Being a kid can feel pretty helpless, but learning how to unlock a conversation with God is like discovering a secret superpower. Suddenly, the people placed around them will mean a little bit more. And turning them outward by teaching them to pray for their friends allows them to experience God’s love.
We can teach our children to pray for their friends using the acronym LET’S PRAY.
L - Love
"A friend loves at all times." (Proverbs 17:17)
When children understand how much God loves them, their light begins to shine into the cracks of other’s lives. And the foundation of a good friendship is love. When children are just learning to pray for their friends, keep it simple:
“Dear God, thank you for my friends. Help me to love them like You love me. Amen.”
E - Encourage Forgiveness
"Mom," my daughter cried from the backseat, "I had a really hard day at school..." and off she went about how someone made her get in trouble and someone else was snotty to her and then someone who was "supposed" to be a friend didn't really act like one that day.
Friendship can be an emotional battlefield, and learning to forgive quickly is vital. Injustice is a part of existence, and it's not a new trend or a surprise to God. "In this world you will have trouble," He promised, but He sent Jesus to show us the perfect example of how to react:
T - Tell Them What to Say
“Now go; I will help you speak, and teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:12)
If you hesitate to put words in your child’s mouth, take heart in Moses. He didn’t think he had it in Him to speak God’s truths, either. “What if they don’t listen?” (Exodus 4:1) “I’ve never been eloquent…” (Exodus 4:10) “Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:14)
Their friends may experience unexplainable circumstances like sickness, death, poverty, or divorce. God is faithful to give us words to connect our kids to Him in prayer.
S - Sing a Song
It’s good to sing about how good God is, even when life is hard. Not everyone is good with words, and even those of us that are will be eventually not know what to say. Most of us relate to songs, and praise turns into prayer.
My girls and I often listen to high energy praise songs, or have a Christian radio station on in the car. When I hear my daughters singing the words in the backseat, I’m reminded how great and how personal God is. These songs are being placed in their lives to become prayers in the unspeakably hard moments life will assuredly present.
P - Place it in God’s Hands
“Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
“I just don’t want to talk about anymore,” my eight-year-old defeatedly sulked over someone hurting her feelings. So, naturally, I climbed into the backseat of the car to continue the conversation.
“Sometimes, we just have to give it to God. It doesn’t mean they’re right, and it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong… it’s letting go of it, and giving it to God.”
God knows the purity of a child’s heart, and understands their hurts. Instead of trying to referee childhood, seize opportunities to help them release their hurts to God, who fights for them and loves them perfectly… even when we do not.
R - Read with Them
“Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old, he will stay on course.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Kids often struggle to learn the concept of friendship, and devotionals written for kids supply a repetition of many verses that broach similar topics. Good truth, that will seep into their hearts and help them grow good relationships, is a simple thing to incorporate into bedtime routines.
A - Ask Them Questions
Unless we ask specific questions, “fine” is all we might ever get when we ask them how their day was.
How was their teacher today? Was anyone absent? Who did you play with at recess? Was it anyone’s birthday? What did you learn in reading today?
Asking our children about their lives teaches them to look around, and gives us cues to pray.
Y - Yes, He Hears
“He is always listening.” (Psalm 34:15)
Make sure your children know that God hears every prayer and knows the needs of our hearts. There is a sense of security in knowing that He hears every word, especially for children… who sometimes don’t feel like we hear them at all. Parents, He hears us, too, and honors our efforts to bring our children to His feet in prayer for their friends.
Megs is a stay-at-home mom and blogger at http://sunnyand80.org, where she writes about everyday life within the love of Christ.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstock.com
Publication date: November 14, 2016