Hearing your child pray is one of the sweetest sounds ever because it’s a reflection of their relationship with the Lord. But praying doesn’t come naturally, so we need to help our children if we want them to have a closer, more personal connection with God throughout their lives. In case you’re unsure how to do that, here are eleven ways to help you child learn how to pray.
Regardless of age, your child needs to know you pray. Let them see you pray at least occasionally. You don’t have to pray about deep dark secret personal things; pray for someone to find answers they need, for comfort in times of worry or loss, for health concerns, rejoice with them, give praise and thanks for whatever it might be. It doesn’t have to be a long, formal prayer, maybe just a sentence or two. Just let them see you pray.
For the little guys, prayers at mealtime and bedtime are perfect for them to learn age appropriate prayers. Rote prayers provide familiarity and are easy to learn and easy to say. We would always say Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep with the kids and then add some thank You’s and requests afterwards. Click here for a printout of prayers for families.
Go on a prayer walk. Notice things around you and give God thanks for what you see, hear, or smell.
Arrow prayers are easy and natural; I use these all the time. As the day goes by, things come to mind or happen that I just need to say a short, quick prayer that I shoot up to God like an arrow. “Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful sunrise.” “Help me find ways to show Your love today.” I always made sure we said a quick prayer when emergency vehicles went by with their sirens blaring: “God, help those who need You.” It can be that simple.
- When asking about your child’s day at school, listen for or ask about people or things that can be mentioned in prayer at bedtime.
Make a prayer ring, jar, or box. Prayer Ring – On index cards, write the names of family, friends, teachers, classmates, and the like who need prayers. Punch a hole in the corner, and use a ring (office supply kind), piece of yarn, shoelace, or something similar to hold them together. For a Prayer Box – Put the cards in a box you and your child decorated. Prayer Jar – Write their names on popsicle sticks and put them in a jar. As you go through the names, say an appropriate prayer for each person.
Help them learn prayers aren’t just for asking for things. Prayers are used to praise and thank Him, to confess our sins and ask forgiveness, bring the needs of others before Him, as well as ask for things for ourselves. We don’t want our children thinking God is a magic genie who gives us everything we ask for, especially material things.
We need to remember to include “if it’s Your will” kind of wording when appropriate. They should know God does what’s best for us, so we might not get the answer we want. Help them know, His answer might be a “yes” of some kind, but often it’s “I have a better idea.”
- Instead of asking God to help them get an A on a test or to win a game, ask God to help them do their best. God isn’t a Pez dispenser.; sometimes we have to do things for ourse
lves and put forth effort. After all, only one team can win a game.
- Be sure your child knows prayer is something they can do any time, any place. It can be formal or spontaneous. God doesn’t want flowery language; He wants sincere hearts.
- Children need to know that God wants them to talk to Him, and He’s waiting to hear from them.