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Connecting your child to Jesus

Children of all ages need to be covered in prayer. In this world, the enemy attempts to blind our children to the reality of God’s love for them. We, as parents and their loved ones, can make a difference in their lives by praying for them daily. With hearts that are set on God, armoured with God’s Word, we can pray for our children and their schools to be transformed by Christ.

Children spend a lot of time at school. Their time at school can be either a joy and delight, or it can be stressful. Contributing factors are their interpersonal relationships and how they think or feel they are coping with their schoolwork. We need to pray for them and specifically for the effect that the school community and the content of the curriculum can have on their lives. We also need to encourage children to pray for their teachers, friends and their schoolwork.

During their school career, children need to know that they are valued for who they are and not just for the results that are seen on a report card at the end of every school term. Their God-given talents, purpose and their identity in Christ should be affirmed daily. We need to surround them with love, care and support and always remind them of God’s kingdom and His kingdom values.

Children can pray… The age of a child and their experience will determine how able they are to pray. However, listen to the prayers of a child concerning someone or something that is close to their heart, and you will hear the fervency with which they can pray.

 

Teach young children to connect to Jesus in prayer

1. Basic words
The first words we teach our children are ‘Mom’, ‘Dad’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’. These words are the building blocks of every child’s ability to communicate with their parents, the ones who keep their world together. In the same way, we can teach our children to say these words to our Father in heaven.

 2. Teach your children that we have a Father in heaven.
The first prayer we are taught to know by heart is the prayer Jesus taught His disciples. It is the most comprehensive prayer. Say this prayer in the presence of your children often. They will soon copy every word.
Scripture reference: Matthew 6:9-13

3. Teach your children that we can make requests to our Father in heaven.
Allow your children to hear how you express your needs before the Lord. These prayers can include your basic needs, healing for a loved one, etc. Allow them to also ask of the Lord in prayer. Teach them that God does not always give us what we want, but what is best for us. Some children are more confident to pray out loud than others. Bear this in mind and allow them to express their prayers creatively – younger ones can ‘draw’ their prayers and older children can write their prayers to God. The latter can also be used to introduce your older child(ren) to keep a prayer journal.
Scripture reference: Matthew 7:7-11

4. Giving thanks
Reading portions of Scripture that speak of thankfulness and praise give children an idea of how we can give thanks to God. Psalm 150 is such an example and can be accompanied by homemade instruments. To get young children to reflect on the day and express gratitude unto God you can ask them what made them smile or happy and ask them to name these things in prayer.
Scripture reference: Luke 17:11-19

 5. Ask forgiveness
Following the question above, you can also lead the children in asking them if they had any moments throughout the day that made them unhappy. This can lead to conversations about forgiveness, feeling angry, lonely, etc. Teach them from Scripture what the Lord requires of us and how to confess our wrongs to our Heavenly Father.
Scripture reference: Matthew 6:12

 

Practical ideas for children to remain connected to God

Young children are creative, and we need the wisdom of God to find creative ways to stimulate them into readily talking to God. As they grow up their games change, and their friendships deepen. Their relationship with God also changes. We need to encourage our children to enjoy the presence of God and to have a meaningful and lasting relationship with Him – a relationship that will become central to their lives and will remain strong as they grow up.

1. Declaration from Scripture
Teach your child 3 or 4 phrases from Scripture that speak of their identity in Christ, that they can declare as they walk or drive to school every morning.

Examples:
I will not be afraid for God is with me (Joshua 1:9).
I am fearfully made (Psalm 139:14).
In Christ, I am chosen and loved (Ephesians 1:4).
In Christ, I can do all things (Philippians 4:13).

2. Prayer groups
If there is not a group at the school, children can speak to the teacher about starting one. Moms can also establish prayer groups and do prayer walks around the school regularly.

3. School objects
School objects can be used to formulate short or simple prayers throughout the day.

Examples:
Schoolbag: Lord, thank You that I do not have to carry any burdens, but I can cast them on You (1 Peter 5:7).
Eraser: Thank You, Lord, for erasing my mistakes when I ask Your forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Textbook: Lord, I find ______(subject)  difficult. I ask for Your wisdom to help me understand (James 1:5).

 

Bless your child

You can use the following acronym to bless your children daily:

 S-C-H-O-O-L Acronym

Self-control and Servanthood
Pray for your child to control what he/she says and does, and to make his/her thoughts subject to the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23). Pray for your child to serve his/her teacher and friends in practical ways (Matthew 20:26).

Call on God and Calling of God
Pray for your child to call on God in prayer; for him/her to abide in Christ and for the words of Jesus to abide in him/her (John 15:7). Ask the Lord to lead your child to recognise, grow and live out his/her God-given calling, even as a youth (Jeremiah 1:5-7)

Holiness and  Hopefulness
Pray for your child to be aware of God’s holiness, and for a desire to walk in purity (1 Peter 1:1-16). Ask the Lord to enable your child to spread hope (Romans 5:5).

Overcome evil
Ask the Lord to use your child to proclaim His greatness and thus overcome the evil one (Psalm 8:2; 127:3-5).

Opportunities to do good
Pray for your child not to grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).

Love God and Love people
Pray for your child to love God with his/her innermost being and love others as himself/herself (Mark 12:30-31)

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