We don’t often think of Prayer and Praise as a habit to be trained. However, like Thoughts of God, prayer and praise can become second nature to us, to our children, if we make them a regular part of our day.
Anything we do regularly or continually can be considered a habit. And there is no better habit to develop than that of prayer and praise—the continual speaking to, consulting and thanking the Lord who is with us and in us.
LONGINGS OF THE SOUL
Prayer and praise come out of the longings of our heart—the longings of the soul God gave us to commune with Him. That deep longing we all have, even our children, to be loved unconditionally. To be accepted completely by the God who made us.
In fact, prayer and praise are the language of the soul. Every soul knows this language, even the soul of babes in arms.
Charlotte Mason says,
“Every soul is a ‘living soul,’ a fully developed, full-grown soul.”
God created our children’s soul fully able to communicate with Him. He gave us each, from the moment of conception, an ageless soul. A soul of which He’s the author and the only One who can satisfy its longings.
Our soul is eternal. It was created to commune with God, and our soul knows this better than we do. The Divine Life in us testifies to this truth.
And it’s because our children possess an eternal soul created by God that we must always treat them as persons—not as undeveloped humans in need of our constant shaping and molding.
HUNGER FOR GOD
Charlotte Mason tells us,
“The soul of man is for God, as God is for the soul. The soul has one appetite, for the things of God; breathes one air, the breath, the Spirit of God; has one desire, for the knowledge of God; one only joy, in the face of God.”
Our children’s true hunger in life is for God. They want Him most, even if they don’t recognize it. If our children cry for some other thing, it is because they’re seeking to fill the void with something other than God.
We do this, too, which is why we often experience a sense of dissatisfaction, loneliness, emptiness or defeat. We have a God shaped hole in our heart that only God can satisfy. Only He can fill that emptiness in our soul. And when we seek Him, He will be found by us.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
The soul that finds satisfaction in the Lord is at peace. It is not anxious, fretful, unsure or dissatisfied.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14
TEACH THEM THE TRUTH
So what does that mean for us as parents? It means that our job—our most important job as mother and father—is to present this truth, the need for God and God alone, to our children. We don’t have to be eloquent or convincing because the eternal soul in our children will readily understand and embrace this truth.
The Holy Spirit, the Divine Life inside our child, is always at work to align our children with God. Our job is simply to show them the way. To tell them how very great God’s love for them is. To teach them how to connect with this God who, as Charlotte Mason says, “never ceases to smile upon me.”
A child who has learned early that God delights in him and delights to listen to his prayers will find it easy to speak to and hear from their heavenly Father. In fact, I believe the faith our children have toward the Father is often far greater than the faith we have. They don’t wrestle with doubt and pride.
The simple faith of a child delights the Lord.
“Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
So, how do we help our children develop the habit of prayer and praise?
NURTURE AND MODEL A GODWARD FOCUS
First and foremost, we must nurture this Godward focus in ourselves. We must model it for our children.
Is your heart continually focused on the Lord and His Truth, on His Love and His promises for you? Do you bring all things to Him out loud in front of your children?
Or are you most focused on the issues of the day?
Do your children see your dissatisfaction, your worries, your anxieties? What are you modeling for your children?
Choose to deliberately focus on the Lord in every situation.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2
How do we know if we are truly focused on God? The evidence is found in the peace we feel. The deep inner peace God brings to those who know Him and believe His Word.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Do you understand that God is for you? He does not look at your faults. He looks at you and sees you as you will be when you are seated with Him in the heavenlies. He sees your eternal soul and loves that soul completely. He longs to bless you. He desires to give you good things.
Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed (happy, fortunate) are all those who long for Him [since He will never fail them]. Isaiah 30:18 AMP
God has great plans, a future and a hope for you and for your family. He truly does continually smile upon you, rejoicing over you with singing.
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
This is the truth. Knowing and believing the depth of God’s love for you will not only fill you with peace—it will cause your heart to praise Him. Knowing He is there, in your midst, wanting to be gracious to you, rejoicing over you with singing will cause you to fix your eyes on Him—not on the concerns of the day. You will begin to communicate with Him regularly, to pray without ceasing.
EXPLAIN GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM
What a beautiful thing it is for us to explain to our children how great God’s love for them is. And how readily they can believe this truth. They have the faith required, the faith of a child, to fully and completely believe this.
If you struggle to believe how absolutely in love with you God is, ask Him to give you more faith. For He is “the author and perfect of our faith” and “we have not because we ask not.”
When you walk in the light of God’s love, you’ll naturally talk to Him all the day long. You’ll bring every small and great matter before Him in the presence of your children. You’ll model a relationship with the God who is there with you, as if He were as visible as a friend sitting next to you. And you’ll thank Him for every good gift—the sunshine, the home you live in, and all the big and little joys of the day.
This is modeling a close relationship with God. Your children will naturally begin to live a life of prayer and praise because that is what they know. What they see. And what seems right.
It will be a habit for them.
And in that communion, that relationship with God, our children will fill that God-shaped void in their hearts. They will discover His perfect peace.
And so will we.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
For more Charlotte Mason insight read here.
To learn how you can keep your heart focused on what’s important each week, and create a treasured family heirloom at the same time, watch the video about the Charlotte Mason Heirloom Planner below.