Helping Our Kids Know Jesus for Themselves

by Erica Renaud, COMPEL Training Member April 4, 2023
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.” Matthew 19:13a (ESV)

My mother is a master at interior decorating. She got her “degree” from Better Homes and Gardens. Every corner, counter and shelf in her house looks beautiful.

My children love visiting Grandma’s house at the beginning of a new season. They bust through the front door and run through all the rooms to see how she redecorated.

When my husband and I bought our first home, I was so excited to decorate it. I couldn’t wait to make it our own and have it reflect our style and likes.

But it didn’t take long to realize I knew nothing about design. I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong, but as I looked at the rooms throughout my house, they not only lacked beauty, but also I didn’t even enjoy them.

The problem was that I only did what I saw my mother do — purchase items and put them in my home. I never actually learned the elements of good design or how to make a space look lovely. It wasn’t until months later that my mother explained the “why” and “how” behind her design decisions and a bit of her process in getting there.

When it comes to design, I’m OK if my children don't inherit their grandmother’s genius. But when it comes to prayer and faith, I don’t just want to pass on what it “looks” like.

Without intentionality or explanation, my children will only learn to imitate my actions. But just as my buying and placing items on a shelf didn’t mean I understood design, my children knowing how to bow their heads doesn’t mean they know how to engage God in prayer.

Though I feel like I fail more than I succeed, my husband and I have made it our mission to come alongside our children in prayer so that they might know how to seek God for themselves.

For instance, after recently hearing of a natural disaster, we sat the kids down to share about it and watch a short news segment describing the event. Then we decided to pray. But before we did, we talked about the importance of prayer and how God hears us. We reminded them of the time Elijah prayed for it to stop raining, and the rain stopped. (James 5:17)

And prayer is not just something we do as parents; we invite the children to take the lead. Sometimes they are the only ones who pray out loud.

I’ve discovered that children can have incredibly meaningful times of prayer on their own too. After chatting with my older daughter about a problem she was having, I was at a loss for how to help her. “Well, you should pray about that,” I told her. My suggestion was genuine, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I was also buying time to think of how else I might help. Her response surprised me: “Oh, I have been!” She went on to say she had been praying about it in her journal.

Wow! She didn’t need me to tell her to pray. She knew she could seek God all on her own — that she could meet with Him about this problem, share her burden, and trust Him to handle it.

Friend, let’s not just imitate prayer so our kids become outwardly good at it. Let’s take them along for the ride so they experience the ins and outs of prayer. We can invite them into prayer in good times and really hard seasons. We can walk them through the theology of prayer and the value of prayer, teaching them how to pray.

Matthew 19:13a says, “Then children were brought to [Jesus] that he might lay his hands on them and pray.” Just like the parents, grandparents and caretakers in Matthew, let’s bring our children straight to Jesus so they can experience talking with Him themselves!

Heavenly Father, keep us humble before You. May we never tire of seeking Your face. Give us the grace to come alongside our children in prayer and somehow communicate the beauty and glory of speaking to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


For an excellent resource on teaching our children how to pray, be sure to check out Erica Renaud’s book, Pray with Me: Help Your Children Engage in Authentic and Powerful Prayer.

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Take steps toward helping your children understand prayer by grabbing the first chapter of Pray with Me for FREE! Click here to start reading today.

Are you on Instagram? Head over to Erica’s page to find regular encouragement and tips about praying with children. And click here for more resources and encouragement to help you come alongside your children in prayer.

Want to chat with Erica? Head over to the “Encouragement for Today Devotions Community” Facebook group and enjoy a video she made just for you — and enter into a fun giveaway! Erica is excited to connect with you in the comments of her video!


Deuteronomy 5:29, “Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” (ESV)

James 5:17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.” (ESV)

What is one thing you wish you were taught about prayer as a child? How might you be able to teach that one thing to your children or the children in your life? Share with us in the comments!

© 2023 by Erica Renaud. All rights reserved.

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