You amy have a child with whom you are struggling. When appropriate, kneeling in prayer with the child could have a much greater impact than anything you might say in resoning with him or her. Children need to see prayer in action. They need to feel it. Then comes the witness (of the Holy Spirit), which is so important.
I have often said something to missionaries that also applies to parents. The primary objective of a missionary is to provide a spiritual experience to the investigator. Similarly, the single greatest thing you can do for your…children…is to give them a spiritual experience. Help them to experience the Spirit with you, and then teach them how to have the experience alone….it’s worth more than all the instruction you could provide on the subject…(pg. 43-44)
Gene R. Cook was the area Seventy in my mission (for those who are not familiar with the LDS, or Mormon structure, the seventies are similar to the structure found in the book of Acts where the Apostles appoint people (seventies) to oversee geographical areas of the Church). He shared similar stories with us and taught us how to teach people to experience God on our lives through teaching them to pray by kneeling down with them. I had many great experiences on my mission by doing this.
Of all the experiences I’ve been able to share with teaching people about prayer, the one I had with my little 2 1/2 year old daughter the other night was one of my favorites.
She was scared and said there were monsters in her room. She was sobbing uncontrollably and I first tried reasoning with her. That wasn’t working at all. Then I remembered Gene R. Cook’s words in his book and also on my mission and I asked her to fold her arms and pray with me. I told her I would say the words and then she could repeat them. She said, in her cute little voice “alright”. We prayed. It was a simple prayer. I said things like “please take the monsters away” and “bless I’ll be calm” and after a few moments I felt the Holy Spirit enter into my heart. As I felt the Spirit, I could notice a change in her physically as well. She relaxed and sighed relief.
After the prayer was over, I asked if she felt better. She nodded and then I told her that she can pray to Heavenly Father anytime she’s scared and He will take away the fear and replace it with good things. She smiled and said “alright” and then snuggled down and within a few minutes was asleep.
What a miracle!
I’m so grateful for the power of faith and prayer and that God will answer the simplest prayers. I know that if we strive to incorporate prayer in with leading our families that the Lord will guide us as parents and the Holy Spirit will help us more than we could ever do on our own.
Do you have any experiences with prayer and your children that you feel would be helpful for other readers?