Prayer has always been a weak area of my life, although the Spirit has been merciful to send help my way in the past few years! As I grew up, I never got beyond the thrice-daily mealtime prayers and supplication for ailing friends and family. When my friend Christi came to Unity, she began visiting my house every week for prayer time. After admitting to her that I wasn't even sure HOW to pray, she modeled God-pleasing prayer for me. It was a beautiful time that I will always cherish. (Christi, if you are reading this, I miss you!)
Then a few years ago, Kevin purchased "Valley of Vision" for me. I began praying these beautiful Puritan prayers, as well as praying through straight scripture. I studied the Lord's Prayer after an issue of Table Talk was devoted to that subject. And I also began writing down my own prayers, in short sentences, to focus my thoughts and make an attempt at giving God my best words.
This has become an important practice for me to teach my children. From the time they were very young, we prayed with them. Kevin prays over each child every single night when he tucks them into bed. After growing tired of my children's desire to chant "God is great" at every meal, I worked out this little bit:
Our Father in heaven,
Make Your name holy.
Bring us Your kingdom,
Provide for our needs.
Forgive all our sins,
Help us forgive others,
And when we are tested
Protect us from evil.
But sometimes...more often than not...THEY DON'T WANT TO PRAY! If I tell them I will help them, they still shake their heads. The eldest is the instigator, I am certain. If this little one would be compliant, the "youngers" would follow. But I do not feel it is wise to say, "yes, you ARE praying!" Usually I do not make a big deal out of it and I pray instead, being careful to include something to the effect of, "God, help Katie and Owen WANT to talk to You."
Also, since we are on the subject, I will type out a prayer I wrote for my children based on the prayer of Christ in John 17. (Yes, yes, I know this isn't a parallel application, but I found it to be helpful in my own life since Christ was praying for those under His care.)
You have given my children to me, and they belong to You. Help me to manifest (show plainly, clearly, obviously) Your name to them, to make Your name known to them, and to continue to make Your name known to them. May these little ones come to know You not only intellectually, but also with affection and commitment. Keep them in Your name that they may be one, and that by their unity the world will believe that Christ was sent by You.
Assist me in giving to these children Your words of truth. Cause them to receive these words and know in truth that You sent Christ. Sanctify (set apart for holy service) me for their sake, and sanctify them in truth, for Your word is truth.
Burden me to pray for my children. Keep them from evil, and impress upon my heart an urgency in guarding them.
May they have Christ's joy fulfilled in themselves. Amen.