Recently, a friend asked if I let my kids see me pray. My response? Heck yeah! But her question made me wonder how many other Christian parents do the same. It's a shame if they don't, because small children love to imitate their parents. Older kids may not openly imitate us, but they remember what they've seen, and as they grow, they tend to either stick to it or go back to it. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on how you should let your kids see you pray.
1. Instead of praying silently, speak your prayers throughout the day. One exception to this rule is praying about your kids. You don't want to spend a lot of time speaking prayers like, "Lord, please help this kid learn to be respectful!" Once in a while this may be okay, but kids will begin to think your prayers are a way to manipulate them if you do this too often.
2. Let your kids see you humble yourself before God and pray on your knees. Only you know where this is most appropriate. I occassionally do this in the same room as my kids, but mostly I do it in my bedroom - but I leave the door open. This seems most natural - and not showy - to me.
3. Let your kids hear you praying praise. This is pretty easy once you put your mind to it. Any chore, for example, can be a chance to praise God. For example, if you're weeding, you could thank God for the miracle and the wonder of plants, which grow from tiny seeds into things we can eat or enjoy looking at. Or, if you're cleaning the windows, you could thank God for your cozy home with windows that let in the light, yet don't let in the cold or heat. Praying during chore time also fosters thankfulness, which is always a great thing.
4. Let your kids hear you ask for godly character. For example, if you're feeling impatient, speak a prayer asking God, in his mercy, to grant you more patience.
5. Let your kids hear you pray for others. It's so easy to pray only for ourselves or our immediate family, so be sure to speak prayers for friends, the Church, passers by, martyrs around the world, etc.