Today I am BEYOND thrilled to have Jeannie Cunnion guest posting at Happy Home Fairy! Jeannie got in touch with me after reading my post called The Grace Response. We made an instant connection and she offered to send me a copy of her book, Parenting the Wholehearted Child. As soon as it arrived, I dove right in and LET ME TELL YOU – this book is seriously my new favorite. Jeannie offers so many practical ideas to point our kids (and our mama’s heart) to Christ – I think I must have highlighted every single page. One part that stood out to me in particular, however, was Jeannie’s encouragement on teaching kids how to pray. I love her simple model for prayer that children AND adults can use to draw closer to Jesus. Take it away, Jeannie!
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A prayer I pray often is simple.
Motherhood will do that to you. Because God doesn’t just work through us to shape our kids. He also works through them to shape us!
And the deeper into mothering I get with three boys, the more praying I do.
I pray, not because it always changes the situation, but because it changes me.
I need God. I need the power of God, working in me and through me so that I can be a reflection of His love to my kids. And I need the grace of God, working in me and through me when I fail to be a reflection of His love to my kids (which, let’s be real, is often)!
Teaching our children how to pray is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.
And while praying, “Lord, help!” is a wonderful prayer to teach our kids, it’s only the beginning.
So what else can we teach and model for our kids when it comes to prayer?
For starters, our kids will be thankful to know that prayer is something we can do anytime, about anything.
Prayer isn’t just for blessing the food or asking God to keep us safe while we sleep.
We can encourage our kids to pray before they start their day to ask God for his blessing and guidance.
As they go about their day, they can pray when they sin or make a bad choice and they want to ask for forgiveness, when they feel happy or see something beautiful and they want to give thanks, when they need help controlling themselves and they need God’s strength, or when they feel sad or scared and they need God’s comfort.
And they can pray as they lay their head on their pillow at night, giving all of their fear and worry over to Him.
This is huge! Our kids must know that there is no request too big, no feeling too bad, no shame too great, and no feeling too unworthy to express in prayer.
We can come before God with honesty, with our struggles, and even with our doubts, and He will receive us with open arms.
Prayer is not telling God what we think He wants to hear, nor is it telling Him anything He doesn’t already know.
Prayer is getting real with God.
We never have to fear his rejection!
Friend, if praying is new to you, or maybe you are just struggling to lead your kids in prayer, I want to share with you one of my favorite ways to pray with our boys.
We use four simple words to guide us in prayer in the evening:
“Wow, Sorry, Thanks, and Please.”
(Throughout the day you’ll find us praying any portion of this prayer, particularly the “sorry” one, as we are a family who messes up a lot but also seeks forgiveness a lot. If we know anything, it’s that the grace of God never runs dry.)
It looks a little something like this:
Wow – We acknowledge how amazing God is. It might sound something like “God you are so loving. God you are so powerful. God you are so generous.” Or as my youngest son recently said, “God you are my hero!”
Sorry – We confess our sins and receive God’s endless forgiveness.
Thanks – We thank God for everything He has given us for daily life and everything He did for us in giving us His one and only Son Jesus.
Please – We present our needs and worries and fears and hopes for ourselves and others before Him.
It’s a wonderful way to end the day with our children. Not only does it help each of us grow in our relationship with God, but it also gives me a window into their souls. Listening to the thoughts of their hearts is my favorite part of the day.
***This post is an edited excerpt from Parenting the Wholehearted Child.
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I have been teaching my own boys this simple model for prayer and posted a photo about it on Facebook HERE. Happy Buddy now begins all of his prayers with, “Wow, God!” :-)
Y’all, I love sharing the things that I love and Jeannie’s book is at the top of the list. If you are trying to find just one Christian parenting book that has it all – THIS IS IT! I know you will love Jeannie’s heart and be inspired to share the Lord’s sweet grace with your kiddos in fresh and practical ways. You can buy it on Amazon HERE.
Thank you, Jeannie, for being a part of Happy Home Fairy today!