Two-year old Colby stole into his grandmother’s room one night as she prepared for bed.

“Can I sleep with you, Grandma?” he asked.

Unable to resist his big, brown, puppy-dog eyes Glenda said, “Of course.”

Then Colby asked, “Will you read to me?”

Glenda nodded and said, “Just let me say my prayers first.”

Mormon ChildrenKneeling down next to her bed, Glenda began to pray. After thirty-seconds or so she heard Colby whisper, “Grandma, say amen.”

She wasn’t done praying yet, so Glenda continued. This time he whispered louder, “Grandma, say amen.”

Still she prayed. Once again, though now in full voice (I imagine he was concerned she might not have heard him the first two times), Colby said, “Say amen, Grandma.”

Much to Colby’s obvious consternation, Glenda wasn’t quite done praying yet. The next thing she knew he was tapping his tiny fist on her head saying, “Knock, knock. Is anybody home? It’s time to say amen!”

This time, stifling giggles, Glenda said ‘amen.’

When it comes to children, praying is something you hurry up and do, as opposed to having a lovely talk with Heavenly Father. For a two-year old it’s unrealistic to expect anything more than thirty seconds.

How can we make praying a more personal experience for our little ones?

Teach them to picture what Heavenly Father might look like. Does He have a beard? What color is His hair, or His eyes? Does He have wrinkles when He smiles? Is He tall? Short? Visualizing can help them form a stronger bond with Him, rather than the idea of talking to a faceless being. Make sure they understand we don’t really know what He looks like, but we can imagine.

Help them understand He hears every single one of his children pray, no matter what time of the day or where they might be. Does He hear us in the middle of the night, when we’ve had a bad dream? Can He hear us way up in the mountains, or when we’re away from home? Let your child think up some crazy places, emphasizing Heavenly Father really can hear their prayers even in the strangest of places.

As these children grow older it is important to help them realize that, much like talking with a trusted friend or adult, they can talk with their Heavenly Father about anything and everything. He can become a confidant, especially when there seems to be no one else who might understand. He can also provide answers or inspiration that we, as mortals, might not think of ourselves.

Let your children know how loved they are by their Heavenly Father – a billion, trillion times more than their earthly fathers and mothers know how to love. Tell them even when we’ve done some pretty bad stuff He still loves us.

Most of all show your children how to pray through your example. Don’t just kneel down for a minute or so. Have a good talk with your Heavenly Father as well.

Praying to our Heavenly Father is one of our most precious gifts. With our help, children can learn to treasure this gift.

About Laurie W

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