in a journey through our day.
What do you do after you finish singing?
Prayer connects us with God and establishes a two way conversation through the day.
We are establishing a pattern of prayer in our children's lives for them to continue into adulthood. While it is their choice to continue the pattern or not, it is easier to continue the pattern than to have to establish one from scratch.
It reminds me to check in with Him if I haven't already done so in the morning. It especially reminds me to pray FOR my children.
I can model prayer for the children, showing them that I need to take my self to the foot of the cross, ask for forgiveness and strength and direction.
Listening to my children pray gives me insight into where they are at emotionally and spiritually and helps me tap into their inner workings.
Spending time being quiet each day, even if only a few minutes, can help teach children self-calming techniques. A habit of daily quiet time has been linked to numerous health benefits.
Explicit teaching of an attitude of reverence and worship on a daily basis makes going to Church and other places where this attitude is required (i.e.weddings) a whole lot more fun for all of us! It also helps teach a respect for those around them.
Having this time when I expect them to follow direct instruction (i.e. kneel down, bow heads, close eyes etc.) tends to set a bit of a pattern of obedience for the day. A pattern that MAY be interrupted later in the day of course, but a pattern none the less!
We already prepared ourselves at the end of our singing time by singing "I have knees that bend by my chair..." and "Into My Heart". I will often, but not always, take time between these two songs to review my expectations during prayer times. This is done in a fun, light hearted manner. For example, I will play a game show host and ask them in my special "game show host" voice what we need to do with our hands, eyes, feet etc. during prayer time. Or I may ask one of the older ones to demonstrate to Anna or Christopher what they need to do during prayer times. They love to show off their knowledge and establishing CLEARLY that they know what they should do and I know that THEY know that I know what they should be doing means that stepping outside of these guidelines can be dealt with as defiance in the manner that our family deals with defiance. We don't make a big deal with this, and most of the time it is quite fun. I take the stance that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
*note*: we do pray at other times when not using our "prayer stance" and we talk often about how God can hear us any time, anywhere. We do talk about how when we pray together, it is good manners NOT to distract other people and how keeping an attitude of prayer can help us to concentrate.
When we have finished singing, the children will pray one at a time. Their prayers vary from "Dear Jesus, thank you for the whole world. Amen" to long and complex prayers that can go on for a while! Christopher usually repeats his prayers after me but is getting to the stage where he adds his own bits too. I finish our prayer session by praying for each of us and Daddy and anything else that has been on my heart (being mindful of little knees!) and then we say the Lord's Prayer together.
Next year I would like to start using some resources I collected from Preschool Sunday School Central
What about you? How you work prayer into your children's day? Why do you do things that way? What, if any, resources do you use to teach your children about prayer?
Leave a comment or blog about it and link back in the comments!
Come back next week for the next step in our walk through our day.