Do your children know how to pray?
Posted Sunday, January 20 2013 at 14:06
TENDING THE SEEDLINGS. It is easy to take prayer for granted and write it off as something your children will learn at school, however as a parent, irrespective of your faith you need to guide them on how to speak to the creator.
While growing up, my grandmother made it a point to teach me how to pray. She would call me to be around whenever it was prayer time whether day or night and would make sure that we went together to church. Reciting the rosary in the village was also part of the prayer classes.
At seven years, she registered me for catechism classes so that I would be able to learn more about God and to talk to him in different ways. I came to realise later that prayer is a shield that can help one to overcome problems and horrible situations in life.
Rev. Fr. Gerald Migadde, Champlain, Kitovu Cathedral parish, Masaka diocese, believes that the best prayer lesson to children is through the parents’ examples. Once prayer is introduced in a child’s life, he or she can communicate verbally, and they can learn to pray on their own even in the parent’s absence.
“Be sure that children understand that prayer is a conversation with God the father, so it should be held with respect, for He has unending love and power which we can get through our own spoken words,” says the cleric.
He quotes a scripture in Matthew 6: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think that their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.”
In other words, we need not pray with any formula but to speak to God in our own words that draw us closer to him. In most cases, children can start practicing or learning how to pray with the Lord’s prayer, “Our Father” at an appropriate age since it is short and easy to learn.
Rev.Fr. Migadde however, says the other way to teach children about prayer is by example. “It is better to pray in front of the children to let them adopt the interest and desire of prayer without being forced. While praying for different needs, let them know that God wants us to come to him whole heartedly,” he notes.
Parents should let the children know that there is no set length to a certain prayer. Such prayers are meant to show the children that God is interested in all aspects of our lives.