I've tried to remember when I learned to pray. I don't think I was every taught to pray, in fact, I was the first one saved in my family and at that time I was only 7 years old. I remember being told that I was to simply talk to Jesus. That is how I started and that is still how I pray today.
Being married to Mr. Incredible only enhanced my prayer life. We encouraged one another to pray, we prayed together, we prayed together for others and we respected our time to pray alone as well. When we had children, it was no huge leap to model this to them, it just happened naturally. Children do, most often, what their parents do.
You won't hear my children recite the memorized prayers at meal times or bed time..(that is precious and there is nothing wrong with that)..but I never learned those prayers so teaching them to my children was never a priority. Talking to Jesus...now that was/is a priority.
Today you can ask my children to pray for you and they will not hesitate. Just today we surrounded Brendan and prayed for some pretty bad bruises on his legs, and later in the afternoon, we walked around a church fellowship hall and prayed over every seat, and over their new youth minister. We're growing men of prayer!
If you were to peek into the window of my family during a time of prayer, you would find that each member says a heartfelt prayer that is spontaneous and unrehearsed. This creates an environment where their hearts can be knit to the very heart of God, not to mention to each other. This invites them to share their heart with the Lord. Having each family member pray allows our children to catch a glimpse of their souls and learn from their example how to relate to God, give praise, and make their request known to a loving heavenly Father.
Earlier this summer my children had to say goodbye to their grandmother who was dying of cancer. How do two 10 year olds and and 8 year old do that? How do grownups do that? We didn't say they were saying their goodbyes, we just told them they were going to tell their Meme how much they love her. We talked about what it would be like to see her at hospice, but nothing could prepare them really. Brendan brought his Bible with Him (the Word brings him comfort)..he really wanted his Meme to accept Jesus. He was prepared to lead her to Christ. This is what happened when we got there. Brendan walked in and was frozen. He could hardly say anything at all. Like a deer in headlights..just stared at her bed..eyes welling up with tears. Shane walked right over to her and held her arm and asked..."Meme, are you really dying?" And finally, Kyle...he could barely drag his little legs into the room. When he got in, he looked at her from the foot of the bed and cried out..with his hands folded and resting on his chin..."Meme..I just have to know..do you know Jesus?"
Confused by her answer Kyle looked at me with questioning eyes and without any words exchanged between us, he said.."Meme, can I pray for you?" He proceeded to cry out to Jesus. "Please Jesus, heal my Meme. Make her feel better. Rock her in Your arms, let her know how much you love her...." Tears streaming down his face, crying out to Jesus..the words from this child blew me away. When he said amen, it seemed Brendan found his strength, and asked if he could pray too. Oh the petitions falling on the ears and heart of God. I weep as I am typing..."Lord, send your Holy Spirit to my Meme..don't let her die without knowing you Jesus." I was humbled and in awe at the hearts of these precious boys. Then Shane...finally asked if he could pray as well. Sweet and precious heart poured out to his Jesus...some duplication of his brothers, but that is how we learn.
What moved this mother's heart was the fact that my boys did not know what to say to their Meme that would die 4 days later...but they knew and felt comfortable talking to Jesus. Why?...because that is just what we do around here. When we are thankful, joyful, sad, scared, or sick....we go to Jesus. They know they can always cry out to Jesus because their hearts are knit to His.