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Pray With Young Children

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Read the suggestions of parents like you who have found ways to help encourage their children's developing prayer life.

Some people think that infants and toddlers are too young to pray, but they’re not. Here are ways that other parents like you have incorporated prayer time with young children into their busy lives:

Timeout Prayers

I want to teach my toddler that actions have consequences, but I also want to guide her heart in
understanding the greater lessons of repentance and obedience. An effective way to teach my toddler
these big lessons has been through a small timeout prayer.

At the end of every short timeout, we say a prayer. The format is simple and the same every
time:

  1. My daughter asks Jesus to forgive the offense.
  2. She asks Jesus to help her next time. We brainstorm a way she can choose a better response.
  3. She ends by thanking Jesus for forgiveness, and I give her a hug to affirm that she is loved and
    forgiven.

—Beth Sickel

Prayer Habits

Praying with children can begin as early as birth.

  • Hold your baby, say grace and then nurse
  • Pray aloud for God’s peace when your infant is fussy.
  • Ask for God’s healing as you care for any bumps or scrapes your child receives.
  • Use “prayer talk” in daily life. If your child sees a dog, say, “God made dogs. Thank you, God, for dogs,” and soon he’ll echo your words.
  • Draw a heart on bandages with a permanent marker to remind children that God is the one who heals.

—Karen H. Whiting

Family Prayers

My husband prayed, “Dear God, thank You for this meal,” and continued until our 2-year-old squirmed, 9-year-old poked at his broccoli and 12-year-old looked bored. Our task was to get our toddler to sit still and involve the other kids in prayer.

“Dad,” our 9-year-old said, “when you pray, it sounds like church. I thought grace was short.”

My husband, who is a minister, was not used to giving really short prayers, but he promised to make the next one shorter. “Or, better yet,” he said, “let’s all take turns saying grace.”

I knew the two older boys would say really short prayers. That would help keep our toddler from moving too much, and the older boys would be engaged and more interested in prayer time.

As our family began to take turns praying, we eventually found the best way to include our toddler. We had everyone hold hands. That kept him from squirming and included him in the prayer.

—Su Wright

Family Prayer

Take small pieces of paper, and write names of 20 to 50 people you know. Some you will know well and some not as well. Try to include all the people who surround your children’s lives.

Fold the papers in half and put them in a bowl in the middle of the table. Every time you have a meal, let one child pick a paper from the bowl. Then, as a family, pray for that person, thanking God for the work that person does, how he or she affects your family’s lives and the pleasure you have in knowing him or her.

If your little ones are not talking yet, you can teach them “thank you” in sign language. Have them touch the tips of their fingers to their chin, move their fingers two inches away from their chin and then raise their right arm to heaven, which is the sign for “God.” In this way, even young children can thank God for the people in their lives.

Include People You Know
Mothers
Fathers
Siblings
Friends
Teachers
Pastors
Neighbors
Baby sitters

Include People You Don’t Know Well
Mail carrier
Lifeguard
Librarian
Trash collector
Bank teller
People on your street
Newspaper deliverer
Grocery store cashier

—Chris Brack

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You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

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Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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