I ask, “Why stop?” If this is not just a formal ritual of saying the same words every night, but rather a time of praying for specific needs of our children, then why would we ever stop?!
Some nights we pray for our children as a group and other nights we pray with them individually. If I try to pray for the group and a child has a greater need, they will not hesitate to say, “Mom, can you come pray for me some more?” As I come near to them they fill me in on their greater need or concern and I pray again.
This is not saying that nightly prayers are another must do to earn God’s favor. Instead, if we are to pray without ceasing, it is the wrapping up of a day of fellowship with our Jesus.
Duet.6: 6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Bed time is a wonderful time to connect with our children. Prayer is a way of turning a child’s thoughts to the Lord. Many children become anxious at bedtime, prayer can calm their anxious hearts.
Even in their teens, if our children are going to struggle with their emotions it is going to be when they are tired. Many a night has felt overwhelming with hurt feelings or worries about tomorrow. A good night sleep will certainly help, but snuggling in prayer before they lay down will bring with it sweet rest.
Psalm 4:8 “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 127: 2b “for He grants sleep to those He loves.”
The God of peace is with us as we pray, He too is tucking in our children and granting them sleep.
So instead of dropping bedtime prayer, how about adding morning prayer.
Psalm 5:3 “Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
When my children were small and they would jump into bed with me while I finished my Bible reading, they would also listen as I prayed. After I finished I would ask if they wanted to pray, sometimes they would and other times they would pass.
As part of our Bible time each morning we pray together out loud. Each day holds its own difficulties and stresses, so we cry for help.
Psalm 5: 2 “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray.”
Teaching our children to lean on the Lord is the greatest gift we can give them. As they grow older we shouldn’t be looking to drop prayer times, but rather add more.