Prayer is simply an ongoing conversation with God.
by Marlene Halpin, OP
Jesus called us friends, and friends talk to each other anytime about anything. You can help your children understand prayer as an ongoing conversation with God, one that is both talking and listening.
Children (and adults) pray a lot already.
Explain to your children that throughout the day they are already sending prayers up to God. Something gets broken, and the prayer is “Oh, don’t let Mom be too mad!” There’s a test at school: “Please help me do okay!” Grandpa is sent to the hospital: “Please take good care of him.” All of these are prayers. They are honest, they take our needs to God, and they place our trust in God’s love for us.
Children (and adults) can talk with God while doing other things.
One good time is when you first get up in the morning. Some of the best conversations with loved ones happen in the kitchen or in the car. In the same way you and your children visit while chopping up a salad or when running errands, people can talk to God in the middle of their daily routines.
Children can talk with God or sing to him while picking up their clothes or walking the dog. Look for activities that lead naturally to quiet time, such as coloring or playing in the sand. Help your children recognize opportunities to pray with their hearts by letting God know what’s going on inside, heart to heart, while they are working with their hands or feet. Do younger children have a daily nap time? Talking with God can make it more interesting. Why, even those time-outs used for discipline can turn into something meaningful and less stressful because God is invited to sit there too.
Why not pray for others when wrapping gifts for birthdays, graduations, weddings, and baby showers? You and your children can do this together, talking to God about the loved one while you wrap.
We can pray to God anytime because God is paying close attention to us all the time.
Life is full of little opportunities to say “hi” to God and just catch up on what’s happening in life. When your children learn that prayer is simply being with or having a conversation with a constant companion, they will begin to turn to their loving heavenly Father no matter what is happening or how they feel.
You too will notice a huge difference when you simply stay in touch with God throughout the day and discuss life as it happens. Then be quiet a moment with the One whom you know always loves you, no matter what.