If I were to ask you the top things to prepare your children in life, would “how to teach your children to pray” make the top of your list?
I’ll be honest, the task of teaching my children how to pray fell off of my to-do list for a while. Life was so busy.
It seemed like our oldest was born, then the next baby came along and then before we knew it they were ready for preschool. We had taught them their ABCs and 123s. They knew how to tie their shoes, go potty and say please and thank you. But we overlooked one of the basic foundations for our children. We hadn’t taught them how to pray.
Our youngest is in a faith-based preschool so he does know of God. Both boys go to Sunday school every week so they hear about God. We talk about God in our home. But we don’t pray with them.
We give thanks before eating our dinner together, but we don’t pray with them consistently in any other way.
This got me thinking,…
How can we teach our children to pray?
This is what I came up with and I’m curious how you teach your own children to pray. Please comment below and let me know!
1. Pray about it!
Think about it. God wants your children to pray just as much as you do if not more. If you don’t know how to teach them, just ask God.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Pray that God would help give you the wisdom to teach your children to pray. Pray that God would help your children’s hearts be open to receiving this instruction and that they would have the desire to pray to God.
2. Let your children see you pray
Children, especially young children are so impressionable. They pick up on everything around them and tend to
want to act it out. According to the Urban Child Institute and other areas of research, “the behavior and habits of children are exposed to at an early age and can become behaviors and habits they carry into adulthood.”
This means if your children see you praying before bed, and first thing in the morning, they will more than likely pray before bed and first thing in the morning.
If your children see you pray before a meal, they will pray before a meal too.
When you are in a struggle, or crisis, if your children see you call out to God first, they will do the same when they are in crisis.
3. Take time to pray with your children
Even better than seeing you pray, is for your children to pray with you. Take time to pray with them before they go to bed. Pray with them before meals. Pray with them during times of joy, struggle and everything in between.
They will learn so much in how to pray just by joining in with you in daily prayer.
4. Stop making excuses
I get it, life is busy. This used to be my excuse. I would get so busy I would forget to pray with my kids at their bedtime.
Honestly, it’s not good enough. No excuse is good enough.
Decide today you are going to stop making excuses and find a way to make this happen. Even if you need to stick post-it notes all over your house as a reminder to pray with your kids at the beginning and end of their day, then so be it!
5. Put up visual cues
Kids (and most adults) are visual. It’s easier for us to do something if it is right in front of our faces. That is why the post-it notes idea in the above tip is so helpful, because it is right in front of our faces!
Put up a prayer request board in your home, or something similar. Find the best way that works with your family.
The idea is that this becomes a visual reminder for the entire family to pray together.
6. Celebrate God’s works
Just as important to praying is seeing prayers answered. Decide on a creative way that best meets the needs of your family.
Some ideas might include a visual board, similar to the prayer board. Or you could actually divide your prayer board into two sections. One section for prayer requests and another section for prayers answered.
Another idea is to make some type of artwork or craft project.
Or you could simply keep track of answered prayers in a family prayer journal.
7. Teach your kids the prayer template
“Jesus gave His disciples a simple prayer that can serve as a template for our own prayers and as a simple way to teach our children how to pray.” Matthew 6:9-15
Here are the four parts of the template:
- STEP 1. Worship
Teach your children to praise God. This will realign their hearts and trust in Him.
- STEP 2. Forgiveness
This has been a challenging one to teach our children. We encourage them daily to confess their sins to God, but remind them it is different than being in trouble persay.
During this step, I remind our boys of God’s endless love. I think it is in this step that even as adults, we can get caught up in feeling so bad and guilty over even the smallest things, forgetting that we are not perfect here on Earth.
- STEP 3. Petition
This part of the template is also an interesting area to teach to children. It’s easy for anyone to think of God as a magic genie and just ask for whatever comes to our minds and expect to get it. This is where books can come in handy.
Some of our favorites include…
Teaching Your Child How to Pray, by Rick Osborne
Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, by Thomas Nelson
Prayers for Children (Little Golden Book), by Eloise Wilkin
What Happens When I Talk to God?: The Power of Prayer for Boys and Girls, by Stormie Omartian and Shari Warren
- STEP 4. Thanksgiving
Teach your child to be thankful in all of God’s blessings big and small.
Teaching our children to pray is one of the most powerful gifts we can give them.
Which of these ideas will you incorporate in your family? What other ideas do you have or would like to share? I’d love to hear from you! Plus, grab your Free Prayer Cards!
When life gets hard, our children need to know how to pray.
When they feel far away from God, they need to know how to pray.
When they need wisdom, forgiveness, or a deeper relationship with God they need to know how to pray.
When they are completely overwhelmed by life they need to know how to pray.
Help teach your children to pray with these Free Children’s Prayer Cards.