The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Since we are His disciples too, we also should ask Him to teach us how to pray. There are obviously types of prayer that God is displeased with: prayer with meaningless repetitions (Matt. 6:7), prayer while holding a bitter and unforgiving spirit (Mk 11:25-26), prayer without faith (Jas 1:6-7:), prayers made for appearance sake (Matt 6:5), etc. Additionally, there is prayer that God loves to hear and loves to answer: prayer made in secret (Matt 6:6), prayer made in faith (Jas 1:5-6), prayer made with fervency (Jas 5:16-17), and persistent prayer (Lk 11:5-9). These are the types of prayer we should strive for, not so we can push the right buttons on the divine vending machine, but so we can obey the commands of Christ, come into a closer relationship with Him, and experience the blessings of answered prayers.
However, we should not be content to attain to Biblical prayer just for ourselves; we should want it for our children as well. In my case, as I do not have a wife or children yet, it's something that I hope for my potential children. Moreover, it's something that I want to plan for and deliberately intend to inculcate in my children should God allow them to come along.
I was pleased to see this article on teaching children how to pray by Burk Parsons at The Gospel Coalition. Some salient points that I thought were noteworthy:
In all that we teach our children, the greatest and most fundamental thing we can do is model a praying life before their beautiful little eyes and their perceptive little ears.
Let them see that prayer is grounded in the Word. Prayer is nourished, and strengthened by God’s Word. E.M. Bounds wrote, “The Word of God is the food by which prayer is nourished and made strong.”
Let them see that God is not simply responding to our prayers, he is responding to us his children through the means of prayer. He doesn’t simply answer prayers. He answers us, his people, and he always answers us, sometimes saying yes, no, wait, or yes but even greater than you could have imagined.
Let them see that we pray not just in generalities but in particulars, as we fervently keep asking, seeking, and knocking as we go to our Father who wants to hear us and commune with us as we ask him for even the littlest things in life as we focus on his glory and our enjoyment of him.
Let them see that our words of prayer don’t necessarily need to be complicated and weighty and poetically beautiful in order to be genuine, but that they can be short and simple, especially when our children are young so that we are not exasperating them. And let us be careful not to instill cleverly worded rhyming prayers that they may simply memorize them for the sake of a quick cute prayer that can easily become a prayer of meaningless empty platitudes. Samuel Chadwick wrote, “Prayer is not a collection of balanced phrases; it is the pouring out of the soul.”
Let them see that our communion with our Father is the most important and the most enjoyable engagement of our day because it is the occasion when we get tell our Father we love him, trust him, and need him—just as our children want daily to express their love, trust, and need of us. Let them see that while we pray throughout our day, we also have a regular habit of scheduled daily prayer. J.C. Ryle wrote, “Oh, dear friend, if you love your children, I charge you, do not let the early impression of a habit of prayer slip by. If you train your children to do anything, train them, at least, to have a habit of prayer.”
You can read the entire article here.