Should Children Be Taught to Pray

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Should Children Be Taught to Pray

Toward the end of preparing my heart and mind to be a father, I have decided to make a new blog topic "Parenting/Children". Because I have very little experience and personal wisdom from which to draw, I suspect that this will be more of a quote-laden than my-own-writing-laden topic. Consistent with that expectation, let me direct you to John Piper's position on whether or not children should be taught to pray prior to any profession or evidence of faith. I agree and am excited to implement this as I shepherd my own child's heart.

Yes. I think we should teach our children to pray as soon as they can say anything. The first words they should say are, "Dear Jesus, thank you."

I say this is because I can't discern when a child is being spiritually wrought upon by the Lord. I don't put much stock in children's professions of faith. They seem to come and go. What matters is whether or not they have been born again.

I don't know when a child is born again. I don't assume that a child must become a blatant rebellious unbeliever before he is regenerated. He can start to believe at a young age. And because he can believe at a young age, and because I can't tell precisely when his faith becomes his own and authentic, I don't want to wait too long before I start treating him as a believer.

Also, practically, it seems right to put the vocabulary of prayer into a child's mouth from the very beginning. That way, when his faith is born, he has a whole vocabulary, orientation, and habit that the Lord can use.

It would be very awkward or even cruel to leave your child out of family worship or prayer. You should take his hand around the dinner table and have him bow his head too. You would never tell your child that he isn't included in the prayer because he is a pagan. You can't treat your children that way.

You have to build the disciplines of the Christian life into your children from the beginning, all the while praying that they are going to grow up and mean what they say. They may mean it at age 2. You just don't know.

I would add that it is to God's glory that a believer or non-believer recognizes God, as existing and/or as the provider and sustainer. To teach one to pray is to teach one to express an attitude of dependence. That dependence may not manifest into saving faith until years down the road, but the dependence on and subordinance to God that is expressed, may very well be the seeds that God may grow into faith one day. 

What a wonderful moment it is when Nathan reaches out his little hand and asks to "Pay!"
by: Sarah Martin - 15 Enero '08 - 21:35
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Title: Should Children Be Taught to Pray
Date posted: 14 Enero '08 - 18:20
Category: Parenting/Children
Wordcount: 470 words
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