<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1758373551078632&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Teaching Tools to Help Children Learn How to Pray

Prayer is one of the most essential parts of the Christian faith. Like any relationship, communication matters, and prayer is a way we stay in conversation with God. It’s a way we express trust in Him. When we bring out petitions to the Lord, we indicate that He is our provider, our teacher, and our Savior. Prayer keeps us from carrying the weight of our worries on our own and shows that we trust the Lord of the universe with them.

In all four Gospels, Jesus prayed to the Father both in private and in front of crowds. He taught His followers how to pray, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6 ESV). As we follow Christ, prayer becomes an important daily practice.

Children, too, are called to participate in the kingdom of God. “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14 ESV). By teaching children that prayer is a meaningful part of daily life, we help to raise up kids who have a close relationship with their Savior. Teaching prayer can be a wonderful experience, but picking the right tools, prayer techniques, and activities can be challenging. Below are a few ways to teach prayer practices to children!

Common Prayers

Common prayers have been used for centuries and help connect children to the larger family of Christ through the ages. I used to think that common prayers were hard to learn and that using them was reserved only for Sundays. Praying the words that people have used for centuries and knowing that they still apply today is a special experience for children and adults alike. It is important to pass them down and teach them to the next generation!

Using the Lord’s Prayer is one of the best ways to start teaching children to pray. After all, it is used most Sundays in church! By praying the Lord’s Prayer, you are speaking God’s Word back to Him, affirming that His will and mission are your own. This is the prayer that Jesus taught; therefore, teaching this prayer is important.

But the Lord’s Prayer isn’t the only common prayer. Psalm 23 can also be used as a prayer for children to learn, and Luther’s Morning and Evening prayers are also good, theologically sound prayers to teach.

As you pray, have your children repeat each line after you pray it out loud. This verbal repetition helps to cement the words in their memory. By continually echoing these prayers, kids will learn to memorize these important prayers.

Object Prayers

It’s important that children learn to bring specific petitions to the Lord. But how do you teach them to do this? Insert object prayers!

Object prayers have you turn a regular object into an idea for prayer! This can be done with items of food, toys, or even household objects. The goal of an object prayer is to prompt the participant to pray for a specific petition. Object prayers give children ideas on what to pray about and can get children engaged with learning to pray on their own.

The Hand Prayer is simple and fun. Ask your children to hold their hand out in front of them. Each finger on their hand represents a prompt:

  • The thumb: pray for a family member
  • Pointer finger: thank God for something
  • Middle finger: pray for your church or pastor
  • Index finger: pray for creation
  • Pinky finger: pray for someone who needs help

Have students put down each finger one at a time, starting with the thumb, and ask them to pray the prompt silently. Once all fingers are in a fist, have them repeat the prayer but this time put their fingers up, starting with the pinky finger.

Incorporating Scripture

As stated earlier, speaking God’s Word back to Him helps affirm that His will and mission are your own. Another way to teach prayer is to use topical verses. Using Scripture in prayer is a way to remember God’s promises and the blessings He has graciously given.

Tell your students to pray the verse you give them, but also encourage them to use it as a springboard. Praying Joshua 1:9? Is there an area of your life in which you need to be brave? Or in Philippians 4:6, is there something you are anxious about? Is there someone you need to forgive, or something you need to ask forgiveness for?

By bringing everything back to the place we hear directly from God, not only do we teach about prayer, we also teach of the value of Scripture.

Don’t forget to remind children that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16) because Jesus made the ultimate payment for our debt. Jesus is the reason we are free from sin, death, and the devil (Romans 6). Because of His perfect life and sacrifice, we pray to the Father in the name of the Son.


CPH offers many books that aid in helping children learn to pray. Check out Portals of Prayer for Kids: Daily Devotions for one resource that is developmentally appropriate for teaching prayer!

Written by

Adele Gendron

Hailing from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Adele Gendron is a student at the University of Michigan. She is a Communications Studies major and is completing her Minor in Writing. Devoted to Jesus, Adele has a passion for serving others and sharing the Gospel. She has served on Cru at the University of Michigan’s Social Media Team, on her church’s praise band, and at CUAA’s Tool Time. In her spare time, you can find her spending time with friends, reading, or watching movies.

Featured

1Thessalonians

Books of the Bible—Study Questions: 1 Thessalonians

The Book of 1 Thessalonians calls believers to live in the Gospel and fulfill their calling in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Paul reminds the...

high-school

Adjusting to School as a Lutheran College Student

College is tough. With tough classes, trying to make new friends and getting involved, it can be a lot. Then trying to find a new church...

Hymnals_open-1

Hymns as Poems: What Do They Mean without Music?

Although I think that the music is essential to the hymn in the end, taking the text out of the music can give us a clearer understanding...

Latest

shutterstock_30020029

Teaching Parables: Teaching the Rich Man and Lazarus

The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus teaches the importance of viewing others through the lens of God in Christ, and that God desires...

vbs-volunteer

VBS Volunteers Who Make a Lifelong Impact

Mr. Vedder was my VBS crew leader when I was 11. He seemed super old except when he smiled. He had a loud laugh, and he made me laugh too.

supporting-youth

Supporting Youth Who Have Non-Christian Parents

Here are some suggestions to help encourage youth with non-Christian families and parents to a life with Christ.