How to Help Children Develop a Daily Devotional Time with focused prayer
This is part 3 of the series about How to Help Children Develop a Daily Devotional Time. In part 1 we talked about reading through the book of Proverbs each month. This practice develops both routine and acquires wisdom through this amazing book of the Bible. In part 2, we discussed How to Help Children Develop a Daily Devotional Time using verses from the book of Psalms. Today we are going to shift gears from reading the Bible to praying. Developing a focused prayer life is a crucial part of helping children Develop a Daily Devotional Time.
Communication is a two-way street
In the last two parts of the series, the focus was on listening to God speak to us through His Word. Today we are going to help children develop a daily devotional time with prayer. In other words, by talking to God.
Healthy communication is a key component in any relationship. The same is true with our relationship with God. Sometimes, it is tempting for me to think that God already knows everything I am thinking, so why do I need to tell Him. But the Bible says that God delights in hearing our prayers.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.Proverbs 15:8 (KJV)
I love listening to children pray. Children pray big prayers. I think as adults we tend to limit God in what He can do. Not children, they pray big. However, just like adults, they may not know what to pray for. Today, I want to share a simple acrostic to help your child know what to pray for.
What is a focused Prayer Life?
Focused prayer is simply using the letters in the word prayer to focus prayer in four main areas. I learned this acrostic when I first became a Christian and it has helped me when I didn’t know how to pray or what to pray for.
P stands for “Praise”. We have so many things to praise God about. Teach children to thank God for His goodness.
O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.Isaiah 25:1 (KJV)
Here are just a few ideas about praising God.
- Depending on your child’s age, have them write or draw things they are thankful for.
- Teach children about the attributes of God.
- Read a Bible story about how God blessed someone in the Bible (Daniel, is a great one Bible lesson begin with because it also demonstrates Daniel’s commitment to prayer.)
Repentance is to feel sorrow or regret for something said or done. Teach your child to confess their sin to God and ask Him for forgiveness. One of the best ways to do this is by example. When you sin against your child. Confess your sin to your child and ask for forgiveness, but also pray with your child and ask God to forgive you.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
Ask God to meet your needs and the needs of others. Don’t be surprised if your child asks for material things for themselves when you begin to develop a focused prayer life. It is natural for children (and adults) to pray for themselves. Gently incorporate other people’s prayer needs and set an example of praying for others first. Here is a list of people to pray for:
- Pastor and his family
- Immediate and extended family members
- Sick people
- Public leaders and officials
- Classmates and friends
There is no shortage of people to pray for. Perhaps choose a category of people or one specific person to pray for each day rather than just rattle of a list of people’s names.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:Matthew 7:7 (KJV)
The other 3 letters of the pray acrostic were straightforward and simple to understand. Yield may be an abstract concept for children to understand. What does it mean to yield? It means to give up or give over our will to God. It is easy to do what we want, but much more difficult to do the will of God. Yielding to God is an ongoing skill that we learn throughout our lives. We certainly need to pray for God to help us yield our life over to Him.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.Romans 12:1
3 more ideas for a focused prayer life
Keep a Prayer Journal
Keeping a prayer journal will not only help children develop a focused prayer life in their daily devotional time but also help children see the power of prayer. Using the Pray Acrostic, have the child write down a certain number of items under each letter. The number should depend on your child’s age and ability. For example, a young child may only be able to write down one thing, whereas a 12-year-old can write down several things.
Over time, watch how God has answered the prayer requests. I taught my children that God always answers prayer. He says, yes. He says, no. And He says, wait.
Share Prayer Requests
We start our homeschool day with our daily devotional time. During this time we share praises and prayer requests. Some days we each pray for each other’s requests, some days I chose a child to pray for all the requests, and some days we set a timer and pray silently. There are many different ways to pray together, but making it first in your day teaches children the importance of it. Sharing prayer requests brings the family closer together.
Set a timer for prayer
Finally, I suggest setting a timer for prayer. Not ever time, but sometimes. This teaches children (and adults) how little time we spend in focused prayer time. Again, depending on the age of your child, set the time, start with no more than 5 minutes, but less for young children. Sit or kneel with your hands folded and your eyes closed. Pray silently with the child. You will soon see how long 5 minutes seems. This taught me, how little time I actually spend in focused prayer. But as you practice, increase the time.
This was part 3 of the series about How to Help Children Develop a Daily Devotional Time. You can also read part 1 about the book of Proverbs and part 2 about using verses from the book of Psalms. I hope you found some new ideas about developing a focused prayer life in your child’s daily devotional time.