It’s much easier to tell our children to say their prayers than to guide them through the process. Praying out loud is a bold expression of faith. Though many of us feel comfortable praying out loud in a group, it’s hard for others to muster the courage to verbalize prayer even to our own children.
Even when we are brave enough, we often let the opportunity to pray with our kids pass by in the rush of the day’s routine. Carving out time to pray with our children blazes a trail for them to cope with life the way God created us to – in conversation with Him.
Deuteronomy 11:20 tell us to “Teach these things to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning.” When it seems daunting to break down faith to our children, let us pray to the Lord for strength to pass down His truth in prayer with the little lives He’s entrusted us with on this earth.
Table of contents
- 1 1. A Prayer for When I am Thankful
- 2 2. A Prayer for When I am Sad
- 3 3. A Prayer for My Friend
- 4 4. A Prayer for Help
- 5 5. A Prayer for My Sister
- 6 6. A Prayer for My Brother
- 7 7. A Prayer for My Grandparents
- 8 8. A Prayer for My School
- 9 9. A Prayer for My Mom
- 10 10. A Prayer for My Dad
- 11 Teaching Kids to Pray in Creative, Real Ways
- 12 Pray FOR them.
1. A Prayer for When I am Thankful
God, thank You for this day! Thank You for the birds and the animals, the flowers and the trees, the lakes and the streams, and the sun that rises and sets over them each day. Thank You for creating everything we see! Thank You for the life we live, and for making each person different. Thank You for Jesus, who died for us so that we can go to heaven one day just for believing in Him. What an amazing God You are! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
2. A Prayer for When I am Sad
God, I am sad. But You are good, and You are there. You listen to me when I cry. I can cry to You and tell You what is wrong. Even when I don’t know what to say, I can just pray, “Help me, God, I’m so sad.” You promise that whatever I am going through, You will be there. Thank You for always loving me, even when I am really sad. Thank You for this day, even though it’s not been the best day. Show me how to cheer up. Help me to be happy. Help me to see and remember all of the good things You have blessed my life with, and dry my tears. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
3. A Prayer for My Friend
God, Thank You for my friend. You tell us that it is not good to be alone, God, and bless us with family and friends all around us. Thank You for giving us people to talk to and laugh with. I pray for my friend today, that they have a good day and a blessed life. They are a blessing to me, God, when I need them the most. Just like Jesus is to me. Help me to be kind like Jesus. To be a good friend to others and spread His love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
4. A Prayer for Help
God, Sometimes I don’t feel like talking about what’s wrong. I just want to be mad or sad or frustrated. I would rather sit by myself. Sometimes, things feel too big for me to figure out. Sometimes, life seems really unfair. I need Your help, God. You are the only One who sees everything and knows everything. You are the only One who knows everything about me. Can You help me to trust You, today? Please teach me how to take what I feel and give it to You to sort out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
5. A Prayer for My Sister
God, Thank You for my sister. You tell us that no family is put together by accident. That the people in our lives are placed there by You. Thank You for making us sisters. Bless us to be friends like only sisters can be, all the days of our lives. Help me to be a good example for her, and to be there for her when she needs my support. Thank You for my sister, God. Bless her today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
6. A Prayer for My Brother
God, Thank You for my brother. The people in our lives are placed there by You. You love all of us like sons and daughters, more than we can understand! Thank You for my brother. He is a very special person in my life. Someone who is fun to be around, but also understands me. Our friendship is very special, and I look up to him very much. Please bless him, Lord. Bless my brother, and keep him safe, today and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
7. A Prayer for My Grandparents
God, Thank You for my grandparents. I love spending time them. They always make me feel special and are excited to see me. Please bless them to be healthy and strong. Protect them from harm and keep them happy and safe until I see them again. When I miss them, help me to remember all of the fun times we have when we are together. Thank You, God, for my grandparents. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
8. A Prayer for My School
God, please bless my school. Thank You for all of the teachers that work so hard to help us learn. Thank You for recess and lunchtime, when we get to play with our friends. Thank You for providing a place where we can learn more about the world You created for us to live in, and how it works. Please keep my school safe. Protect all of the grown ups and kids that come to school everyday. Protect us from harm, and help us to be kind to each other. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
9. A Prayer for My Mom
God, Thank You for my Mom. She helps me grow into the person You made me to be. Even though I don’t always listen, I love her everyday… all of the time. Just like You love us. She loves me even when I have good days, and when I’m bad. Help me to be obedient, even when she tells me to do something I don’t want to do. Thank You for my mom. Bless her to know how much I love her. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
10. A Prayer for My Dad
God, Thank You for my Dad. He guides me in life by his example and his helping hand. He teaches me how to do things and helps me with my homework. He works hard at his job for our family, and makes me laugh. Thank You so much for my dad. Please bless him, God and let him know how much I love him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
When it’s time to sleep and you want to help your child learn how to pray at bedtime, use our Kids Bedtime Prayers.
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersShort PrayersThe Lord’s PrayerSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for Guidance
Now available is our new Daily Prayer devotional! An easy way to find start your day with prayer, read today’s prayer and sign up to receive by email.
Prayer is our direct connection with God. As children grow spiritually we teach them to call on their Father in Heaven. Sometimes the honesty of these prayers reminds us what Jesus meant by the faith of a child. Here is an amazing video that features the real prayers that children pray.
This is the kind of video that really encourages me in children’s ministry. It is so important for us grown-up to lead the children to know there is a God who cares about them. When children pray – God listens.
Video: The Real Prayers of Children
Video Description: Recently the children of Granger Community Church were asked to write a prayer to God. Take a glimpse into what our own children are thinking, feeling and wishing. It’s a whole new perspective that makes you stop and question “What matters most?”
Kids Pray With Honesty
What grabs my attention in this video is the complete honesty that kids have when speaking with God. It’s so hard as a grown-up to really open up like that, even when praying. Here are a few of the children’s prayers that really caught my attention.
Give me a mom and a dad. (I’m a foster kid.)
~ age 5
Please help me walk away from the bullies at school.
~ age 10
Please help me be smarter.
~ age 9
Will my mom get laid off?
~ age 10
Please help my grandma who has all timers because it keeps getting worse.
When I’m scared, will you hold my hand?
~ age 4
Can my mommy not be in heaven, but just up the store so she can come home soon?
There are many more of these children prayers that are so powerful to see. It is a reminder of how important prayer is for kids. When the whole world doesn’t make sense children need to know that they can turn to God in prayer.
Need More Help? We have written several posts about children & prayer. Our Think Tank tackled the question of how to teach children to pray and we also wrote some practical tips for teaching kids to pray. You can also read about bedtime prayers with children. Watch this video for motivation to pray for kids, or read my prayer for the suffering children of the world.
This Sunday school lesson will help the children understand that God really does hear our prayers, even when we don’t know the right words to say.
AS KIDS ARRIVE (10 minutes)
Praying Hands (Connect-the-Dots Coloring Activity) Click here
WORSHIP TIME (5 minutes)
Further info? Click here
BIBLE VERSE (5 minutes)
“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:14 NIV
This verse will give children the assurance that God hears our prayers and answers them when they are in accordance with His Will.
BIBLE STORY (15 minutes)
Gather the children around you in preparation for story time. After the introduction, read the story about Hannah praying to God right from the Bible. If possible, use a Children’s Bible so it will be easier for the kids to understand.
Our story today takes place a long time ago, even before Jesus was born. It is about a woman named Hannah. She was one of two wives to a man named Elkanah. Hannah was very sad, because she was getting old, and still did not have any children. The other wife, named Peninnah, had both sons and daughters. To make matters even worse, whenever Hannah would go to the temple to worship God, Peninnah would tease her about having no children. It even made Hannah cry. Then one day, she decided to pray.
Read 1 Samuel 1:10-17, 20 (Hannah Prays to God)
1. Why was Hannah so sad? (Because she did not have any children.)
2. How did Hannah ask for God’s help? (She prayed.)
3. What did Hannah pray for? (A son.)
4. Do you think Hannah was happy that she prayed to God? (Yes, because God gave her a son.)
5. Can you share a time that God answered a prayer for you? (Allow for answers.)
FUN TIME (10 minutes)
Guess What You Hear (Activity) Click here
ALTERNATE FUN TIME (7 minutes)
God Can Hear Me (Object Talk) Click here
PRAYER/SNACK (10 minutes)
Further info? Click here
For today’s snack, bring Rice Krispy treats. Start by praying to God and thanking Him for hearing our prayers. As the children eat their snacks, ask them what other foods or snacks make noise when you eat them (apples, potato chips, raw carrots, etc.). What foods make hardly any noise (Jell-O, pudding, cheese, etc.)? To some adults, young children’s voices may seem tiny and childish, like the silly sounds made by some foods, but to God the words spoken by children, especially in prayer are very important. God hears and answers those prayers the same as He does for older people.
CLOSING ACTIVITY (5-10 minutes)
Have the children sit in a circle, or around the table. Start with one child and whisper one of the phrases shown below into his or her ear. Have that child whisper the same phrase into the ear of the child to his or her left, and continue around the circle until the last child is told the phrase. Then have the last child say what he or she heard out loud to see how close it was to the original phrase. As children leave, simply make the circle smaller.
Phrases:God will always hear our prayers.
It makes Jesus very happy when we pray.
If we ask anything in Jesus’ name, He will do it.
We can pray anytime, morning, noon, or night.
Compare this game to how when we pray, God hears exactly what we mean to say, even when we don’t say it exactly the way we want.
Come back next week to learn ways that we can worship God.
TAKE HOME PAGE
Give one copy to each child at the end of the class to take home . Click here
Teaching kids to pray in real, creative ways right now is something we want in our faith-based parenting. Helping kids pray as they build their own prayer life is an important teaching point in the spiritual lives of our kids!
Something happened a few nights ago that reminded me again of the responsibility we hold as parents to spiritually lead our children. The immense job we have to teach our kids to pray, to know the word, to understand Godly principles and to walk those things out in their daily relationship with Jesus.
It isn’t something they are just going to know how to do.
We must help, teach and show them.
And the job is something that does not end as they grow older.
Discipling our children takes attention, work and time.
The other night after devotions, Abby wrote me a note. In the note she said, “Mommy, I don’t know what to pray. When I pray, my mind goes blank and I can’t think of what to say.”
Sweetheart, you are not alone in that.
We were already way past bedtime so I told her I would put some ideas together for her and we’d talk about it the next day.
The next morning, I was getting ready to do my Bible reading plan. I opened my Bible app. When I looked at the chosen verse for the day, it was Romans 8:26 which says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
Do you see it?
We do not know what we ought to pray for…
Abby’s exact question from the night before was right there on my phone screen.
Paul had the same question. We all tend to have the same question. We don’t always know what to pray, how to pray, when to pray and what words to use. We can’t always fully express our needs and wants and thankfulness in ways that seem prayerful and meaningful. Sometimes the needs around us are so great that we don’t even know where to start.
Yet, this deep need to connect with God through prayer wells up within us.
Not just us but also our kids. They also have a deep need to connect with God, to hear from him, to speak with him, to present their requests and give him praise.
Many times they do not know how and it is our job to teach, model and guide them in their spiritual growth.
Teaching Kids to Pray in Creative, Real Ways
Part of that spiritual growth means showing them how to pray, how to connect with God.
Prayer with our girls is and has been a part of our family devotional time. But this was the first time one of the girls vocalized not knowing how to pray.
It stopped me for a moment. How does she not know how to pray?
When I saw that verse pop up in my Bible app, I realized God was speaking to Abby and He was also speaking to me.
Teach them. Show them. Give them the tools and resources they need to understand how to communicate with God in creative, real, tangible ways.
Pray FOR them.
Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson is a great resource!
That morning, I pulled out my pen and jotted down some notes. When Abby woke up, I showed her the verse of the day and had her read it. We talked about the verse and about Paul. We talked about how normal it is to not know what to pray but that the Holy Spirit will help us grow in our prayer life. We discussed some of the things I’d written down about prayer.
I told her that God had spoken to her through the verse of the day. He heard her. He knew her need and desire to talk to Him. And he was answering.
What did I write in my notes that day?
How do we creatively, effectively teach our kids to pray? How to we help them grow in the basics of prayer?
Helping kids pray with simple, easy, real ways to talk to God.
1} Give Thanks – A great way to get started in prayer is by giving thanks. Giving thanks is not just for the Thanksgiving holiday. We can give thanks all year round. Writing a thank you note, building a thankful tree, finding one thing to be thankful for that day. Giving thanks to God is a wonderful way to help get the words flowing when prayer seems difficult.
2} Vocalize Needs – Whether through writing down prayer requests, talking about people who are sick or friends who are going through a hard time or a neighbor who needs a job, we can bring our needs to God. The big stuff, the little stuff, the hard stuff, the impossible stuff, the easy stuff… all of it. We can tell God all about the needs around us. Every single day.
3} Think of Others – This goes along with vocalizing needs. Sometimes when we get talking about needs, we focus on our own needs. Making a purposeful effort to think of others and the needs of others helps us know how to pray not just for ourselves but for other people in our lives.
4} Help – This also goes with needs but maybe digs a little deeper. What do we need God’s help with at school? with friends? with a sibling? at church? their health? How do we need God to step in and help us each day?
5} Love – This can take many forms. Thanking God for his love, acknowledging his love, asking for his love to be shown through us. Asking him to help us love others, love our family, love kids at school. It can be thinking through the day and going over our actions. Were we acting in loving ways? Were our words loving and kind? Maybe it is remembering to tell God we love him. Focusing on love is something kids will understand and a great way to give them words to pray and things to talk to God about on their own.
6} Bible Verses – This is one of my favorite ways to help kids pray. Praying scripture is a beautiful way to communicate with God. Praying the Lord’s prayer, going through the beatitudes, putting on the armor of God, memorizing the Psalms, journaling a favorite verse, inserting their name in a passage, finding and then applying a verse to a situation… digging into God’s Word for things to pray about and pray for is a useful, valuable tool as they grow older in their walk with Jesus. Send a verse to school with them to pray at lunch. Talk about what verses mean and what they can learn about God. Print a list of verses to put by their bed or tape to the bathroom mirror. Filling our homes with Bible Verses that our kids can learn, pray and discover is beneficial and necessary.
7} Praying in the Spirit – For those moments when we don’t know what to pray, we must teach our kids to simply ask God what to pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak through them, to give them the words, to bring to their minds the needs of others or highlight something in their day that God wants to help them with or maybe show them areas where they need to grow or things they need to work on in their heart, their character, or their relationships with others. Praying in the Spirit shines light on areas they need forgiveness or maybe need to forgive someone else. This is an important part of learning to pray.
*If you are unsure about what praying in the Spirit means or how to lead our kids in this way, here is a fabulous resource written by our good friends that I know you will benefit from reading. Click here. Teaching Kids to Pray in Creative, Real Ways involves learning about praying in the Spirit!
8} Art – Drawing, coloring, creating, doodling, journaling, painting, listening to worship… giving kids a blank piece of paper and letting them draw or write their prayers is a really sweet way to help them work through feelings, understand their needs, express their hurts and share their love with God. Music is a powerful expression of communication to God. Writing songs, poems, and stories. We all can learn from using art as a way to communicate with God. It can truly be a precious way to connect with Jesus.
9} Cares and Worries and Fears – All the emotions right here. Our kids are like little bottles of a million emotions. Boys and girls alike carry the weight of fears and worries. The unknowns of the next day, new experiences, misunderstandings, family challenges, health issues, school stress… all of these things can be bottled up inside of them. We must help our kids present these things to God, tell God about each one, give them to him and leave them safely in his hands. This is a life skill that we all need as part of our prayer life. Letting our hearts rest from the cares of this world, being still, waiting for God to move in situations, giving our problems to Him and not taking them back again is very important. Putting words to these emotions is healthy for our kids and showing them that God can handle their questions, their fears, their worries and their emotions is a freeing concept as they learn how to pray.
5 Tips for Helping Kids Learn to Pray from What’s in the Bible
Helping Kids Pray: 52 Creative Ways to Help Kids Talk To God by Katie Barbee
10} Open Your Eyes – When we teach kids to pray, we often teach prayer with “close your eyes and bow your heads”, right? Well, sometimes, we need to teach kids to open their eyes. WE need to open our eyes. What is happening right in the space around us? What do we see that we could pray for or thank God for or ask for His help? Who is around us? What are they going through? How can we pray for the kids playing in the neighborhood or the person sitting next to us? Learning to open our eyes, see the world around us and pray for things in that exact moment is a creative way to help kids pray.
What can you add to this post about Teaching Kids to Pray in Creative, Real Ways?
What is a way you creatively teach your kids to pray? How do you help them learn to pray?