Praying with our Children 2: Practical Issues
Children are constantly changing and so, therefore are their spiritual needs. When thinking about Family prayer this awareness means that routines and practices will need to be changed to keep up with the differing needs of you children. Here is an excerpt from the booklet “Praying with our children” which gives some of the things that as parents we might need to think about from time to time. If you are aware of anything I have missed, let me know and I will add it!
“Where are you going to pray? Will it be the same place each time? Some families pray at the table, after a meal or in bed before story time. Others create a special corner for prayers or bring out cushions, candles and other things to create a space in the middle of a room. You might find that where you pray changes with the seasons or the mood of your children.
When are you going to pray? Again this might change but choosing a regular time when the whole family is together can be helpful.
What environment are you going to provide? Do you want to create a prayerful atmosphere by lighting a candle or placing an icon or piece of artwork on a table? Do you want to use a special book for certain prayers that can be brought out? Will you sit or kneel or stand to pray?
Meal times: These can be important for building prayer into your family life. It gives an opportunity to teach children that food, along with the rest of life is a gift and that thanksgiving is a part of life too.
When things don’t run smoothly: Teaching children to pray is a task for the long term. Sometimes prayer times get forgotten or an argument breaks out in the middle or Grumpy storms off in a huff. This is not a sign of failure, just a reminder that we all have bad days. It could be an opportunity to explain why prayer is important or that God knows when we are feeling tired or resentful. And next time might be better. For every time that there are problems, there will be others when things are good. Over the long run, your children will be learning about God, prayer and themselves.”