Continuing from babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, we come to older children who are reading.
Once our children were able to read competently, we typed out prayers they could say.
These are intended to:
1. Help teach them a way to pray
I am sure you could teach children to pray by praying aloud and not writing out prayers. However, I pray from written notes myself and find it helps me pray purposefully, broadly and biblically. We have decided to write out prayers for our kids at this stage to help them set early habits of broad ranging prayers. They include praise points, confessions and prayer requests.
2. Give confidence to pray
By having written prayers and not having to think up things on the spot, they are more confident to pray. However they do not have to stick to the prayer points, in fact we encourage them to go ‘off script’ as we often have more up to date information about the people from week to week.
3. Give familiarity with bible passages and how to use them in prayer
Where possible, we write prayers from bible passages so they can learn how to do so themselves.
Our format is to provide prayers for each day of the week, which include 3-4 categories:
- A praise point about God, Jesus or the Spirit and their character
- Prayer and praise points about an immediate family member (us 5 and both sets of grandparents)
- Prayer and praise points about godparents and their family / extended family
- Prayer and praise about school, a ministry / missionary, or church.
- We put photos in these ones too – it looks good and is fun to organise and update.
To give you an idea what this might look like for your family, I've provided a sample below...
- God – you love us even when we don’t deserve your love. Thank you for loving me all of the time.
- God, you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psa 86:15)
- Thank you for Daddy, that he loves me and cares for me.
- Thank you for fun times we have together – playing soccer, chess and other games.
- I am sorry for times when I am disobedient. Help me to listen to Daddy.
- Thank you God for Daddy’s work and that he can tell people about Jesus every day.
- Please let the word of Christ live in Daddy and that he will teach others with wisdom. (Col 3:16)
- Please help him to always speak the truth of Jesus and to be loving to others.
- Dear God, thank you for my teachers. Thank you that they teach me about new things and how the world works.
- I am sorry if I am disobedient or I lie in class.
- Please help me to do my work properly.
- Please help me to be obedient in class, to listen and to be helpful.
- Thank you for my school friends –___________________.
- I am sorry for the times when I am mean to my school friends.
- Please help me to be a kind friend and a sharing friend.
- Please help me to look out for others who don’t have friends and to be nice to them.
- Please God, let my friends know that Jesus loves them, and he wants to be friends with them.
Yes, this is a bit of work to organise the first time - but it has been fantastic for our reading-age children in being able to pray with us or to start praying on their own. They tell me when they want to update it with new prayer points and photos and then we do it together on the computer.
I see no reason why this format cannot last for years to come. It is essentially what I do myself but in a more simplified format.
What has worked for this age in your family?
Wendy Lin lives in Adelaide and her blog is musingsinadelaide.blogspot.com.au.