Explaining prayer can seem like a daunting task. After all, you’re telling a person about communicating with Someone they cannot see, feel, or touch, Someone who most likely won’t talk back in an audible voice (though it would be pretty cool if that happened). Fortunately, children have vivid imaginations and a great deal of faith, so it really isn’t that difficult to convey the concept to them.
For example, we talk to Grandma on the phone across the country – she can’t see you talking to her, but she can hear you! We send letters and emails to people and believe they read them because they send letters and emails back.
Praying is much the same; even though we can’t see God, we know he hears us and will respond. The Bible assures us in 1 John 5:14 that when we approach God, he hears and answers us. Read Genesis 25:21, Exodus 8:29–31, 2 Chronicles 32:24, or Acts 10:4 – the Bible is full of examples of God answering the prayers of his people.
Prayer is our communication system with God. We talk to him and he talks to us. Encourage your child to tell God the things that are happening each day, just as he or she would to a friend or parent. God is eager to hear us tell him the things that hurt us, make us happy, or that we’re concerned about (Ephesians 6:18).
God, like every conversation partner, wants to communicate back to us, so we must listen. God gave us the Bible so we can hear what his voice sounds like. When we have a thought, dream, song, or picture that “sounds” like God, we can compare it to Scripture and make sure it was him.
We get to know friends better as we ask questions and hear their answers. It’s the same with our heavenly Father: he longs to communicate his desires, to tell us what he enjoys, and what hurts his heart or disappoints him. Through listening and prayer, we cooperate with God in his plan.
Prayer doesn’t always have to be spoken words. We can sing, dance, write, act, or say our prayers without any words coming out of our mouths. Conversations with our Creator can happen in so many ways, and we can encourage our children to explore all of them! Prayer is an intimate and wonderful part of our relationship with God.