It is important for children to know how to pray and why we pray. If they are never taught, how will they ever know? Many people may have never been told about the importance of prayer at a young age, but rather they learned by example. As someone who spends a lot of time with children at church, I can say that they have a lot of questions.
They may only think about God once a week when they come to church on Sunday, but that is when their little minds start to wonder and think. They have so many questions, and people don't always know how to answer them. A lot of the time, children in church will do what they think they are supposed to even if they don't know what they are doing. Every Sunday, children come down to the altar and pray, but do they know why they go to the altar? Some children do, but many of them don't.
Some children think that they can only pray at the altar on Sunday, which isn't correct. There are six other days in the week, and children should have the knowledge that they can pray any day any time.
Obviously, children can't have the knowledge of prayer unless they are taught. Teach your kids, teach the kids you babysit, teach all the kids that are open to learning.
When a child is around other kids that know what prayer is, they may feel awkward. The other day a little girl told me that she didn't want to say the song prayer that the kids sing before they eat, and she explained that she doesn't know the song so she feels embarrassed. I told her that she didn't have to sing the song and that she could say her own prayer aloud or in her head. She was against the idea.
Something as simple as a song prayer that kids sing before they eat a meal can teach them to pray and be thankful. It teaches them to have a relationship with God, and how to talk to him.
Teach them to pray and say thank you. Teach them to pray when they are scared and want peace in their hearts. Teach them to pray when they are angry, so that they learn how to handle their emotions. Teach them how to pray about forgiving someone they are upset with. Teach them to pray when they can.
Let them experience the power of prayer. Once they have learned to pray about things, they will be able to feel the power of prayer. They will learn that prayer can be a sanctuary for them. They will develop a relationship with God, and grow as individuals in Christ. If there is a way for a child to grow, I say let them grow in Christ. Children are a gift from God.
Children are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven; just read Matthew 18:1-5.