Dads are to pray for and with the kids, and teach them to pray. One dad spoke of how his prayer life increased dramatically when he learned his bride was pregnant with their first child. One evening, as he listened for a heartbeat, he saw a foot contort the expectant mommy’s tummy. The miracle in process overwhelmed him. Prayers for health and well-being of mom and baby took on a new fervor and he began to include prayers for himself to become the husband and father his new family would need!
Some of the most powerful affirmations Faithful Fathering has received over the years is appreciation for teaching and challenging dads to pray. Stories of wayward children returning or a father-child relationship under stress being reconciled provide validation that God listens to and answers prayer. Click HERE for a dad’s prayer guide.
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” – Matthew 6:7-13. Jesus spent time in prayer one-on-one with His Father, often retreating to a mountainside (Mark 6:46), showing how every man needs his personal time with the Lord through prayer, worship and study. Jesus also spent time praying for His disciples and all believers (John 17). For dads, this starts with prayer over children in the cradle and continues with lifting each family member up by name daily. And above in Matthew, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. As kids begin to talk, whether they are constructing full sentences or just able to say a few words, it is a blessing and an important step to engage them in the prayer time. It may start simply with them saying, “Amen” with you at the end of the prayer. There is often a perception that prayer is a check list of needs or requests we have of God. Certainly, we do lift up specific requests to the Father but the emphasis is on helping the child move from knowing who God is to developing a relationship with Him.
Tips for prayer with children:
- Near bedtime, discuss the day’s highlights and concerns with your child;
- Offer a short prayer to open up the conversation with God;
- Encourage your child to praise God for the highlights discussed and pray for the concerns voiced;
- Lead a prayer that reiterates specific joys or concerns lifted up by your child;
- Closing with the “Our Father…” is a great way to wrap up the time praying together.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for the Word and for teaching me how to pray. I confess a religiosity that kept me in a place of knowing Who You are but inhibited developing a relationship with You. Forgive me. Teach me in this ‘Teacher’ season of fathering to help my children move from knowing Who You are to developing a personal relationship with You through our time in prayer together. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father prays for and with the children, and teaches them to pray.