The Christmas season is the perfect time to focus on prayer with your kids. With so much of our energy focused on keeping our families' hearts turned toward Jesus, what better way to do that than with prayer?
Yet, too often, our kids' prayers (and even our own) become tired and rote. Instead of being a time of interaction with God, our prayer time becomes a simple litany of the things that we want God to do for us. Our kids' prayers may seem like the same prayer over and over again.
Prayer isn't just our wish list of the things we want God to do for us. It's a time of interacting with God. It's a time where we talk and God talks. It's a time for our hearts to draw close to the one who made us. It's a constant conversation throughout the day. It's a time when God can work on changing us to be more like Him.
But those things only happen when we use our prayer time well. Those things only happen when we put our focus on God and on the things that He wants. When we do that, when we begin to abide in Him, our prayers become a reflection of who God wants us to be, not a reflection of our wish list for God.
So, how do we help our kids learn to have that kind of prayer time? How do we teach them that praying is more than just asking God for things?
First, we have to lead by example. If our prayers sound similar to our kids' prayers, then we have to change the way we pray. We have to start having authentic communication with God, asking Him to change us so that we can better follow His leading. We have to show our kids how to pray.
Second, we need to give our kids tools to learn to pray. Whether it's a book about prayer for older kids or a simple box of notecards with things to pray about listed on them, our kids need tools to learn to turn their prayer time from a wish list to a time of fellowship with God.
One great tool is these Joy Prayer Cards from Kim over at Not Consumed. Each card contains a scripture about Jesus, someone to pray for, and something to pray for about yourself. These cards are colorful and cute, and they direct your kids' prayers to a deeper level than just "Thank you for today, and thank you for my mom." You can pair them with a pretty journal and cute pen and have a great gift for your kids for Christmas.
Every card is set up to use the acronym JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself), which is a simple system for kids to remember to use even when they don't have the cards. There are four weeks worth of cards, each focused on a different topic: my family, my community, my nation, and my world. You can purchase a set of Joy Prayer Cards here for $4.99, but be sure to enter today's giveaway of a set of these great cards. To enter just leave a comment here or on the Everyday Truth Facebook page.
As you and your family enter this Christmas season, use this opportunity to teach your kids that prayer is more than just a list. Be an example to them of how to have open communication with God. Give them the tools to enrich their own prayer lives. It's a habit you won't regret teaching them.