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Teaching Your Kids to Pray

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2021 2:00 am

Teaching Your Kids to Pray

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 6, 2021 2:00 am

When teaching kids to pray, Nancy Guthrie admits that thank you's dominate, and requests follow. Guthrie's desire is to see children grounded in the Scriptures and practicing real prayer. This requires that children understand who God is, which will help them move into prayers of confession-an aspect often missing in family prayer times. Kids follow what we do more than what we say. If we want our kids to have an intimate relationship with God, we need to model that.

Show Notes and Resources

Our faith is challenged many times over the course of a lifetime, but never so much as when we experience the death of a child. David and Nancy Guthrie talk about the children they were blessed with, and what God has taught them about surrendering all to Him.  (25 min. podcast) https://www.familylife.com/podcast/series/holding-on-to-hope/

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praying for your children
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I'm assuming your children have heard you pray right, Nancy Guthrie wonders what kinds of prayers.

Have they heard you pray your kids ever heard you confess a specific sent. If we want our kids to have a relationship with God that includes the Julie comes from experiencing forgiveness, followed by confessing a specific sin to God. Maybe you need to hear us confess this is family life today. Our hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob Payne when we teach our children about prayer.

In addition to instruction they need to see us modeling what prayer looks like talk more about that with Nancy Guthrie today stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us so were to talk about prayer and when to talk about two things about prayer and talk about parents praying for their kids and about parents teaching their kids how to pray. So which one of those do you want about first wit. Which do you think is the bigger issue for most parents, teaching their kids how to pray or parents praying for their kids while I think they go hand-in-hand to teach your kids how they fit that I think you're right not like I will grant. I think you're right that they do go hand-in-hand. What's the bigger felt need for parents to teach a kid got attention as I was guessing the opposite.

I was going to say we worry and were so stressed about our kids we forget. We can pray tell you what I write about how to hold it will throw it to our guest decide where we should start with this.

Nancy Guthrie joins us on family life today. Nancy welcome back my goodness, I'm so thrilled to get to be with you guys today listeners it's been a while since you been on family life today and when you were here before we talked about hope and Gabe and about the challenge you and your husband faced with two kids who did not live long and I just didn't want to let this pass without you knowing that we still think about you guys insulting about hope and so I guess I just say as we can talk about prayer today. I think those experiences when I gave birth to a daughter and found out that she was going to live less than six months and I began to ask myself how do you pray our child is going to die and maybe that was beginning ground-floor of trying to figure out what is it look like to be a parent who prays this world where God is sovereign and we would like to be. So maybe it's essentially good place to start, inspiring in and of itself because many people would have a hard time eating beginning to pray at that point you yeah honestly I remember feeling really guilty at times that so many people would think we are praying for you and I every member telling sentiment but that's really good because were not praying that much. I mean, I think initially we did. Then there was just so many questions and honestly just hardly knowing where to begin praying.

I was really grateful to know that people were praying fourth. I was grateful to know that the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don't have the words when we don't know what to pray.

He prays for us with this Groningen so that was really good news to you in our online archive of family life today.com if listeners want to listen back to that conversation, you can go and download these. These are conversations of family life today.com with Nancy Guthrie and hear about those days with the with hope and with Gabe. You have since written on prayer you've written a one year Bible devotional for parents to pray for their kids and then wrote a book for kids on learning how to pray when we start we start with parents praying for the kids or do we start with the truck itself. Let's start younger and go older. Okay so I think we should start with what every child should know about prayer. I think all of us who have children and grandchildren. We want our kids to know how to pray. We want them to pray, but if you go about it. You know what is the way we think we teach art our children to pray meet most kids when they pray I think one thing dominates their prayers. Thank use this and telling on what we want.

Good thing I mean those are big part of prayer we so glad that we have a God who so work with you. Thanks to thank him and that he is our loving father we can approach them and tell them what we need limited capillary prayer and so that's one reason I put together this book.

Whatever should child should know that prayer because I want to expand children's vocabulary, children's focus, children's expectation and children's experience of prayer, don't you think most kids have that limited vocabulary because all they've ever heard his mom and dad. I think you're still my point about it now.

When do they hear us pray, usually before meal. I mean, I would imagine a lot of homes. That's the only time right maybe bedtime.

Maybe that time that the hear their parents pray my non-Indian authentic prayer.

My fear, I wrote prayer I mean I can think of a lot of my experiences in my family. I mean, I know exactly what's coming because it's what's always right. Did you have a common table prayer when you were growing up, my mom did get what was it's funny. I'm trying to remember, but it was come, Lord Jesus, be our guest Food us.

Be blessed. I remember that letter that I remember that over the years we used to have our kids and we still do this with a come home for a visit meal together we we have one we saying so. We would sing for health and strength, and daily food. We praise thy name, old Lord men sometimes would sing dig in. And yet, so there are those simple wrote prayers are the bedtime prayers that you bless us a Lord for these are gifts which we are about to receive in my belly to Christ the Lord. Amen. That almost become perfunctory and that's what you're modeling in prayer.

Yeah what are you teaching kids about prayer. I think it takes away from it a genuine conversation with a real person with guidance rights and so as parents we want to model eight genuine conversation about things that matter in a one thing I write in the book of what we talked about about we talk to Ken about the things that matter to us and the things that matter to him and that means that we have to be people who are in God's word left me in Scripture to because that's going to inform how we pray, genuine conversation. I mean, you know I come here and to me that what we talk we talk about the things that matter to us in and talk about things that matter to you, because that's a relationship that's a genuine conversation with Nancy.

This book is beautiful and is beautifully rated as well well okay this is the behind the scenes for you and I when I 10 of those publishing which is a UK publisher.

They came to me and I actually asked me to write this book. They had done a previous book called everything a child should know about God.

They had taken a text written by Kenneth Taylor, who at the living Bible. He had written a book for 10 the many, many years ago called everything a child should know about God and they gotten this artist to do the artwork for it and they put out this book and it was so popular it is selling like hot cakes and so they wanted to do more as they came to me we write when I'm pronounced like if this gal Jenny break will do the art because it's the cutest REI have severed you mean by these for our grandkids read one of them and it's beautifully illustrated, God hears us when we pray, and says God can hear us when we say our prayers out loud or when we talk to him from our hearts. If we say them out loud or whispered it might help us keep our minds on what we want to say to him. God has promised to hear the prayers of all people who belong to him and you have some 116 one. I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. And then there's a prayer I can pray I love you like because you listen to my prayers. That alone for kids to understand here is that he listens to us and in Scripture to go along with that.

I love pouring this truth of gold indicates hearts and they'll want to read it. So this this is 141 pages this is short of this is not bedtime story. Although you can take two pages. Basically every two pages is a new thought right yeah I mean I know a lot of people who say you know that they take either a section tonight depending on how old the child is or just trying to make the pages create the opportunity for interaction. You know, adult and child is reading it so that it can lead to actual prayer.

As you mentioned there it says I can pray and say trying to give them some words to pray or sometimes it's a question you could ask and discuss with the child.

So it becomes yeah not just reading a story, but conversation about this important handheld prayer. Here's what's really amazing about this for me as I look at each couple pages. It's stuff adults need to learn all this is five-year-olds. This is, I would like type of my congregation that was part of is certainly what I have heard over and over, and I have to say does thrill me know that I hear from adults who are reading me they got it for the kids because of acute art and I do want their kids to private there like I'm learning some things as I read this and that makes me really happy. Are you a natural prayer. Although I was afraid you will expose the reality of your shallow spirituality. I think my one of my most common prayers is Lord forgive me for my prayer list so because it's a lot easier to talk about. I think actually I'm beat coming better at prayer, but I think it is a life tying pursuit one prayer to be more a part of my waking up rather than scrolling through my phone. I want prayer to be more part of through my day, not just at mealtime. I want prayer to be the way I in the day, not with Netflix and you know, not with so many other things.

It can be filled with with talking to that person that I would say to you is my most important relationship that's interesting you say that you wrote this book. What prompted you to want to write about prayer.

Yeah well I think because I do see this need with kids you really be grounded in prayer. That's real and not prayer. That's right. And I I really wanted to use the opportunity to really mine through the Bible about what it says about prayer and not focus solely on the experience of as you see in there in a got a section on the Psalms. I mean the Psalms are incredible resource when it comes to prayer. These are divinely given words, there is such a unique book in the Bible because their divinely given words for us to sing or pray back to him back to that's amazing so that a section on you know how the Psalms. Help us to pray and shape how we pray a section on various people in the Bible and what they prayed for, and I think that's really significant for Kathy Solomon who prayed for wisdom you got David who prayed that God would make his heart clean after he send my think maybe the most poignant to me is Paul. When Paul prays he begs God three times to take this pain away. This thorn, and there I think we learned a very important lesson for us to talk to kids about God, and that is that sometimes God's answer to our prayer to take our pain away is that he says my grace is sufficient.

My strength is made perfect in weakness. I had a male in our church come to us and say I would like to buy a copy of this book for every family in our church and give it does make us try, think, and edit what I think it was his burden to see not just kids learn the basics of prayer, but moms and dads find a way to incorporate this into make it be a more vibrant part of what the families structure is your confession.

Let's just be honest we can ask around the table does not lessen the way because we can go out to most Christian gatherings and we could say how many of you would say isn't in my spiritual life. The area where I knew I may be struggling all kinds of areas but the area where I got most together for life and I'm doing really well and that you asked that question. I guarantee you, you may have two hands go up from people who, for whatever reason are gifted burdened. It's just a part of the makeup of who they are in prayer there prayer warriors as we like is I think most of us would just say my prayer life is not what it ought to be.

What I'd like for it to be. That's the discipline that Mary and I were having this conversation recently and I just said this is something that I do, by faith, and she said will what you mean, you do it by faith I said prayer is is always an exercise of faith because you can't see who you're talking to. He doesn't talk back audibly to you. You are praying, believing somebody's there somebody's listing. Somebody cares this really matters. And this is not just an exercise in some kind of futility because God is sovereign to do everything to do anyway, so why bother to prayer I can come up with all of the reasons why prayer does not make rational sense, but the Bible tells us this is what God wants from us and so I have to by faith say I'm going to respond in faith and do what God called me to do and teach my kids the same thing and can I go back to this when I sucking it earlier when I said that mostly our kids know how to thank God for things and passed on from runs and I think that can be our tendency to another.

One thing I feel like helps me in regard to prayer and then I think the Bible teaches so clearly regarding prayer has to do with some of the other elements that should be in our prayer and I think one of the ones that's missing so often is beginning with pray you know that my husband David and I host weekend retreats for couples who have lost children and on the Sunday morning of those retreats, we go out to the back patio.

We have a time of prayer and praise and I lead people through not just of prayer free-for-all, but through. I got kind of a guided pathway of prayer and doing this now over 10 years. During this retreat. This is helping me get better with prayer because I experience in those times how much more vibrant that time of prayer is by doing this, so we begin site organ begin by offering prayers of praise and we see the Lord.

I praise you and I say this I say were not yet thanking him for what he's done where praising him for who he is right and it's fascinating to me retreat to retreat how much us standing there as adults struggle with that differentiation. Thanksgiving for what he's done seems to come a lot more natural to us and praising him for who he is just being willing to land and marinate on his character who he is and allow that to then just flow in prayers of praise, but we discover when we do that, that's such a great foundation to then begin to talk to them because were so clear on who it is we're talking to you, and I was wondering if you found that the reason because I agree I've seen the same thing.

Even in my own life that I wonder if people don't know his character like if they're not in the word. Do not look in a revelation of who he is. I know he's done and I can think of for this in my life, but I'm a guy get stalls who is a real us and so II have a couple words alone done which shows sort of the depth of our spiritual and I surely right that biblical literacy is a part of that you know that the more we know his word. We got those words to pull on that he is a shepherd and he is rescuer that he is the righteous one that he is Jehovah rough at the healer I meet so we pull those words from Scripture helps us with that. So we do offer prayers of praise and offer prayers of thanksgiving, but maybe the sweetest time is when we moving the prayers of confession, and so you know, just begin our prayer Lord, I confess. And honestly that's when it gets the most real out there on the patio. I think that might be the biggest thing missing.

Also in our family prayer time and our prayer with our kids and I guess I would just ask the question to those parents who are listening have your kids ever heard you confess a specific sin, and if they haven't, I mean you know you can read my book all you want but all of us as parents know that our kids they tend to follow our example more than what we tell them to do, and they're probably going to follow their your example more than what you read to them even out of a book and so if we want our kids to have a relationship with God that includes the Julie comes from experiencing forgiveness, followed by confessing a specific sin to God. Maybe you need to hear us confess a specific if you don't have your kids hurt for my big regret is one of my biggest regrets during my sons growing up years was not doing that more I think I didn't figure out until he was a young adult. How much that void in my prayer presence in his life. I think was harmful to me and I thought I need to be the model of example we need to see righteousness is from right.

But if I will be the model in the example I need to model for him and be an example for him up what you do when you fail needs to see me do it and hear me do it so he knows them and I'd like you. It was like oh I didn't think about that till later I was like I had to protect my credibility right so I can confess what I've done wrong.

But what I was robbing him of his actually seeing up close. A parent who says this sin in some of these you know ongoing sins. When arrived him from was hearing me pray confess it has sin name is that the accountability that comes in a family then from that and but then also praying and asking God for the power to forsake sin and letting him see the gospel is not about perfect behavior, but instead the gospel is about being able to confess my sin and experienced not only his forgiveness but the power to forsake that sin and then walk in that newness of life. Walk out that repentance would've been such a better example than some of the ways he did hear you, as you say that I go right to James five thinking about what James told us to do with confession.

Think about that which is you talk about yeah sharing it with one another because often we think infections a private thing is just me and God. I don't want my son or daughter to know I don't want my spouse to know it is he says is like. It is therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed and that I thought this is a pastor it's okay you can confess your sin to God and you think you're done like what were good now so is everyone know about this got Naida and and yet when you never speak that out to a friend somebody loves you was going on. You may not be healed of that addiction goes like our good now gotten her and you know you can go back to a because nobody going in the second letting somebody else and do it whether it's a son or a spouse or a best friend.

Now I'm on the hook. Bob, I just told you. I struggle with this buff can be like dude I went to hold you there some accountability to see you get healed by God and have until his public way. That's what that's when you go Nancy, you got six sections in the book what every child should know about prayer and I just walked through these to say I think gives parents an outline for how we teach our kids about prayer. First, God wants us to talk to him second. Prayer is more than asking God for things. Third, God's people always prayed forth the Psalms, give us words to pray them, for Jesus teaches us to pray a memo last section is.

Let's pray. Here's how we can do this I can see where our mom and dad or a grandparent with grandchild reading through the sections you're learning yourself, your teaching your kids you are getting very practical about what the discipline or prayer can and should look like. I would think kids going through this would come out the other end and and it would be something. Maybe they're even more comfortable with the mom and dad are great yeah I I've gotten a gun actually some of the sweetest letters. I was speaking at a conference in the UK a couple of months ago and this woman came up to me and she brought to me this handwritten letter by a six-year-old, because she told the woman the lady who wrote every child should know that prayer is can it be at this conference and so she said can I write her a letter and you sent me this letter and you know she was just kind of saying back to me. Some of the things she's learned in the book and I've got to tell you that really is my heart that it's not just reading a book that I think about if you can pray as a child and you know he's got a heavenly father who hears your prayers and you can tell them how you feel and what you need and you can tell them what you've done and that becomes a habit lifetime. Think about how that changes the teen years in the young adult years in all the years I think for me I didn't grow up in church so I had no modeling whatsoever, but I knew that I had a relationship with Jesus and probably out of my youth and not knowing much. I got into this habit of praying out loud with my kids all the time in the car from the time they were babies and because I knew his relationship. I was very honest with God sank somehow to you today that I need you today and there is a desperate nest in my prayer. I did make them listen. But I don't know why even prayed out loud all the time with them later as I've gotten older I think they've told me like I learned how to have a relationship.

The Jesus watching your conversations and listening to your conversation.

I just want to let listeners know if your parent or grandparent. This is one of the privileges we have, to help guide our children and our grandchildren in this discipline of learning to talk to God and man to your book what every child should know about prayer is a great book for parents or grandparents to take their kids through and to help them think about help them learn about how we communicate with God. The invitation he's given us to build a relationship with him through prayer. We got copies of the book what every child should know about prayer. Again, this is a book for you to read with your kids or to your kids, depending on what age they are. You can go to family life today.com for more information about Nancy's book. Or you can call to order at one 800 FL today.

In addition, Nancy's got a one year prayer guide for parents called praying through the Bible for your kids.

And this is not with your kids. This is for your kids, but we got that book in our family life today resource Center as well so parents may want to get both the book to read to their kids, and the book that they can use themselves as a prayer guide that will talk about more this week.

I can go to family life today.com for information on these resources or call one 800 FL today to order website once again.

His family life today.com and her number is one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and the word today that we are excited here at family life, about the month of May. We've had some friends of the ministry who recognize that for ministries like family life.

The summer months can be challenging. We often will see up a dip in donations to this ministry during the summer and so these friends came along and said let's give you guys a a boost little bit of a head start as you head into summer so they have agreed during the month of May that the match every donation we received this month, dollar for dollar up to a total of $250,000 that is an incredible offer on their part and we want to do whatever we can to take full advantage of it. So were coming to you and asking, would you consider today making a generous donation to support this ministry. Knowing that your donation is going to be matched dollar for dollar up to that total of $250,000. You make up $50 donation $50 will be added from a matching gift fund and your donation winds up being worth $100 to family life. If you're able to help with the donation of any amount we'd like to say thank you by sending you copies of the books we talked about earlier this week with Jamie and Aaron IV. The books called complement the surprising beauty of choosing together over separate in marriage to actually two books, one for husbands, one for wives will send you both books and we had a chance recently to sit down II had some folks who were asking me about things I have learned in the 28 years I've been cohosting family life today and they said what stands out as the most significant things you've learned over the years we we want up having an extensive conversation about that and captured that on a flash drive, along with some of the standout programs from the last 28 years.

We'd love to send you the IVs books and a copy of that flash drive is a way of saying thank you for whatever donation you can make to help support the ministry of family life and help us take advantage of the matching gift opportunity.

You can donate online@familylifetoday.com or you can call one 800 FL today to make your donation. We look forward to hearing from you and we are grateful for your partnership with us here in the ministry of family life today and we hope you can join us again tomorrow will move from talking about teaching our kids how to pray to how we can pray more effectively more deeply more regularly for our children no matter what age Guthrie will be back with us. Hope you can be back with us as well. Think our engineer today. Keith Lynch got some extra help from Bruce Goff and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson and Bob Lapine will see you tomorrow for another edition of family life, family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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