Begin teaching your children to pray as early as possible. My parents and grandparents took that responsibility very seriously. The first word I learned to spell was Jesus. And
believe it or not, I began trying to pray even before I learned to talk. I had heard my parents praying during their private devotions, and I began imitating the sounds they made. My mother and father were shocked and wondered how that was possible for a child at thirteen months of age. The moral to the story is that your children are observing you too and are influenced by everything you do.
It is fun watching little children as they begin to grasp the art of talking to God. I received a delightful note from a colleague recently who knew I was writing this book. He wrote, "Every evening we pray together with our four-year-old and end by asking him to thank God for anything he wants to mention. The open-ended prayers are often very sweet. Last week he said, 'Thank you God for everything—except germs and mosquitoes.'"
My friend continued, "Riley will often ramble on like a senator engaged in a filibuster, thanking God for the air, the grass, baseball, his dog, his crayons, etc. But last night he was apparently tired, and when I asked him to pray he said, 'No, thank you, Daddy. My mouth has run out of words.'"
Our three-year-old grandson, Lincoln, has an extreme dislike for bedtime, and he thinks up every possible excuse to avoid it. He also wakes up at night and tries to figure out how to get up. A few weeks ago, Lincoln called out to his parents at 3 a.m. He said, "Da-Da, I sick." Ryan came to his bedside and said, "Son, where do you hurt?"
Lincoln pointed to his teeth and said, "Right here."
Ryan told him that he wasn't sick and said he had to stay in bed. The toddler then replied with all seriousness, "Da-Da, let's pray."
Are you praying with your little ones? How about your older children? Don't let the golden opportunities slip away.
Book: Bringing Up Girls
By Dr. James Dobson