What is the best way to teach kids how to pray?
For Miriam Quiambao, it begins with the parents strengthening their faith first.
The beauty queen-inspirational speaker said parents "have a great responsibility to introduce God to their children."
She also stressed, "It's essential that the parents themselves have a RELATIONSHIP with JESUS CHRIST."
In answer to queries of PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview on May 21, 2020, through email, Miriam wrote, published as is:
"We must LIVE and BE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST FIRST, so that we can MODEL to our children what is looks like to follow God.
"They must see us praying, hear us praying, and praying FOR them and praying WITH them."
Miriam is a mother to sons Elijah and Joshua.
Joshua is the son of Miriam's husband Ardy Roberto with his late wife, Tintin.
HOW TO INTRODUCE THE CONCEPT OF PRAYER TO CHILDREN?
The former beauty queen began praying with Elijah while he was still in her womb.
And as soon as she gave birth, she has started reading "age-appropriate Bible stories and Children's Bible Story Books..."
Add to this, she lets Elijah listen to worship songs and takes part in worship service, "When he is older, we can encourage him to memorize these verses and use them as a reading and writing materials."
Setting a prayer schedule is another way to ease prayer into children's lives.
Miriam prays with Elijah "in the morning, before meals, and before bed."
For older children, it is ideal for the family to have weekly Bible sessions where they choose a verse to reflect on and put into practice for the week.
Then the following week, the family discusses their reflections together before moving on to a new verse.
Miriam related, "My husband, Ardy, has a one-on-one bible study with Joshua where they memorize verses in Scripture and they discuss situations in life when they have applied these verses.
"They talk about life and Godly lessons when they take walks around the village together or during their father and son dates.
"The following week, the family can check on each other, how they applied that they learned in the verse.
"We can worship God together as a family in the home and in church and wherever we may be.
"As the Bible says, 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.'"
WHY TEACHING PRAYER IS IMPORTANT
As Miriam stressed, prayer is a way to communicate with God and prayer must come from the heart.
Going beyond teaching the "memorized prayers," Miriam said parents must also teach children to pray when they are "afraid, anxious, troubled."
She elaborated, "We can share with them verses in the Bible that encourage us when we are afraid or anxious or troubled.
"God's Word applies to children too."
But what if a child sees prayers as a kind of "chore?"
Miriam answered with a verse from the book of Ezekiel: "'I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.' - Ezekiel 36:26.
"Children will only see prayer as a chore if they don't have a relationship with God...
"They must see it in their parents [first] in order to know what it looks like.
"Parents, in the meantime, must pray to God that He will reveal himself to the children — to remove from them 'a heart of stone and give them a heart fo flesh.'
"As the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:8, 'For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.'
"God hears the prayers of parents for their children, and it is God himself who gives the GIFT OF FAITH."
Miriam admonished parents to not "grow weary or disappointed" if their children have yet to embrace their spiritual lives.
"We must surrender them to our Lord, so that the Holy Spirit will do the work in their hearts and as well as in ours."
PARENTS MUST TEACH BY EXAMPLE
But to raise God-fearing children requires a lifestyle change on the part of the parents..
She explained in the interview: "Our sons, Joshua (12 years) and Elijah (15 months) are products of prayer and we thank God for blessing us with our 2 boys.
"We believe that they are gifts from God and therefore, as parents, we are tasked to be stewards of our children with the responsibility to direct them towards that which is best for them: CLOSER TO CHRIST.
"As Christ followers, our reason behind introducing prayer to our children is in Deuteronomy 6:5-7
"'You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
"'These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
"'You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them, when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you life down and when you rise up.'
"So basically, this verse tells us that FAITH and GODLINESS is a LIFESTYLE."
If you want your children to be righteous then teach and show them how.
Published as written, she continued: "They must see us reading the Bible, which is God's Word, hear us speaking God's word and, most importantly, witness us obeying God's word in our lives.
"Modeling is very important because is how our children can see that prayer and godliness is lifestyle and not just a ritual.
"Parents have a privilege to be models of God's love to the children by embodying God's character themselves such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (fruit of the Spirit)."