Welcome to our summer series, Strong Girls Can. This is a series for moms and daughters where we talk about raising strong, confident, godly girls. I am thrilled you are here!
In the past few months, we have discussed social media, toys, books, friends, STEM, confidence, apps, and dating. We’ve talked about photos which represent strong girls, 88 acts of adventure, and today we are talking about prayer.
For anyone whose prayer life needs a jolt or if you are looking for better ways to teach your kids about prayer, this post is for you.
Our special guest is Amelia Rhodes. Amelia is a talented writer, gifted speaker, and a mom who believes strong girls pray. Be sure to check out Amelia’s prayer cards. If you would like a set for your family, just head over to my FB page and interact there or in the comment section below. I will pick one person, and Amelia will send you a set of your own. Insert cheering!
“Mama, sometimes I feel bad when I pray.” My ten-year-old daughter looked up at me from her bed with wide, brown eyes, filled with concern.
I sat down on the edge of her pink bed in the midst of the stuffed animals and dolls and looked deep into those eyes. “Why is that, sweetie?”
“Well, sometimes it kind of feels like I’m treating Jesus like my slave. I just ask him to do stuff all the time. Could you teach me to pray?”
It’s one of those moments in a child’s spiritual journey that every parent dreams of: they want to learn and grow and start making this relationship with God their own. It’s a thrilling and humbling moment.
That evening I walked her through the A.C.T.S. of prayer. It’s a popular acronym to prompt your prayer life, and I have no idea where it originated. I’ve been using this in my prayer life since I was a tween, and recently read about it again in both Bill Hybels’ book Too Busy Not to Pray and Timothy Keller’s book Prayer.
A – Adoration. This is when we tell God the things we appreciate about Him, or what we think is awesome about Him. Stuff like: “Wow, what an amazing sunset You gave us this morning. You’re so creative, God! You’re so patient with me and loving and kind.”
C- Confession. This is where we tell God the things we’ve done that we know are wrong. Like the time when I thought those horrible thoughts about the other girl at school, or I lied about having my homework done so I could go play, or how sometimes the way I treat my siblings. We confess not to feel bad about what we’ve done wrong. We confess to take the load off our heart. There’s something cleansing about confession, like taking a nice hot shower after we’ve gotten all hot and sweaty and dirty from playing outside. Confession is like a hot shower for our hearts.
T – Thanksgiving. This is often the easy part! Just tell God thanks for all the things you’ve seen Him do lately, or the gifts in your life. Thanks for the new friend I made at school. Thanks for the teacher who wants to help me learn, even though she might be a bit strict. Thanks for the good food we had for dinner tonight. Thanks that I have a roof over my head.
S- Supplication. That’s a big word for letting God know our needs, or what we’d like to see Him do for our friends and family. This is where we ask God to help our family member who has cancer, and for help to remember everything we studied for the big test tomorrow. We can ask for help being more patient with our siblings or how to be kind and show God’s love to the kid at school who’s not very nice. Just because we ask God for things, doesn’t mean that He will do exactly what we hope He will. But we can be sure that whatever His answer is, that He will help us and be with us.
There are two other things I’ve found that have helped me get stronger in prayer over the years.
The first is a prayer journal. Sometimes I get distracted when I’m praying in my head or even out loud. But if I’m writing things down, I seem to stay focused a lot longer. It also is really cool to look back at those pages a few months later to remember what you were thanking God for and asking for His help with and see how He answered.
The second thing is a set of prayer cards from A to Z. Last year I was feeling overwhelmed by all the hurting people around me. Every time someone told me they had cancer or were having trouble with something, and asked me to pray, I just wanted to cry. And sometimes, I just plain forgot to pray. So I made a list from A to Z of all the hurts I could think of — things like adoption, bullying, cancer, and depression, all the way to zero prejudice. Then I started writing down people’s names to pray for. Other people loved the idea, so I had some cards made up. They are available for a small price at www.prayatoz.com. If you sign up for my e-mail list, I’ll even send you a free e-book of stories where friends shared their stories on each topic and how you can pray for people going through these things.
lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. She is the author of Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break, the creator of the Pray A to Z cards, and is featured in 4 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She works part time for the nation’s longest national scenic trail, which is pretty cool and runs right through her small town. Contact her online here, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.