled for us each and every day.
It was a normal part of our lives. I saw my mom make time for quiet prayer time, and then heard her pleas for God to have mercy on her when she was dealing with a difficult child. We went to Church as a family, and memorized prayers and scripture. Christian music was played during clean-up, which further infused our minds with praise to God.
Somewhere along the way, we learned the value of prayer and what it looked like to have a relationship with God. As in any relationship, it’s still a daily work in progress, but it’s still an important part of each of our lives.
You may not have had the same model in your own life, but that does not mean that you cannot model a relationship with Christ in your own life to your children.
Teach by example and through encouragement.
Make prayer a daily part of YOUR day. Teach the prayers that you know and invite your children to pray with you or sit with you while looking at a religious book or children’s bible while you pray. Put on Christian music, and let your children hear those words of praise. Don’t be afraid to speak about God to your children and of His goodness. The more that they see of your relationship with our Lord, the better they will be able to form a relationship with Him themselves.
It’s so easy to wonder if it’s enough, and if they will ever truly have a relationship with God or a deep prayer life.
Know this – God cares infinitely more times about their souls than you will ever possibly be able to. Trust Him, with watering the seeds you are planting, with His grace.
I know that we all wish there was some secret or magic formula to get our children to behave. It’s a tendency in us humans, isn’t it? We want to see the immediate results and worry when things take their time.
The secret is there for everyone to know…
It’s the lesson of disciplining our own lives in developing a relationship with our Lord, and in trusting God with our efforts in teaching our children to do the same.
If you are still struggling with developing the habits needed to model this relationship in your own life, then I invite you to check out Fuel Your Faith Foundation for step by step guidance on living life putting God first in our God-adverse world