So I tell you to ask and you will receive, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive, everyone who searches will find, and the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. (CEV) Luke 11:9-10
Praying with our kids is the best way to demonstrate the importance of prayer. But we have to make sure that we’re praying in the right ways. The Lord’s Prayer contains elements worth thinking about and discussing with your kids. When you have those conversations, talk about more than just what we say when we talk to God—also discuss how we approach the idea of prayer.
In Matthew 6, Jesus begins by telling us to give to the poor—and do other good deeds—in secret. If we proclaim to others our good deeds, our reward will no longer be in heaven, but the praise and admiration of the people who see our good work will be our reward. Jesus promises, “Your Father knows what is done in secret and will reward you” (Matthew 6:4).
Jesus’ discussion then turns to prayer, and again he tells us to do this God-honoring activity in secret (Matthew 6:5-7). The Contemporary English Version (CEV) uses the word “show off” to refer to people who like to attract attention to themselves by doing good works or by praying loudly in public. Jesus says God the Father knows what is done in private and will reward us. God does not like a “show off.” I think this has to do with what God is really interested in: our hearts. He knows our motivation and knows if we do things just to show off, we’re not thinking about God but about ourselves. This is an extremely important factor in learning how to pray, and it’s probably the most difficult lesson to learn—even the religious experts in Jesus’ day had trouble with it!
The Lord’s Prayer has been prayed throughout the varied history of Christianity. In order to teach the Lord’s Prayer to your children, pray it with them at least once each week. Learn one word or phrase each day, and have a celebration when everyone can recite it from memory. Pray aloud in unison with your children, and repeat often, knowing that they will have the Lord’s Prayer as a spiritual practice throughout their lives.
Rev. Tracey Lind sums up the Lord’s Prayer well:
However we translate it, when we pray the prayer that Jesus taught, we ask that God will do the seemingly impossible—make the ordinary holy, make the reign of divine justice and peace a reality, lift up the voices of the oppressed, provide whatever is needed in the moment, forgive those who need to be forgiven (including ourselves), and save us all from the time of trial and temptation.
Explore the why, when, and how to pray with your family. Check out Kids Corner's Faith Practices for Families: Prayer eBook.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article https://familyfire.com/articles/family-blessings-from-the-lords-prayer