Teaching my children the importance of prayer and how to pray have always been a top priority for me. If we desire for our children to one day attain eternal joy – then Heaven should be our ultimate goal for them. Every goal has a path that needs to be taken in order to achieve it.
If Heaven is the goal – Prayer is the path.
As a mom of 5 children, ages ranging from 2 -19, I have tried several different ways over the years to engage my children in their faith life and to encourage them to develop their own personal relationship with God through prayer. My newest idea is a Prayer Box. The Prayer Box is a specific place where they can keep all of the items that they use during their personal prayer time. My kids had so much fun making these boxes and they love using them!
Pick out a container with a handle (for easy transport) and a lid (to hopefully ensure that nothing falls out.) Make sure it is large enough to accommodate a Bible, a rosary, a prayer journal and a few prayer books and holy cards.
Let your child decorate the container with permanent markers (supervise this activity as permanent markers are of course PERMANENT!! -Permanent on the wall, on the table, on clothes -you get the idea! ) Have each child write their name somewhere on the container. The container can be decorated with stickers, Bible verses, quotes from the saints, drawings, etc. Let your child use their imagination!
Have your child fill his/her Prayer Container.
Favorite Holy Cards
Other Possibilities (depending on the age of the child):
Prayer Bear ( younger children)
Christian Coloring Book
A List of Prayer Intentions (to encourage them to pray for others)
A Thankful List (a thankful heart is a happy heart ❤)
What else? Be creative!
Ask your Parish priest to bless your child’s Prayer Box and the contents within. This is a step that adds not only the special blessing, but it reaffirms the importance of prayer to your child. Hopefully your parish priest will take a few moments to engage your child in asking them questions about what they put in their box and why. It is kind of like show and tell with a priest!
Encourage your child to have their own daily personal prayer time. Let them know that Jesus waits for them day and night and that He longs for them to have a deep, personal relationship with Him.
Utilize the Prayer Boxes. My children take their prayer boxes to different rooms in the house, to various places in our yard, to the park, to Eucharistic Adoration, etc. The possibilities are endless. Teach your child that prayer is a conversation with Jesus and that it can take place anywhere. They don’t need to always have their box with them -it is just an engaging, fun way to encourage their prayer life and a convenient place to keep their important religious items.
St. John Paul II reminds us about the necessity for and the power of prayer:
“Prayer gives us strength for great ideas, for keeping up our faith, charity, purity, generosity; Prayer gives us strength to rise up from indifference and guilt, if we have had the misfortune to give into temptation and weakness. Prayer gives us light by which to see and to judge from God’s perspective and from eternity. That is why you must not give up on praying!”
– St. John Paul II
How do you encourage your children to pray? What do you do to support their prayer life? I would love to hear your ideas!