At the beginning of this school year, Bennett entered 3K Sunday school. Prior to this, she really just went to a nursery for the two hours while we were at church every Sunday. However, she now gets to play for an hour, and then go to her Sunday school class where they sing and learn about the Bible through books, arts and crafts and prayer. Speaking of prayer, her four teachers gave us an outline of what "favorite" Bible stories they would learn this year, in addition to the "Lord's Prayer." When we heard that she would learn all of this, I was impressed.
Steve and I pray with Bennett every night. We started off with the simple "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" prayer. But then I started a "Praying Moms" class at church, where we read and discussed the book "Children and Prayer" over the course of several months. With everyone in the class being a mother to small children, we had a lot in common. We discussed the various ways we prayed with our children, and one of the biggest things I took away from the class was that we need to let our children pray from their heart. We are to give them instruction, and ideas on how to pray and why we pray for others, and why we thank the Lord for all that he has blessed us with, but then stop there.
When I first started trying it out, Bennett and I would take turns praying. I might start with a prayer of thanksgiving, and then pray for someone. Many times she didn't know who the people were that I was praying for, and she would ask. After I explained each of their circumstances to her, she began to pray for them on her own. Some of these people have situations that are affecting them that are easier for her to understand, so she wants to pray for them. However, if she is tired, she may only pray for family or something that is fresh on her mind. When we have lots of time though, and are sitting up praying, we can go on and on.
This more relaxed method of praying is supposed to help the children feel comfortable speaking to God, and give them the confidence to pray to him as adults. I can't say that I lead a perfect life (far from it really), but I do feel I have a relationship with God, and I want nothing more than my children to experience that as well. The first time I heard her say "The Lord's Prayer," I was so proud of her, and I just smiled so big. She knew I was proud, and now she wants to pray it every night (which is fine by me). I have been meaning to get this recorded. She doesn't have it down perfectly yet, but it is perfect to us. Enjoy!