Article by Gary Petrie, BabyNameGuide.com
While I was growing up, prayer was not a daily activity in my household. We prayed at the dinner table, and for years I thought that was the extent of prayer. “Let thy food be nourishment to my body”, which I never really understood. It really got confusing when we went out of the house to eat, because we never prayed. Did that mean the meal was not good for my body? It wasn’t until years later when I went golfing with a friend that praying over a meal made sense to me. Praying over a meal isn’t about the meal, but that fact we give thanks to the Lord for being involved in every area of our lives.
Like most American families, my family went to church. But we didn’t start going until I was about 8 years old. The pastor led our church in prayer like most churches, but as a little child I didn’t understand. I thought prayer was something left for church pastors and of course the occasional dinner. What I didn’t realize as a child is that everyone can have a personal relationship with the Lord and it starts with prayer. I also didn’t understand that a prayer connection with God is made possible by His son Jesus. Jesus is the bridge between me and God, and it’s that connection that’s made my prayers have meaning and results.
I have to say… prior to having kids I never prayed all that much at bedtime. Most of my prayers were left at church, the dinner table and of course when I needed help. It seems like most people don’t pray until they need something and I was no different. It wasn’t until my daughter was about 2 years of age when I started praying consistently at bedtime. At the time, it was more about my own relationship with the Lord than it was about teaching my daughter about the importance of prayer. Let’s face it, she was only two. My wife and I have been praying with our kids at bedtime for around 10 years now. And in that time we’ve prayed about health, family, friends, America, school and everyday needs. What has prayer taught us? Well, it taught our family that consistent prayer is important for growth, answers and our relationship with God.
I know kids will do as they see, not as they’re told. And because of our nightly prayers, my daughter has now taken it upon herself to pray when we’re not available. I know that over time my children will see results in their lives and pass the practice of prayer on to their children. I hope you have prayer time with your children. And if you don’t, now is a good time to start.