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Recently, I wrote a post about teaching my children to pray. This is something we have made a priority in our family. What I've learned in this process is that it's simple to teach the mechanics of prayer. It is more challenging--yet incredibly important--to foster a heart connection between my children and God.
I am always striving to cultivate a stronger heart connection between my children and God. Here are a few ideas I've tried:
Emphasize Common Traits and Interests
Silent Prayers with Prompts
Occasionally, we do silent bedtime prayers. I prompt my son to talk with God about various things that he might tell a friend (even sharing a funny joke). When he has finished his silent response, he taps my hand to indicate that he's ready for another prompt. Silent prayers remove feelings of self-consciousness as our children explore new ways of talking with God.
His Mighty Warrior & His Little Princess books
His Mighty Warrior: A Treasure Map from Your King and His Little Princess: Treasured Letters from Your King (His Princess) are beautiful collections of intimate letters from God to a boy or a girl. You can read my full description and review here.
Creative Prayer Journal
Kay Arthur's book Lord, Teach Me to Pray for Kids (Discover 4 Yourself® Inductive Bible Studies for Kids) inspired us to start a creative prayer journal (or "logbook"). This a great idea for children who are artistically inclined or who have a difficulty putting their thoughts into words. Here are a couple of the pages from my son's prayer journal.
Short Spontaneous Prayers Throughout the Day
We have a routine of praying at specific times--meals and bedtime. Instead of telling my children that they can talk with God about anything at any time, I've made a real effort to model this for them. When we see a particularly beautiful sunset, we say a quick prayer to of praise. If we encounter an obstacle, we turn to the One who is ready to help at all times. When we encounter a small blessing, we immediately share our appreciation with God. We are striving to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17) on a day-to-day basis.
Nurturing my children's heart connections with God is something I am actively working on. Please share your thoughts and ideas!