Making Prayer a Priority? / by John Hailes

If we were looking for criteria to measure people’s commitment to Christ a number of disciplines would probably shoot to the top of the list. I’m sure with our Western mindset we would be quick to opt to check Church attendance, maybe also the amount of time people serve in the Church and I’m very confident that tithing would be near the top of most Church leaders’ lists.  However, I wonder how many of us would opt to check the amount of time spent daily in prayer?

Martin Luther once said, ‘To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.’ These strong words should pierce all of our hearts, but it should also deeply challenge us, as Children’s Pastors and Parents, to place a greater priority on prayer when it comes to raising our children.

In our hurried lives the first victim is usually our prayer life; and I find this is often the case with our ministries too. When I first arrived at my current Children’s ministry I remember being shocked at the lack of prayer that occurred in our kids services. In the craziness of running 4 Sunday services I remember noticing that there was little prayer from the front and no time spent encouraging kids to pray!

As Parents and Children’s Pastors we have a HUGE challenge to get kids to take ownership of their faith! The simplest way to make this a reality is to get them to pray!

Here are some simple things you need to do:-

1.      Prioritize prayer personally

I value prayer because my mother prioritized it. Growing up she was always out at prayer meetings, I sit through many of them, I would often walk into her room and see her praying or hear her pray as she made dinner. Prayer was of high priority to here.

2.      Let kids see you pray

It is one thing to prioritize prayer, but it’s another to let kids see you pray! Why not do your morning devotions and prayer in the lounge? Or why not take your kids to a church prayer meeting? The more kids see you, the more they will value it in their own life.

3.      Teach kids to pray

Have you ever sat down and explained prayer with your kids? Have you given them simple instruction or helped them to write out a prayer? Or do you just expect them to know how to pray? Even Jesus had to teach the disciples how to pray!

4.      Make time to pray with your kids

Don’t just assume your kids will pray or that your children’s ministry is getting your kids to pray! 1 hour a week isn’t enough time to develop spiritual disciplines in your child’s life! Make time to pray with your kids…and I don’t just mean a prayer of grace before your evening meal!

Prayer doesn’t just happen, you have to make room for it! For Christians, prayer is our direct connection to God, yet we so often we neglect it and consequently we find ourselves neglecting God. Is that the legacy we want to leave for our kids?

How do you model prayer for your kids?