Teaching Your Child the Importance of Prayer
Is prayer your steering wheel? Or, is it your spare tyre? How much does your child know about prayer? Perhaps it’s time to focus on this important habit and its benefits for your little one.
By Hannah S Mathew
Prayer is our line of communication with God. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best-seller ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, describes it best when she says, “There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.” Though prayer is a spiritual act, science has some interesting facts to present about prayer.
Neuroscientists have found that certain areas of the brain are more active than others when a person is praying. These areas are not active during any other activity. Also, studies in gerontology have proved that people who pray regularly tend to live longer. In addition to the way in which prayer impacts the brain and the body, it has psychological benefits too.
- When an individual asks God to collaborate with her, it helps reduce levels of stress and anxiety.
- Thanking the Creator for all one enjoys in life creates an attitude of gratitude.
- Praying aloud involves making positive declarations that helps an individual face her day with a positive outlook.
- Praying when one is unwell increases the will to be strong and healthy.
- It also creates a dependence on God, which is a healthy dose of humbleness.
Socially also, an individual is able to adjust better through praying for friends and family members. Praying for others increases the feelings of compassion and love. Praying before others can help overcome shyness. These characteristics are most desirable in any civilised society.
While prayer is often misunderstood to be a desire for heaven’s blessings or imploring for what is lacking, the famous philosopher Kierkegaard expertly sums things up. According to him, “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
Now that you know the important role that prayer plays in our lives, here are a few tips to help you teach your child the importance of saying a prayer.
- Explain the concept of prayer in the simplest terms. Help her understand that praying is all about candidly talking to the Creator in a respectful manner.
- Encourage your child to start praying right from an early age. One way to begin is by asking her to fold her hands before meals and saying ‘Thank you’ to God.
- With time, introduce your child to the idea of bedtime and morning prayers, where he can thank God for the blessings and ask for God's presence during the day.
- There are many theories about God; but, try to not confuse your child with these. Teach him to respect all faiths and give him the opportunity to explore when he grows up.
- Although different religions have different places of worship, tell your child that God is everywhere and that she can pray wherever she is.
- Explain to your child that he can pray about anything because the Creator cares about even the tiniest things that concern him.
- Mother Teresa said that prayer “is the mortar that holds a house together.” Get the family together at least once a day to say a few words to God.
- Model what you would like to see in your child by praying from the heart rather than using a prayer book or prayers learnt by rote.
- There’s no one way to pray. Let your child know that he can sing, mime, speak, write, draw, whisper or dance to communicate with his Creator.
- Do not underestimate the prayers of your little one, make fun of the words she uses or say that they seem silly. Encourage her at every step.
While you teach your child how to pray, also make it clear to her that seeking God’s blessings does not absolve her of her responsibilities or engaging in action.
The Dalai Lama rightfully said that it is “unrealistic to think that the future of humanity can be achieved only on the basis of prayer; what we need is to take action.” Another quote that is in line with Dalai Lama’s thought is that of Bruce Lee. He says, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
Hannah S. Mathew is an Assistant Professor of English, a Freelance Writer, Soft Skills Trainer, Learning Content Developer, Mentor, Diagnostic Counsellor and devoted mom to a teenager.
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