Taking time to pray

I believe in quiet prayers.   Prayers that only reach the heart and ears of the God who made you.

But never underestimate the power of praying out loud.  Not only does God hear those prayers, but other important  hearts and ears hear them too.

I think it is critically important that we as Christian parents pray with our children.  I don't just mean your standard meal time and bedtime and morning prayers, or even the Lord's prayer.  I mean, plain speech, talk to a friend, share what's on your heart prayers.  This is one of those of things that we could do from the very beginning with our children.  This way it is never a taught skill, it is a natural form of communication and one they understand, because they have never been without it.

This isn't about passing along religion to our children.  This is about teaching them how to be in a relationship with the Lord.  How to share your heart with him.  Your fears, your joys, and just the every day musings of your mind.

The best part of praying together as a family, out loud, is first, you and your children will grow comfortable praying in front of people.  So many people, even life long Christians, get nervous praying in front of others.  Praying together as a family will help all of you get more comfortable praying out loud in front of others.

Second and most important, you get a direct line straight into the heart and inner thoughts of your children and spouse.  There are many days where our lives are filled with day to day chores, responsibilities and adventures.  You have seen your family, shared laughs with them, frustrations with them, and then when the day is over, you crash into bed.  Days can go by without a true, real connection.

Tonight at bedtime, I was abundantly blessed.  We read our stories, we sang our songs, we said our prayers.  But I wanted us to pray together as a family.  We don't do it every night, and even tonight, I was tired and ready to just be done, finish the dishes and crawl into bed.  But the Lord was nudging me.  "Create the habit. Talk to me", I heard.  And so I said, "Big, what do you want to pray for?"

Big, "God, I pray for our friend Ms. Inga.  I pray God that you would heal her hurt head.  That you would take away her headache.  God I pray that you would help make Kieran and Michael big helpers to Inga so that she can rest, and they would take care of her.  Amen." (I don't think I actually told the kids my friend was ill, they overheard it in a phone conversation.)

Middle, "God I pray for cousin Ryan that you would take away his cancer and he would be all better so he could be with his family.  Make him not sick anymore. (We haven't spoken about Ryan in the last couple weeks, so this touched me very deeply.)  And please God heal mommy's toe so that it won't hurt or fall off.  (I broke my toe last week, but it has no real threat of falling off.)  Amen.

Little, "God I pray for Inga's head. Make it better. See that mama, I prayed for Ms. Inga too! Amen.  (she is a work in progress, but nothing is sweeter to my ears than then sound of small children praying)

Paul then prayed for me that I would not get overwhelmed with chores.  He praised God for the work I do around the house and taking care of our home and our children.  I love nothing more than having my children hear their dad pray to the Lord, especially as he prays for their mom.  I love that my husband did that, and that my children heard that.

I prayed that my children would desire God on their own.  I prayed for wisdom.  I prayed that God would continue to be the final authority in our home and a few other things.

This kind of blessing doesn't happen every day in our home.  But what it reminds me of, and why I share it with you, is to serve as an encouragement.  That we would pray with our children so they can hear our hearts and we can hear theirs.  So that we all know that even though mom and dad have authority in the home, we are all under God's authority.  That our children would hear our confessions and seeking God's forgiveness, communicates to them that we aren't perfect and need God desperately as well.  We get to hear what our children's inner thoughts are, which allows us to serve them and help them more effectively.

My hope and desire is that we would each be encouraged and take the time to pray with our children.  Nothing is more important, and I promise you will be blessed.