Parents can teach their children so much about prayer

Published 8:22 am Friday, February 24, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I didn’t grow up in a Christian home where prayer was taught, but I longed for it when I would visit my friends who experienced this. I’m now married to a Christian man and we have three kids. I want to give them this example but don’t want to cram religion down their throats and turn them off. What’s the best way to do this? – P.E.

Dear P.E.: Parents give their children a lifetime gift when prayer and Bible reading is present in the home. Children will learn to pray when they see their parents set the example with sincerity of heart. When children see and hear their parents pray, it can become natural and will likely follow them through life. There’s no better investment. But children shouldn’t be forced to pray. They should be taught to know how much God wants to hear them call His name and make their requests known. When a parent takes time at the beginning of the day to pray with them about their day, or when they read a story before bedtime and encourage the children to ask questions, how wonderful for them to fall asleep thinking about God and His Word.
There are so many wonderful passages in the Bible that stir a child’s curiosity. Teaching children to pray using simple words helps alleviate fear of saying the wrong thing. When children are reluctant, parents can be patient and consistent while teaching them to have thankful hearts and the right way to pray specifically. Parents can teach their children so much about prayer, and parents can learn much about prayer themselves by listening to the heart of a child as they learn to talk with God any time of the day or night. Prayer will not be awkward if their little minds are filled with the things of God.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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