Prayer is Taught, Not Caught

Post by Pastor Tim – Our family has not arrived at the great pinnacle of discipleship, but last week there were four instances which helped me to see the growth in my children, specifically in the area of prayer.

1.  My wife was struggling with a 5 hour homework session with my 11 year old son.  As the hours mounted, my wife and son basically gave up out of sheer frustration.  When my nine year old daughter heard what was going on, she came down and laid hands on my wife and prayed for her.

2.  I spent an evening at my son’s school for an open house, and throughout the course of the evening I became sick.  On the way home, I missed our turn and when my son pointed it out I snapped at him.  It was at that moment, that my son bowed his head in prayer and prayed that God would help me to feel better.

3.  Even though we get 300 days of sun in Colorado, we also often get a daily, violent afternoon thunderstorm which lasts about 15-30 minutes.  This simple fact had kept us from staining the deck, due to the instructions on the paint can which said that it must be dry for 24-48 hours.  This past weekend, we decided to take the plunge and paint the deck.  I shared the concern about the rain with my 5 year old daughter, and right in the middle of staining the railing, she dropped everything and prayed that it wouldn’t rain.

4.  When we learned about a neighbor who had a death in the family, it was our children who immediately suggested that we pray for them.  They also came up with a few suggestions on how to help and comfort our grieving neighbors.

These four stories may not really seem like a big deal, but to my wife and I they were huge.  It helped me to realize that our efforts to disciple our children in prayer over the past year did make a difference.   We believe that prayer isn’t something that people just learn on their own, and it isn’t something that is caught, it is taught.

Over the past year, we have been teaching our kids how to pray for the sick, how to trust God through prayer and even how to pray the Lord’s Prayer and the Psalms.   And more than that, we have been demonstrating that prayer should permeate every area of our lives, not just at mealtimes and Sunday mornings.

If you have never thought of discipleship in regards to prayer, I invite you to commit to discipling someone in prayer.  Here are some ideas which may help you in that process:

  • Teach someone how you pray before meals.
  • Teach someone the Lord’s Prayer including an explanation of what some of the elements mean.
  • Laurence Hull Stookey has a method to teach children to pray.  If you have kids, use this method to teach them to pray before going to bed.
  • Learn a prayer from church history that you are willing to teach someone else.  Consider one of John Wesley’s prayers,

I am no longer my own but yours,
Put me to what you will
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal
And now glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And this covenant now made on earth, let it be satisfied in heaven.

Amen

About tdillmuth

Pastor Timothy Dillmuth is the Discipleship Pastor of Voice of the Martyrs Korea. He oversees Underground University, a missionary training school for North Korean defectors, and does discipleship training with Christians from all over the world. Pastor Tim received a bachelor's degree from Zion Bible College and an M.Div. from Regent University. He lives with his wife, Melissia and their three children in Seoul, South Korea.
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