Every night when the kids go to bed we pray with them. Most of the time it’s just us doing the praying. Sometimes Asa will whisper the prayer from his Bozdvd’s. But usually it’s a solo. So, I try to use this time to model how I want them to pray.
For example, when I picked Lydia up from school yesterday, she got in the car and said, “I got a strike.” Then she immediately started sobbing. Getting a strike is a bad thing in kindergarten. If you get 3 strikes, a note is sent home. Lydia was talking when she wasn’t supposed to and her teacher gave her the strike. She was devastated.
But it gave us some really good talking points. We got to talk about disobedience, picking the right friends (4 of them got a strike at once!), talking to Mommy, learning lessons and more. That night when we prayed I said something like, “God, thank you that Lydia told us right away about her strike. Help her remember what this feels like. Holy Spirit, I ask that you remind Lydia to be obedient at school and to help her stay self-controlled.” It was much better than me scolding her and it was a sincere prayer from a parent to Father God. It also modeled what her response should be from that situation.
I ended the prayer with what I pray every single night: “Lord, I pray Lydia would love you more and more every day.” It’s just a simple phrase. It’s not based on scripture. It’s nothing profound. But really, it is my true desire: that my kids wouldn’t just BE better or DO more, but that they would just LOVE Jesus more and more every day. (Do you know how many heartaches that would avoid? Problems that would keep them from?)
I don’t pray that little phrase because I think it’s a magic phrase that needs to be repeated in order to work (see my prayer post from Day 1!), I pray it because when Lydia and Asa do pray by themselves, I want them to pray the same thing, “O God! I want to love you more and more every day!” I want that prayer to be their desire.
It was my pastor who gave me the idea. He said he prays out loud the things he wants his kids to pray. And as the years went by, he began to hear his children pray the same thing he had been praying over them every night.
This modeling and repetition will get into their hearts and minds. And soon, it will come out of their mouths.
What can you start praying and speaking over your kids? So that one day they’ll say the same thing?
Resources for you:
How To Use Repetition as a Fun and Effective Tool To Teach Our Children by Kat from Inspired to Action
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. by Mandi from Cumming Local
5 Tips on Prayerful Parenting from Mark Batterson
The Diaper Diaries says
We actually let our kids do their own prayers at night with a sorry, a thank you and an ask. We kind of loosely base it on the ACTS prayer.
Then my husband picks a scripture every year on their birthday that he prays over him the entire year. When they are little we discuss together what things we want in the scripture we pick. But when they reach about 5 we ask for their input about what things they want prayer for for the year. Our 8 yo even helped us pick out the verse.
It is really meaningful to them that they have claimed that verse for he year. And it is really powerful for us as we see what verse God leads our family to.
oh amanda says
I love that! They hear that verse all year–what a gift!
You should write a parenting blog or something…
I really appreciated your post tonight. Praying with my little toddler isn’t something that has come naturally, and we tend to repeat the same thing nightly. I love the idea of modeling how to pray and changing it each day.
I am thankful that prayer has become a part of our bedtime routine that my little boy can’t fall asleep without!
One of your last posts mentioned being someone your kids want to follow. That really inspired me b/c I am naturally a follower of others but desire deeply to know how to lead my children. Thank you for this practical way that we can begin building our kids up as Christ followers and dependents. What a great way to model this for them and be a leader! So blessed by your blog.
becky Kiser says
Thank you so much for this post!!! What a helpful tip!!!
Amanda, I am going back through my emails and I must have missed this day the first time through. THANK YOU for the idea to pray that simple prayer over my children each day! I have written it down and posted it on my desktop computer where I will see it several times a day and pray it then!!
Thank you, friend! 🙂