When I was a little girl, I was terrified of sleeping in the dark. I had to have the hallway light on until I fell asleep or I was simply NOT going to bed. The closet doors had to be closed because I just knew there was something lurking in the shadows. I remember me and my older sister had a trundle bed at one point and I would make her push her bed up against mine so she would be close enough to hold my hand until I fell asleep. I figured if I was going to get abducted by aliens, or kidnapped by the monster under my bed, at least my sister would get taken with me and I wouldn’t be alone. There were countless times I would wake up in the middle of the night and sneak into bed with my parents. I used my best, sad puppy-dog eyes, taking advantage of my parent’s exhaustion, and they would oblige and let me sleep with them the rest of the night.
At some point, my mom, being the faith-filled women that she is, took my fear of the dark as an opportunity to teach me about prayer. She taught me the first prayer I ever prayed as a child and to be honest, I prayed that same prayer well into adulthood every night.
“Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Please help us to have sweet dreams,
sweet sleep, and protect us as we sleep. In Jesus name…Amen!”
It was a simple prayer but I believe it taught me a huge life lesson. I learned to rely on God at a very young age. I learned to find comfort in that simple prayer as I overcame my fear of the dark. As time went on, I didn’t need to sleep with the lights on, hold my sister’s hand, or crawl into bed with Mom and Dad anymore. That simple prayer taught me to trust in Jesus for security and it spring-boarded my faith in Christ.
As soon as my boys came to an age of understanding, I taught them that simple prayer. We call it the “night time prayer”. I also taught them a “morning prayer” and we pray it every morning on the way to school…
“Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Please help us to make good choices,
be kind and loving to others, and have a blessed day. In Jesus name…Amen!”
These simple prayers have been the key to laying a foundation for our boys to develop their faith in Christ. We’ve learned to make the most of the simple everyday things we do together and not overcomplicate teaching our kid’s faith in God. We want our boys to understand that God wants to be a part of everything we do and teaching them to pray has helped us do that.
As I’ve watched my kid’s prayer life grow I’ve witnessed them pray on their own without being prompted. I’ve watched them get excited when their prayers were answered. They’ve learned to give credit to God for answering their prayer and I’ve been on the receiving end of their unsolicited prayers. It’s the sweetest thing when your child sees a need you have and asks if they can pray for you.
Teaching your kids to have a prayer life is one of the best things you can do to build their faith.
Keep it simple. Pray about anything and everything. Nothing is too silly to pray about. But don’t just pray, take time to praise God for his many blessings. The bible tells us to rejoice always and pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17). Teach your kids to rely on God through prayer and give thanks for who He is and what He is doing in their lives. You will be amazed at how God grows their faith, and what a lasting impact it makes on their young lives.
My mom didn’t just teach me to rely on God to fall asleep, she taught me the valuable lesson of learning to rely on God for everything. It may have been out of desperation for one night of uninterrupted sleep, but my hope is that the simple prayer my mom taught me will be carried on from generation to generation. I hope my kids will teach it to their kids one day. Something so simple, yet so important — we must all learn to rely on Jesus.