A lot of scary things happen in the world that can put fear in the heart of a child. We can protect them from seeing the evening news in our homes, but we can't protect them from knowing at least some frightening things that are going on. Some of them are happening at schools. Some down the street or next door in their neighborhoods.
For parents who believe in God, prayer can be a great help with children during scary times. Children who are taught about a loving God who cares about them find enormous comfort by praying to Him.
Stephen R. Covey taught, "As parents we are convinced that no other single activity has such a determining influence on the whole of life as does effective prayer."
Four Steps of Prayer
When we taught our children to pray, we used these four steps:
Begin with: "Our Father in Heaven ..." or a similar sacred greeting.
Express gratitude for what you have by saying: "We thank thee for ... "
Ask for what you need: "We ask thee for ..."
If you are Christian, end with: "In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen." Other faiths may close according to their religious practice.
Prayers don't need to be fancy. Richard G. Scott said, "Don't worry about your clumsily expressed feelings. Just talk to your compassionate, understanding Father. You are His precious child whom He loves perfectly and wants to help. As you pray, recognize that Father in Heaven is near and He is listening."
Things to Pray For
When something bad happens to others, children are afraid it might happen to them. A bedtime prayer can give comfort to a child. All they need to say is, "Please keep me safe." They can be more specific if they are concerned about a certain event that has recently happened, such as a hurricane or shooting. Praying for their safety will have even more power if they hear you praying for their protection in daily family prayer. What a comfort to hear their parents praying for them each morning before they run out the door to school.
Others in need
When someone a child loves is suffering, praying for God to be with and comfort them can bring peace to the child. It teaches them that the powers of heaven can be called down for their friends and loved ones.
Saying a prayer for help in resisting temptation will help the child think more clearly about making right choices. It can be as simple as, "Help me tell the truth." Or, "Help me not bully anyone at school or anywhere." If they start doing this at a young age they will more likely continue as teenagers when their choices have more serious consequences.
When children thank God for the good things in their lives it makes them more conscious of the blessings they already have. Children who grow up appreciating their home, their family and friends, the meals their parents provide for them, their teachers, etc. tend to live happier and more productive lives.
We all need help beyond ourselves. Anyone can access this divine power and teach their children to do likewise. The simple act of praying is the way.