Question I answered on children and prayer for an upcoming national article

How important do you believe prayer is in a child’s life? Why? There is no
difference between the importance of prayer in the life of a child and an
adult. For Jesus, prayer was life and life was prayer there was no
separation. Prayer is the language of our life in Christ. Think about it in
natural as opposed to spiritual terms. If a child could not communicate well
by the age of 5 we would quickly call in a specialist to help solve the
problem. The same standard is not held in the crucial area of prayer. Few
children know how to really talk to God yet alone hear God’s voice for
themselves. Even fewer pray when their parents are not looking. The
importance of this cannot be overstated. I would argue that a child’s faith
is not their own until they begin to pray and seek God on their own. For
some reason, we have relegated this ability to the teenage years. The longer
a parent waits to disciple their child in this area the less of a chance
they will create a sustainable faith in their children.

What mistakes do you think adults may make with children when it comes to
the really big prayers? Fear and lack of faith are the two biggest hurdles I
see when it comes to allowing our children to live a full life in Christ.
We are afraid that if our kids pray for a friend with cancer and that friend
is not healed, then their faith might be shaken, that they might doubt God.
Sure, we need to protect our kids from some of the disturbing details of
certain prayer request, but we never need to protect them from God.
Overcoming doubt with faith is part of the full life in Christ. If you are
constantly trying to remove every opportunity for your child to wrestle with
their faith, to wrestle in prayer, you will be building a faith of straw and
one that will not stand the trials that might lie ahead.

What do you think it says about our own faith when we coach children to pray
(or not to pray) for miracles? The problem in praying for miracles with our
kids comes only when we begin to direct their faith to the results of our
prayers instead of the miracle worker who is God. Believing, faith-filled
prayer focuses on God’s ability not God’s decision making process. Much of
what we see in the area of praying in faith is more about concentration in
the moment then faith in an all powerful God. Parents who pray big prayers
with kids believe in God to sustain their child’s faith no matter what the
result. I guess what I am trying to say is that we don’t need to protect our
kids from God. Recently my three-year-old made the statement, “God can
always heal, but sometimes He doesn’t.” This is the essence of faith-filled
prayer. Unfortunately, many adults I work with are still not at this level
of understanding.

What is your philosophy of prayer? In other words, what do you believe the
core purpose of prayer is