How Do Children View Prayer?

While reviewing prayer resources for parents, I ran across Syble MacBeth’s research. Back in 2009 she was so concerned; she interviewed 400 children about prayer. She found children in today’s world responded in one of these basic ways:

“I’m tired of the same old prayers, I’ve said since preschool.”

“I can’t wait until prayer time is over.”

“When I pray, I wonder if God is listening or even cares.”

“Most of the time I can’t think of any words to say. I want to like praying, but it just feels like another chore to do.”

I start to pray, but realize that I’m really thinking about tomorrow’s soccer game, a friend’s sleep over or my homework.”

Based on these children’s responses, it is easy to see that the traditional methods we are using to teach children to pray, are not working.

In the Prayers from the Heart workshops that I host, several groups of parents and I explored 287 resources available for parents today. Here is a list of what we found in the resources available today:

  • Books with beautiful pictures and great stories
  • Entertaining games
  • Exciting music and videos
  • Great arts and crafts ideas
  • Food coordinated with the lesson topic
  • Well-designed mission projects
  • Prayers written by an adult

These activities have been designed to be fun and hold children’s attention. They are wonderful, but do not address the need for a NEW method to teach our children how to build a meaningful prayer-life.

With this background, it is no surprise that Christian researchers have found the following:

  • 80% of youth raised in Christian churches, leave their faith permanently each year without a relationship with God, their Father.
  • Currently peers tell each other “If it feels good, do it.” And “Life is about me” (not God).
  • Another outcome is when Christian youth self-report their thoughts and actions, they do not differ from non-Christian youth in their values and actions. (Barna, 2010).

This and other research alarmed me. Our youth appear to have lost sight of God. While we cannot control the 1000’s of distractions and temptations our youth face each day, we CAN help God’s children build a strong prayer life to meet the challenges in today’s world.

We need a radical change!

Prayers from the Heart uses thinking questions to create an on-going relationship between God and each child. These prayer-times can change the lives of our children and teach them to put God first in their lives.

As I continue to research and build the Prayers from the Heart resource, I have become more and more aware of how great this need is. I have also realized I cannot do it alone. I have learned the truth in the old proverb, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Will you join me, supporting me in prayer, sharing with others, and other resources to help the Prayers from the Heart program reach all the children in need?

© All Rights Reserved 2018 • Cherlyn Sunflower
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Jan 15, 2020 | Category: Parents | Comments: 2 | Tags:


2 Responses to “How Do Children View Prayer?”

  1. I have tried for prayer times. It gets easier and easier each time.

    • Michelle Thompson says:

      Yes as you use the prayers-times you and your child will get into a comfortable routine, and your child will feel like the prayers are more meaningful. Most children start looking forward to this special time with you.

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