The Bible tells us that we should “train up our children in the way of the Lord, and when they are old, they will
not depart from it.” The Jews in the Old Testament put up scripture all over them homes, so that they could always be reminded of the Lord’s commandments, His love and instructions to them, thus the children were constantly raised with the scriptures, conversations about the Lord, His requirements, and were taught from the earliest of their youth to be mindful of these things.
Today, we have become I fear too lax in our teaching children about the things of the Lord. One of these things that I believe would be helpful to children for the rest of their lives, would be to teach them how and why we are to pray to God, to love God, appreciate Him for all He has done for us, learning to be thankful to God for all thing and in all situations and to learn to communicate (or go to Him) about everything. This strengths their love and appreciation of God when He answers their prayers and they see that He actually hears them. This builds faith in their little hearts, and they grow to love Him more and more each day. But first they need to know several things.
They need to know that there are times when we pray as a group for something, like at the table as a family or at a gathering before eating, or when people gather to pray for a specific thing for someone who has a real need and so people gather to pray for them. In these times, we don’t just say “thank you God for this food, A-Men.” and then plow in and begin eating. No, we need to always pray from a sincere heart, meaning what we are say to God, not just saying a “prayer” because that is what your suppose to do. These kind of prayers will not be answered.
But also there needs to be a time daily in a child’s life that he goes into a quiet, undisturbed, relaxed place where he can pray to God just by himself. This teaches the child that they too can come to God themselves for any need they may have, or to be able to pray for others and their situations, and to just also learn to thank God for all He has done for them. The Bible says, “to go an pray in our closets”. Ha Ha. I taught this to my grandchildren today, and told them that a closet could be a quiet room where they will not be disturbed, or anywhere they can be alone with God for a few minutes, or even pray in a literal closet with a flashlight, and perhaps one of those things that light up the ceiling and it looks like stars all over the ceiling like a night sky when it is turned on in a dark room. That would make it like they were looking up at the sky talking to God.
The next thing they need to know is that prayer is a time to have a reverent attitude, and not a casual attitude, like “Hi God! How’s it going?” type of attitude. We tend to be too familiar with God and Jesus sometimes and don’t give Them the honor and respect that they are due. It is a time to be serious, to bow before God and begin with the following:
First coming into His presence with praise and thanksgiving in our hearts (unto the King of Kings and the Great Almighty Father) who made heaven and earth and all that is in it. Teach them to worship by telling God thank you for all He has done for tghem (and teach them what to be thankful for), and tell them and remind them of all the blessings they have received from the Lord. To recognize His greatness, mightiness, power, all knowing, all seeing presence He has, and for of course sending Jesus into this world to die for us.
Tell them that you don’t just make God and Jesus like a Santa Clause who they their head to, list all the things they want God to do and say A-Men. That is not worship, prayer, or love, or communion with their heavenly Father who made and created them for His plan and purpose. These type of prayers will not be answered.
After praise and thanksgiving, then teach them to come humbly before their God, and make their requests know to God. Teach them to pray for others first and themselves last. Teach them that others are more important than themselves, and we are here to be God’s children who show others how Jesus would act if He were still on this earth, but since He is not, but has put the Holy Spirit into our hearts, then we are to be the ones who show what God and Jesus are like.
I was so thrilled to see my 5 year old Hannah at a restaurant that had a play area in it, so she went and played in it with her sister. I looked over and I saw Hannah talking to a little boy about her same age. She was talking very seriously to him, and he seemed to be listening quite contently. I thought, “oh no, she is starting at a very young age to like boys”, ha ha. But I was wrong! I asked her what she was talking about with the boy and she said she was telling him all about Jesus. Oh I wanted to cry! Can you image a 5 year old telling another child about Jesus very seriously. My little darling, was being an ambassador for Christ.
Kids need to know that they too have a place to be used by God in this dark dark world we live in, and they can shine their little light just as brightly as we can, and probably a lot better, because they are not as tainted with sin as we are.
Next we need to teach them to confess their sins in their prayer time. This will always keep their hearts pure and sanctified if they confess the wrong things they too have done, and ask God for forgiveness. Then God can forgive them for their sins, & cleanse that sin away. Teach them the importance of confessing and repenting at an early age, and they have a better chance of doing this when they are older as well and staying on the road that is narrow that leads to life.
Tell them that God loves to hear from them and they can talk to Him throughout the day, telling God about what their little problems are, or asking for help in this or that, or singing to Him a little song. Oh how this thrills the heart of our beloved Savior and Father of us all for us to go to Him, and sing and talk to and develop a a personal relationship with Them. He promises never to leave them, or forsake them, but will always be present in their lives to go thru whatever storms, or temptations that come their way.
So we as mothers, and grandmothers still have a big part to play in a child’s live in order to fulfill the command to train up a child in the way they should go. It is our responsibility, our privilege and we will also see the fruit and rejoice with great joy of seeing them turn out to be true lovers of God, great children for God, given wholly to the purposes of God.