Apply These 4 Ideals When Teaching Your Child About Faith and Prayer

by | Aug 30, 2016 | Man

According to James, God responds to faith. He is moved by faith. This is not a mystery. We don’t have to search for some secret formula that gets God to respond to our prayers. We’ve been told: Faith moves God!

In fact, the Bible teaches elsewhere: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

Faith means to have a bold trust in God. Faith doesn’t have to be gigantic or packaged in an adult-sized frame for it to be potent. Just as Jesus taught, it can be as small as a mustard seed and still move God (Matt. 17:20). A mustard seed is about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. That’s tiny. Yet when it is mixed into our prayers, the result is huge. St. Augustine, a third-century theologian, said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”

Be mindful of four things when you try to instill the role of faith and prayer in your child. Each is simple. But when they are packaged together, your child will be able to activate his kid power.

1. Faith comes from relationship.

2. Expectancy activates faith.

3. Faith requires focus.

4. Patience is a friend of faith.

Faith Comes From Relationship

You cannot have faith in God without a good relationship with Him. Although this sounds basic, many Christians ignore this truth. They want God’s help, but they don’t want to take time to build a strong relationship with Him. God wants relationship with you because, similar to you, He wants to be loved. Jesus taught: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself'” (Luke 10:27). This is the greatest commandment issued by God because it represents the greatest thing we can ever do—to love and serve the Lord. Faith is built on this premise!

Imagine that you and I were next-door neighbors, but whenever I saw you, I seldom took the time to ask things such as: “How’s your wife? How are the kids?” Or if we ran into each other at the neighborhood supermarket and I gave off body language that said, “I have no time to chat,” yet then you saw me linger in the next aisle, talking to a total stranger.

How would you feel if after basically ignoring you on a daily basis I frequently asked to borrow your lawn mower or a cup of sugar? You’d would feel used and taken advantage of, right?

That is how some of us interact with God; our entire relationship with Him is one-sided. Faith is not built on asking God for His help only when we need it. It’s built on the trust we develop over a time-tested relationship.

We need to spend time with God by reading the Bible, worshipping Him privately (and publicly), and even journaling our feelings and thoughts about Him.

These actions help feed our relationship with the Lord.

By experience the psalmist David was able to write: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). When you are delighted with someone, you want to spend as much time with them as possible.

You can model this for your children by having a daily devotional time. When they ask you, “Why do you read your Bible every day and sing worship songs that we hear on Sundays?” tell them. They need to know that God wants you to talk to Him because you love Him and not just when you want something from Him. Frame the conversation in age-appropriate terms. Ask something like, “How would you feel if your friend Debbie only texted you when she wants to borrow something?”

Don’t let the opportunity pass by. There are tons of ways to illustrate that faith grows from relationship. Use your own relationship with God as the source of the lesson. Your child knows you. They know your authenticity and sincerity. They have benefited from your honesty.

Your words carry tremendous weight. Your child also knows some of your struggles and many of your needs. Explain how your relationship with God gives you confidence to approach Him with bold requests.

Then talk about how He answered prayers in the past. Don’t ignore their real questions. For example, my daughters sometimes asked, “What happens when God doesn’t answer one of your prayers? What do you do?” I would tell them, “I don’t know why God didn’t answer my prayer.” Theologically this is called an appeal to mystery. But your kid doesn’t care about that. What he does care about is this: “God thinks differently than I do. He has reasons that are too complicated for my small mind to fully understand. But since I love God so much, I’m not angry with Him. And since God loves me so much, I know that everything will work out for my best.”

Your honesty will be refreshing. Years ago, a feature in the New Yorker on billionaire Ted Turner reported that as a teenager Turner was religious. He even wanted to be a missionary. Then his younger sister became gravely ill. He was 15 when Mary Jane, then 12, contracted a form of lupus that attacks the body’s tissues and immune system. Wracked with pain, she vomited constantly. Turner told the reporter that her screams filled the house. Ted regularly came home and held her hand, trying to comfort her. He prayed for her recovery; she prayed to die. After years of misery, she passed, and Ted lost his faith. “I was taught that God was love and God was powerful,” he said, “and I couldn’t understand how someone so innocent should be made or allowed to suffer so.”

Turner’s theology had holes. He wasn’t taught what to do when our prayers are not answered. Don’t let your kids fall victim to a loss of faith. They may never recover.

Be honest. Honesty is the proof of a strong, emotionally healthy relationship.

A mother who worked from home prided herself on her professional image. One key to that image was her voice mail greeting, which was often a client’s first contact with her. She said, “I worked on making it sound upbeat and enthusiastic, and thought I had succeeded until a friend left this message: ‘Judy, this is Pam. I love your greeting, but do you know that you can hear your little boy in the background saying, ‘Mommy, I gotta go potty’?”

Be honest, even when honesty is embarrassing, this will prove invaluable to the spiritual formation of your child.

Excerpted from Raising a Child Who Prays by Dr. David Ireland (Charisma House, 2016). {eoa}

David D. Ireland is the senior pastor of Christ Church, a multisite church in northern New Jersey with a membership of 8,000. He is a diversity consultant to the NBA and author of 20 books, including The Skin You Live In: Building Friendships Across Racial Lines, and his newest Raising a Child Who Prays. For more information please visit:, @DrDavidIreland and


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Prophetic Words: End of Year Prophecies to Guide You into 2023

Prophetic Words: End of Year Prophecies to Guide You into 2023

Chris Reed's Prophetic Word Over China: Unprecedented mass protests are unfolding right now across China. The country is seeing the largest pushback in decades, following their "zero COVID strategy" still in place today. China's Communist Party has continued to...

Declaring a Great Awakening Among Prodigals

Declaring a Great Awakening Among Prodigals

Read Time: 1 Minute 23 Seconds It’s a shocking statistic! More than 80 and up to 90% of children who grow up in church are leaving the church once they reach 18. Sadly, only 40% return, according to Focus on the Family. I believe, with prayer, we can defy those...

Bible Verse of the Day, Dec. 8th: Advent Season, Isaiah 11:1-10

Bible Verse of the Day, Dec. 8th: Advent Season, Isaiah 11:1-10

Isaiah 11:1-10 And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the...

Marilyn Hickey: God Can Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Marilyn Hickey: God Can Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Read Time: 2 Minutes 2 Seconds Have you ever broken a bone? If so, you know what it’s like to go through a painful healing process. Consider what that might feel like in the spiritual realm. Sometimes we can get broken in various ways in life, but God wants to “set”...

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

Read Time: 1 Minute 59 Seconds Bishop J. Drew Sheard and the General Board of the Eastern Florida Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ announced Tuesday the death of one of its most beloved leaders, Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Hutchins was 65....


Don’t Criticize Charismatics

They are saying the charismatic movement is divisive. Whenever people get involved in the "new emphasis," there are disruptions in the status quo. Red flags go up. Lines are drawn. I would ask: What...
Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Read Time: 6 Minutes, 42 Seconds Is it possible that ancient entities known as "the gods" have returned to our world? Could these gods actually be the unseen movers and catalysts of what's happening in America and the world today? Could they lie behind the current...

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Read Time: 3 Minutes 37 Seconds Most made-for-TV Christmas movies are like eggnog and sugar cookies—way too sweet, yet extremely addictive for a lot of viewers. But these Hallmark-style movies—the ones with predictable love stories that always end with jingling bells...

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 1 Minute 51 Seconds At a recent gathering where a member was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you, TURN and see; embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Read Time: 2 Minutes 25 Seconds If you search the phrase, “where does life come from?” the first explanation reads: “The origin of life is a result of a supernatural event—and readily arises from nonliving matter in short periods of time, today as in the past.” The...

Raise Your Praise!

Raise Your Praise!

These are the days that may leave you feeling defeated. You may be wondering when these present trials will end or how can you strengthen your faith for the battle as you wrestle against powers and principalities that come against you, in addition to the challenges...

Pin It on Pinterest