Nurturing a Prayerful Heart: Guiding Our Children in Daily Conversations with God

May is a month brimming with celebrations, from Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby to National Teachers Day and Ascension Day. Amidst these festivities, we also have the opportunity to unite for the National Day of Prayer, observed on the first Thursday of May. This day serves as a reminder for us to pray for our nation, its leaders, and our communities. As we commemorate this special day, let us also remember the importance of teaching our children the value of prayer.

Prayer is the lifeline that connects our hearts to God. It is a spiritual discipline that brings us closer to our Creator and allows us to communicate with Him through the Holy Spirit, the Master Prayer Teacher. Prayer is a source of comfort and strength, uplifting our spirits and nourishing our souls. It is vital for us to maintain a prayerful life, not just during times of crisis but in every season of our lives.

As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our children how to pray from a young age. By instilling in them the significance of prayer, we help them develop a strong foundation in their relationship with God. This connection will be a priceless resource throughout their lives as they face various challenges and joys.

One of my cherished memories from parenthood is when my five-year-old daughter remarked that prayer was like having an “imaginary friend.” While her understanding of prayer was simple and childlike, it highlighted a profound truth for followers of Christ: Jesus is more than an imaginary friend. He is a constant companion who walks and talks with us daily, and prayer is the vehicle through which we can nurture our friendship with Him.

Teaching children to pray doesn’t require extensive Bible study or research; Jesus Himself provided us with a timeless model of prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Known as the Lord’s Prayer, this template serves as a perfect starting point for guiding our children in their conversations with God:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom comes, you will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

As we observe the National Day of Prayer this year, let us seize the opportunity to teach our children the power and importance of prayer. Start with the simple Lord’s Prayer and pray together as a family, lifting up our nation, communities, churches, schools, leaders, and law enforcement officers, among others. By nurturing a prayerful heart in our children, we can help shape a generation that seeks God’s guidance, wisdom, and presence in their daily lives.