Religion is a large part of society; nearly 85% of families practice some type of religion in the world. The core principle for more then 90% of those religions is prayer. When you raise your child in a particular religion, sure they duplicate the way you and other family members pray but do they know how to pray, the meaning behind prayer and why prayer is important to your religion?
No matter what religion you and your family practice, you can use these practical tips to help your child better understand concepts of prayer through your particular religion.
Prayer is simply a part of a preschooler’s daily routine. Most religious leaders believe this to be normal for children of this age group, as long as they practice prayer on a daily basis it will be enough for them until they get a little older.
You can use established prayers with this age group, such as the nighttime prayer many young children recite at night:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the lord my soul to keep
Guide me Jesus through the night
And wake me with the morning light.
And for dinner the following prayer:
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything. Amen.
You can always replace the name of Jesus with your religious leader, if you are not of Christian or Catholic religions.
Explain to your child that prayer is our ability to communicate with a higher power, and to talk to their higher power through prayer as though they were talking to their best friend, a friend who has the ability to make their prayers come true. Offer subjects for your child to pray about, get them in the habit of talking about their day, their wishes, their hopes and wishes for family and friends and praying for guidance.
Talk openly about prayers in the home and have a time daily where the family can pray together, such as the dinner table. Be active in a community church or other organizations that practice prayer regularly.
Main points to address:
- Use established prayers .
- Offer subjects to pray about.
- Keep a consistent prayer schedule, before bed, when you wake up, at dinner, etc.
- Offer stories of people whose prayers have been answered and the benefits they received from prayer.
- Talk openly about prayer.
- Be active in a community that practices prayer regularly.
Children in this age group begin to have an understanding of why prayers are used and how to pray accurately. Yet, open conversations about prayer are encouraged. When in a conversation allow them to explain in their own words what they believe prayer is, what it is used for and when people should pray. Give them the opportunity to explain their thoughts on the subject and adjust your advice around their answers. Therefore if they say you should pray at night and in the morning, you add yes personal prayers are best kept for morning and afternoon and family prayers are best used for dinner or before a major family event.
You can continue to use established prayers with this age group, as the ones you regularly use or those provided above in the preschool age group.
- Allow them to pray in their own words.
- Encourage prayer daily (not just when there is a problem).
- Provide directions for prayers, “you know your uncle is in the hospital so in your prayers this evening you should talk about how special your uncle is and why he needs and deserves a miracle to get better. E/li>
- Give them the opportunity to explain what prayer is, then add additional comments regarding prayer and how it is used.
As children get older so do the complications of the world, this is a good time for children to get a closer and fuller understanding of prayer through youth groups, youth camping trips or other group outings for believers in their age bracket.
Children who feel closer to their spiritual guide have a better chance of turning against peer pressure and other pre-teen risks. Therefore a better understanding of seeking guidance through prayer, getting stress off their shoulders through prayer and the ability to talk openly with their higher power will benefit them on their journey’s now and as they get older.
Main points to address:
- Advise them on the reasons for prayer:
- Giving thanks.
- Asking for forgiveness.
- Asking for personal needs to be meet.
- Thoughts for others who need the support and guidance of their higher power.
- Encourage them to talk to their higher power through prayer just like they are talking to their best friend or writing in their journal.
- As a great way to get all their stress off their shoulders without worrying about judgment from others.
- Give examples of miracles that have happened to people who use prayer on a regular basis.
- Encourage them to use prayer more often as a form of guidance for peer pressure and other things children tend to have problems with.
Resources that can help you in your venture include:
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