Teaching Our Daughters to Pray Without Ceasing

Friday, February 10, 2017

We all know that prayer is vital to the Christian life. I'm guessing most of you reading this do pray, but how many of us take literally the command to 'pray without ceasing'--and actually put it into practice? Is this even realistic? Is it possible? How do we raise our daughter's to be prayer warriors? How do we teach them to be in close communion with Jesus throughout their day, not just before meals and during devotion time?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 exhorts us to:

 Rejoice always;  pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks;
 for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This has long been my favorite verse in the Bible, as it has so much to say about how we are to live out each day. But if I'm honest, I preach this verse to myself more as a reminder on a gloomy day that I am to be rejoice in the Lord regardless of the gloom. I recite it often to remember to be thankful in all circumstances, for the small things and for each trial and blessing. How is it then, that I gloss over the "pray without ceasing" part? After all, the verse ends with the itty bitty fact that it's GOD'S WILL FOR ME. Yeah, it's pretty significant. I've spent countless hours taking personality quizzes and reading books on how to know if I'm in God's will, hours praying to do his will. Yet, here it is in black and white, spelled out for me in nineteen words. Will I be satisfied doing two thirds of God's will? I'd like to do better in this area, and I'd desperately like to teach my daughters to have fruitful prayer lives.

Three Ways We can Teach our Daughter's to Practice Unceasing Prayer:

1. Pray with her often, both at 'scheduled' times (e.g. after her morning devotions, before meals, as you tuck her into bed), and as situations arise, for example, when she falls down and gets hurt, when siblings are fighting,  or when she comes home from school sad because she got left out. There are countless opportunities to pray with our children!  

2. Use "prayer cues". I heard a sermon on this once and it stuck. Basically, you use things that happen frequently to remind you to pray for specific things. For example, when you hear a siren, pray for the situation, the workers, and all who are involved. Find ways to involve your kids in this! It can be anything! Pray for a different member of the family every time you come to a red light in the car. Or  pray for the neighbor every time his dog barks. Get creative and let your kids help.

3. Let her see you pray, both silently and aloud. We can teach with words all we want, but actions speak volumes louder. The more she sees you pray, mom, the more likely she is to develop it as a habit herself. My kids know if they are up early enough, they have to be quiet and entertain themselves while I finish up my devotion time, which involves using my prayer journal and praying silently. They also hear my husband and I pray together, usually in the morning before he leaves, but also when something pressing is happening and we feel the need to stop what we're doing and pray for a person or situation.

Prayer is certainly a discipline that takes effort! (That's why it's called a discipline I suppose...) But the effort is so worth the outcome of deep seeded peace, closeness with Jesus, the ability to discern good from evil, and answered prayers! Oh how I want my daughters to experience the fullness of a life lived in constant communion with their Creator!

And so I challenge you, dear reader: Take out a pen and paper and jot down some ideas. It's one thing to read about something you want to see happen in your life, and another thing to take action. We're taking action! (I'm doing it too!) If you aren't currently doing much praying with her, write down some times that you could make prayer a regular part of your day. Have your daughter (and any and all of your kids!) and have them brainstorm some prayer cues. Make an effort to let them see you pray alone or with your spouse. Let's make every effort to weave prayer into the very fabric of our lives, and help our daughters along toward being women who pray.



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