Teaching Your Children To Pray
By Kim Butts
Someone once said that the definition of grace is: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Because of what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross, we have all of God’s richest blessings – most importantly – we are saved by His grace from all of our sin: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God..." (Ephesians 2:8). With this grace-filled gift, come several awesome responsibilities and privileges. By His grace, God has called us:
•to live holy lives – In 2 Timothy 1:9-10, Paul speaks of God "…who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." Imagine! The Lord of the Universe, even before the beginning of time as we know it, gave His grace to us! This knowledge should make us want to live lives filled with His glorious grace through the demonstration of His love working in and through us – holy lives!
•to accept that His grace is all we need – "…It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace…" (Hebrews 13:9b).
•to share with others who are in need; to be generous regardless of our circumstances – "And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity" (2 Corinthians 8:1-2).
•to live lives of service using the gifts God has given – "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).
•to share God’s grace (Jesus Christ) with others – "See to it that no one misses the grace of God…" (Hebrews 12:15a).
Having laid this foundation, there is no better way to teach our children, and ourselves, how to pray grace-filled prayers than to pray the Word of God into our lives and the lives of others. Even when we are praying for those who are our enemies, or who have done harm to us, we can pray prayers filled with the grace of Jesus. Using the areas outlined above, here are some scriptural prayers to help children (and adults) learn to pray gracefully. Parents or grandparents: these are powerful prayers to pray into the lives of children; but it is also important to teach them to pray these prayers for themselves. The first one gives an example of how the prayer can be personalized. Please note that these prayers have been taken directly from Scripture. This is a powerful way to teach children to pray in specific ways for the purposes of God to be living and active in their lives and in the lives of others.
Prayers To Live Holy Lives:
"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). Give God thanks that you don’t have to be a slave to sin because you have been set free by God’s wonderful grace! Pray that others will realize this wonderful gift of grace in their lives, and that they have been set free from the power of sin in their lives. Example: Father, thank you for what you did on the cross for ______. Please help ______ to keep ______ eyes on you so that _____ can always try to live like Jesus. Protect _____ from sin, Lord. Help ______ to come to You quickly whenever ______ do/does something that doesn’t please You. Thank You for Your wonderful forgiveness, and for the way You forget sin and let us begin again when we are faithful to come to You with a sorry heart.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…" (Titus 2:11-12). Lord, because of the power of Your grace in my life, teach me always to say "No" to the things that don’t please You. Help me to refuse to live in the world and do things the way my friends or others say is okay when I know that You won’t be honored. Help me to have self-control and to be like Jesus in my thoughts, my words and my actions.
"He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble" (Proverbs 3:34). "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’" (James 4:6). Father God, it’s hard to keep my eyes off of myself sometimes. When my eyes are on me, they can’t be on You! When I’m always thinking of myself, I can’t be a good example to others. Help me with the sin of pride, so that I can receive even more of Your grace. I want to have a humble spirit so that You can use me to give You more glory!
Prayers To Accept That His Grace Is All We Need:
"But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Oh Lord, help me to depend on Your grace and Your strength instead of my own – in every area of my life. I don’t like to suffer, and I don’t want to be persecuted or go through hard times in my life, but I know that You are able to walk me through anything! Help me to see that Your grace is enough to get me through the toughest times. Nobody likes to be weak, but Lord, You get more glory when You work through people who are! I want to be one of the people You choose to work through! Give me Your strength to stand up under pressure, and to learn to "delight" in my weaknesses for Jesus’ sake. Help me to learn to trust You to make me strong when I am the weakest.
Prayers To Share With Others Who Are In Need; To Be Generous Regardless Of Circumstances:
"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another" (John 1:16). Holy Father, because I have received so many blessings from You, please help me to bless others!
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need" (Acts 4:32-35). Lord, please help me to be a generous person. If I accept Your grace, then I need to also accept the responsibility of Your grace – to share what I have with others. Give me a generous heart, Father, so that I can honor You with all that You have blessed me with. I am young, but I can still see that there are needs all around me. Help me to do for them what You would do, Lord Jesus.
"…see that you also excel in this grace of giving" (2 Corinthians 8:7b). Father, I want to be a gracious giver! Help me to go beyond anything I could ever imagine in this area of my life. May I give in such a way that no one notices me, but so that You alone are honored and glorified!
Prayers To Live Lives Of Service Using The Gifts God Has Given:
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). Lord, You have the power to give me everything I need to do good works for You. Show me the work You have for me to do, and help me to be willing to do it whenever You need it to be done. Thank you that it doesn’t matter how old I am, and that I can do things that make a difference in Your kingdom!
"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men’" (Ephesians 4:7-8). Father, because of Your grace, I have been given gifts to use for You. Please show me what my gifts are, and send people to help me know how to use them in a way that honors You.
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word" (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). Heavenly Lord, You have loved me so much that You sent Jesus to die for me! Because of Jesus, I have the encouragement and hope in my heart to do whatever You call me to do. Help me to be strong in every good deed and word so that You receive the glory!
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:8-10). It is amazing to me, Father, how You have already planned and prepared for the work that You want me to do for You! You created me, Lord, and I know You made me just the way You want me to be so that I can serve You! Thank You for every opportunity to do good works. Help me to always be willing to do them cheerfully and without complaining.
Prayers To Share God’s Grace (Jesus Christ) With Others:
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace" (Acts 20:24). Lord, help me to finish the race ahead of me by completing the task You have given to me. I want my whole life to be a testimony to You so that others will know that I am Your child. Help others to see You in me, Lord Jesus!
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:5-6). Father, give me wisdom beyond my years so that I will make the most of every opportunity to share Christ with others. Help every word I speak to be just the right thing to say to those who need You so much! Teach me to always have a good answer for why I believe in You so that they will believe in You too!
Don’t stop here! Search God’s Word for more about His wonderful grace! Make a good habit of praying grace-filled prayers for yourself, for your children or grandchildren, and for others (believers as well as non-believers). Teach your children how to pray the powerful Word of God into their lives, as shown above. Praying God’s Word is one way to know without a doubt that You are praying what is on His heart, and that you are praying His will! Will you add one more prayer as you come before the Lord daily? Pray that "As God’s grace reaches more people, thanksgiving will overflow to the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:15).