Wendell and Andrea Dailey, friends of ours from Georgia, have heeded the call to be missionaries in their own home. They are diligently teaching their seven children, ages two weeks to 20 years, about God and His salvation plan. Here, Andrea shares with us how they handle teaching their children about prayer, and what it’s meant in their family’s spiritual growth.
One of the greatest joys and the most awesome responsibility I have as a parent is to help my children know their Heavenly Father. We found that one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling our children has been the daily opportunities we have to share the Lord and all the wonders of His creation with our children. Now, not everyone is called to homeschool their children, but we are all called to “train them up in the way they should go” and to teach them with the love and admonition of the Lord. So, how do we go about that?Andrea, thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony. May God richly bless your family as you seek His face!
Our goal is to train our children to be missionaries. It is what the Great Commission is all about - making disciples who will make other disciples and so on. We have found prayer time to be an effective way to open our children’s eyes to the needs around them, and in the process they have begun to reach out to other people because they can see the needs in those lives.
We have an old Easter basket into which we place index cards listing prayer concerns. We have a card for each category of prayer request. Some examples: pregnant women we know, babies who have medical problems, missionaries who we support through prayer and finances (and we have met each of the six for whom we pray - our church supports many more, but we limit it to those that we have actually met), people who have been diagnosed with cancer, our nation and government - including the President and the Speaker of the House and our military - our church and former church, and our lost family members and close friends.
Each day we sing our song(s), read a chapter from the Bible (we divide the verses - good practice for the child learning division - and each takes a turn reading out loud as we go around the table), and then we randomly select cards out of the basket until each card is claimed. Mom starts the prayer (unless Dad is home) and we each pray for the people on the cards in our hands. It has been so neat to watch our children grow in compassion for the different needs that are out there.
We had one friend of a friend whose grandson had tried to kill himself. It was a tragic situation, and we put this boy’s name on the card for health concerns and prayed for him daily. On New Year’s Day, we actually met the grandmother of this boy and got such a wonderful praise report of his physical, mental and spiritual progress. This lady thanked my children for praying for her grandson - and my children got to see how much it meant that they had prayed for this boy. Over and over again we have had people ask me to ask my children to pray for them!
The benefits of corporate prayer go beyond helping my children see other people’s needs. It is also a time where we can be vulnerable before the Lord and our children. When I am struggling, I will often say so during this prayer time. I want my children to see that Christians DO struggle and that we need to take those struggles to the Lord. They have seen what happens when Mom is having a bad morning and then prays about it…and they have witnessed Mom having to repent of her sin. We get to model for our children the way to take all our cares to the Lord. And their fledgling faith has grown stronger for it.
I would encourage families to spend time in prayer - not just for your own needs, but for the needs of others. Begin small - we started just praying for pregnant women. My children started adding cards from there. Even if you can only do it once a week, you will be fostering compassion and the spirit of intercession in your children. They will see that your faith is not something private and hidden, but something that can have a tremendous impact on other people. What a great gift to give your children!