Oftentimes a parent desires to teach their child how to talk with God (pray) but doesn’t know where to begin. Or maybe a parent teaches their child how to talk with God but feels discouraged by their child’s silly and/or disengaged behavior. Let me encourage you, your child can learn to pray and LOVE to pray.
The wonderful thing about teaching your child to pray is that Jesus loves it when little children are brought to Him.
Then people brought little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.
Teaching your child how to pray begins with teaching them to know God.
Set aside time everyday to teach your child about God. You can read your child Bible stories, show them pictures of Jesus, watch Faith Family Kids Online, or worship together by listening to worship music. God will become real to their little hearts as they hear about Him and feel His presence.
Once your child begins to understand how real and loving God is, they’ll be open to prayer.
Here’s some very practical steps to teach your child to pray that I learned as a young mom of four kids. Now as a grandmother, I still use these same steps to teach my grandchildren! Keep in mind, that every child is different. If you have more than one child, don’t worry if one child is more engaged in prayer than the other. Stay consistent and you will see results!
Show Your Child What to Do Physically.
Children can be very inclined to play and be silly–and that’s okay! Simply by having your child close their eyes and fold their hands (or hold hands with the family as you pray together), they learn to quiet their bodies and minds and think about God. Children tend to be more calm at certain times of the day (e.g. before bed, when you’re holding them, etc), try praying at those times, especially if your child is usually full of energy. As you teach your child what to do with their body while praying, your child is learning to honor and reverence God.
Let Your Child Hear You Pray.
One of my earliest childhood memories was hearing my mother pray as she went about her work in the house. I especially loved hearing her pray in the Spirit. It showed me that talking to God was real and easy and could be done anywhere.
Help Your Child Talk to God.
Give your child the words to say to God and have them repeat the words after you. You can even pray the same words every time. Repetition will help your child to remember what to pray the next time. This can start by praying a blessing over every meal. Then at night lead your child to pray before bedtime for the people in their life and the church. During these sweet times, it’s also good to lead your child to pray about their own lives and pray in the Spirit. It was during one of these times that our 2 year old daughter, Jael, was filled with the Spirit and first spoke in her heavenly language.
Give Your Child Opportunities to Talk to God from Their Own Heart.
Praying on their own will begin naturally as children remember how to pray and want to do it themselves. You can still help your child along until it flows freely from their heart.
Teach your child to talk with Jesus, worship Him anytime, and listen to Him on their own. Children enjoy this interaction with Jesus. Afterwards encourage your child to tell you what they heard Jesus say.
For example, one of my favorites was from our 3 year old grandson, Asa.
One night, Asa met and talked with Jesus in a dream. The next morning he excitedly shared with me that Jesus had said to Asa, “I love you so much!” I asked if Jesus said anything else and Asa replied, “Jesus said to tell you ‘Hi.’”
Sample Prayers for Your Child to Pray:
Prayer before meals:
Dear God (or Dear Jesus, Dear Father)
Thank You for my food.
Bless it to my body.
In Jesus’ Name,
Prayer for healing:
Thank You for Jesus.
I ask You to heal my (whatever pain or sickness they have)
Please take away the pain.
Thank You for healing me.
In Jesus’ Name,
Prayer for needs:
Thank You for loving me and giving good gifts to me.
I ask You for (whatever requests or needs they have)
Thank You for giving me those things.
In Jesus’ Name,
Prayers before bed:
Thank You for all my family and friends.
Please help me to obey and be kind.
In Jesus’ Name,
Thank You for (or bless) Mommy and Daddy.
Thank You for my family. (you can pray for as many people as you want)
Thank You that I played outside today. (whatever the child did that day)
Thank You for my church and all my friends.
Thank You for my toys.
Thank You for my house and my bed.
I ask You for good dreams.
Thank You for keeping me safe.
I love You Jesus.
I will obey You and do what You want the rest of my life.
In Jesus’ Name