Teaching Children About Prayer
The Example of the Lord's Prayer
Jesus' disciples were like spiritual children and so we can appropriately learn some pointers from Him.
Model a life of prayer for children to observe.
Jesus taught about prayer by exposure to a good model -- Himself. His disciples observed Jesus pray and sometimes go aside to pray. After one incidence, one of His disciples said, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk. 11:1-2). Jesus' prayer life motivated his disciples toward a passion for prayer.
Provide instruction about prayer on children's level.
Jesus taught about prayer by providing an explanation for good understanding -- instruction. He used terminology the disciples could understand in teaching them about prayer ... a friend knocking on a door for help, a father providing what is good for his children. He not only explained how to pray but also how not to pray using negative examples.
Give children a pattern illustrating how to pray
Jesus taught about prayer by using a pattern for a good example of praying -- His sample prayer, come to be known as the Lord's Prayer, in Matthew 6:9-13. Nowhere do we read that Jesus told His disciples to memorize the exact wording of this sample prayer. He said, "This is how you should pray" not "This is what you should pray." This prayer has, however, become probably the most memorized prayer. In Matthew 6, just prior to giving the prayer, he warned them that prayer should not be done to be seen by man but to be in touch with the Father (v. 5-6) and that prayer should not be mere words (v. 7-8).
The Children Learn to Pray Curriculum, best suited for grades 1-4, was designed to help children not only memorize the Lord's Prayer but also to understand its meaning. By the end of this course, the children should have a better grasp of the One to whom they pray and how that affects the way they pray.
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