Teach Us To Pray-

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

This verse introduces the Lord’s Prayer. We learn it. We teach it to our children. But do we pray it for them and with them?

When we don’t know how to pray for our children, Jesus says, “When you pray, say this.”

Many years ago, I found myself at a loss of how to pray for my wandering, angry son. I asked the Lord what to pray. His Spirit clearly directed me to His words He had taught His disciples to pray. Loving my son and longing for his redemption, I began to pray that he would know God as his Father (Our Father), and that God’s name would find a holy place in my son’s heart and mind (Hallowed be they name). I followed the line of Jesus’s prayer, asking that God would put His Kingdom and His will in the heart of my child, making him ever mindful that all his needs were and would be provided from God’s hand (give us this day).

The Lord’s prayer directed me through every step, praying that Jeffrey would not only seek forgiveness but be given the great gift of forgiveness for others. Finally, praying for his deliverance from evil and protection from temptation was at the very center of my heart and began to calm my fears as I prayed Jesus’s words for him.

My journaled prayer is written down. “Father, be a Father to Jeffrey; one that he knows is perfect in every way, and one who will never leave him or fail him. Give him reason to speak Your name as he holds it sacred in his mind and heart. Give Jeffrey faith to ask You for all that he needs and to be thankful always for all that You provide. Forgive him, lead him to confess and ask forgiveness, and grant him the ability to forgive others, setting him free from anger and bitterness. Put your protection all around him, do not allow the enemy to get a foothold in his life or home. Be glorified in and through his life and his family, in Jesus’s name.”

Jesus truly taught us, taught me, how to pray. I began to share this experience with parents and church leaders, encouraging them to use the perfect model for prayer when making petition for our children. It covers all that we need to say, and as we pray, we come to understand that Jesus meant what He said, “When you pray, say this.” He did not say, “Here’s a place to start,” or “here are a few guidelines.”

These truths should not only encourage us to pray the Lord’s prayer for our children, but also aid us in teaching them how to pray using Jesus’s very words. Jesus’s disciples watched and heard Him pray; He modeled His teaching, and they became men of prayer. So let it be with our children. We must guard against just reading them books and teaching lessons on prayer without filling our days with examples and exercises in prayer. Resist talking and teaching about prayer more than you actually pray for and with your children. Wind prayer into every storyline of your life, stopping often to intentionally pray for a person, a need, a situation. Teaching your children to pray will teach you more than you ever thought you could know. God hears and He answers. You can pray with your eyes open, on your knees, as you run, when you cook, when you cry, when you rest, hold and hug.

Prayer is our greatest weapon in this war against Satan. Praying without ceasing, we will find that we are becoming weapon specialists, sharp shooters, master marksmen, as we shape, sharpen, and aim the arrows in our quivers.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! – Psalm 127:4-5a

Children, blessings, prayer—all about the Kingdom. “His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen.

Sue Jakes is mother of 4, grandmother of 11, and lives in Atlanta, GA, where she serves as Children’s Ministry Ambassador for the Presbyterian Church in America’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries. She has served as director of children’s ministry at Covenant PCA in Fayetteville, GA, and as children’s director at Westminster PCA in Atlanta. She has been teaching children, youth, and women’s groups in the church for over thirty-five years. Sue is co‑author of “Heart of the Home,” a Bible Study ministry for moms and Teach Me To Worship, CDM’s children’s church online curriculum