Teaching Children to Pray

Teaching children to pray is an important job for parents and church leaders. Even very young children can be taught the rudiments of prayer, such as bowing their heads, closing their eyes and speaking to God in simple phrases. As children grow, they can learn to pray more and more in accord with the big, overarching themes of the Bible. Here are just a few ideas to start the wheels turning on ways children can grow in prayer.

1. Teach children to pray as Jesus taught His disciples (Matthew 6:9-15).

The Lord’s Prayer, or the Model Prayer as it is sometimes called, asks God to accomplish eternal things that He intends to do; therefore, we enter into an exciting “partnership” with Him as we pray according to His will. Help your kids memorize the Lord’s Prayer and explain to them what each request means (a good resource for this is the book Jesus Teaches Us How to Pray by Sinclair Ferguson).

2. Teach children to pray for the sick (James 5:16).

Use your church’s prayer email or bulletin to make a prayer list. Does your church have a list of widows, sick people, and shut-ins? Have your children pray for specific members on a regular basis, and if you can find a way to involve the children in physically serving members on the list, so much the better.

3. Teach children to pray for the persecuted church (Hebrews 13:3).

Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has information on persecuted believers and countries hostile to the Gospel that need our prayers. Kids of Courage is an off-shoot of VOM that spotlights children who have made brave stands for Christ in dangerous places. The suffering church is our family; children feel honored by the privilege of praying for her.

4. Teach children to pray for missionaries, your pastors and other leaders in the church (1 Thessalonians 5:25).

The New Testament epistles contain specific requests for prayer from the apostle Paul (Ephesians 6:19 and 2 Thessalonians 3:1, for example) that enlighten us to the prayer needs of missionaries and pastors alike. Find out what missionaries or missions endeavors your church is supporting; ask your pastor how the children’s ministry can be praying for him. Let your children know they can be a vital part of God’s work in the world by praying for missionaries, their pastor and other spiritual leaders!

5. Teach children to pray for their own growth in Christ-likeness (Psalm 119:36-38).

Praying in this way honors God, for we know that in our own strength we are powerless to live holy lives. Children can learn this dependence and trust in God’s sanctifying work right from the start.

What are some other biblical ways we can teach children to pray?

These are just a few examples of teaching kids to pray in serious, biblical ways as they grow older. I realized as I was writing this article that there’s much more I should and could be doing in teaching our children to pray. Time to get going!


Comments

  1. S. Claus says

    Thank you ! I just started our new class of kindergarten children and two of my youngsters didn’t know how to pray. You once again had the answer to my problem. You truly did answered my prayer, Thanks be to God. S. Claus

  2. Christy says

    I really appreciate the materials or lessons that you’ve been posting in this website because they can really help us. I remember one Sunday, i taught kids about prayer..i asked each one of them to share what they want to ask from God and one of my students said, “Lord, please make my mommy pregnant because i want a sister” and i shared it with his parents afterward. Now, not only the little boy is praying about it. We all do.. :)

  3. Maryam Youhanna says

    Thank you all for sharing your expereinces. I just recently joined in. I love it. I do too try as much as i can to talk to my kids about God. Sometimes, my husband tells me not to over do it, but balance it. I guess, i need wisom from God in that realm. Thank you for sharing.

  4. deborah says

    Special thanks to Tony, and the rest , ever since I come across with your teachings, I now can say , yes, I am a sunday school teacher. Iwas now reading how to teach children how to pray, and the prayer I read is the exact prayer I am teaching them, I even share these teachings with my co teachers who do no not have an access to computers, thanks to everyone

  5. Jeanne Bowser says

    Thank you for sharing these pointers on teaching our children to pray.

  6. Beverly says

    Something new we are trying this year is that I have written out a few prayers for my three kids, like a little booklet. I have tried to cover serveral different circumstances that would need prayer: morning prayers to start the day, homeschooling prayer to focus the mind, when I misbehave prayer to ask forgiveness and to ask the Holy Spirit to help me not do it again, prayer for the sick, prayer for when I fight with my sibling, when I am afraid prayer, and a night time prayer. This has helped with teaching my children to pray more and for every circumstance in life. They need to know they can go to God with every concern. They are simple prayers and I try to always use scripture in them when possible.

  7. Pastor Fredrick Opondo says

    Thanks Tony for such insights on how to teach children to engage in prayer.Children are hit most in such disasters as in the case of Japan.
    May the Lord visit the children in Japan.We who work with children have an opportunity to teach our children to pray.God bless you.

  8. Beverly says

    I think where we went wrong in our kids learning to pray is that when we did start having family devotions, my husband and I prayed these long elaborate prayers to include everyone and everything. After a few weeks when we ask the kids to take a turn at praying, I think they were intimidated by our prayers and thought their’s had to be that way. They are 9, 10 and 15. They don’t mind praying for supper because those prayers are easy. Thank you Lord for this food. Nurish it to our bodies and our bodies for your service. Amen. Easy right? Well, take my advise. If you do start praying at night as a family and having devotions time, get a simple devotion book with devotions about life experiences the whole family can relate to and when you pray, modle a simple pray that the kids can eventual learn and then as they grow can and mature, can add to. The Lord’s prayer is the best example. Acknowlegde God for who he is, pray for his will in your life, home, church and community, Ask him to meet your daily needs, Ask for forgiveness for that day of sins and attitudes, Ask him to keep a hedge around you and protect you as you sleep and play, Then always end with thanksgiving and praise. Simple. This has been the answer to our problems. Now our kids want to pray a loud when we have devotions.

  9. Natasha Smith says

    I am so happy that you have shared these strategies. I will be using them to teach my children to pray.

  10. Rea La Madrid says

    Children need to read this kind of writings. Prayer is one way to start a good upbringing for children.

  11. says

    Jeri,
    Thanks so much for sharing these practical ideas. This is an area that I personally need this kind of help. Great work!

  12. says

    It is essential that we teach our children to simply talk to our Heavenly Father. Helping them understand and practice this faith tool is essential to their spiritual growth.

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