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.
Have you ever heard a child pray?
If so, you can probably agree that it is one of the most precious things to hear. Children have an innocent faith about them and if they are praying about something, theyre usually praying right from the bottom of their heart speaking to God with childlike faith.
If youre wondering how to teach your children about prayer, I commend you for your desire to teach such an important principle to your children.
Prayer is a powerful tool and if taught to children while they are young, its likely that they will pray throughout their whole lives.
Here are some practical ways to teach your children about prayer…
Lead by Example:
Children will learn a great deal about prayer as they hear you pray. Pray in the morning, before meals, during family time, when someone is ill, at bedtime, or anytime for that matter!
As you boldly declare your faith in prayer to God, your children will be more apt to want to follow in your footsteps. They may even add to your prayers spontaneously.
Children might be apprehensive if they hear formal prayers and wonder if they could pray so eloquent.
Teach your children that praying simply means talking to God. Just like they would talk to their teacher, parent, or friend, they can talk to God. Let them know that there is really no right or wrong way to talk to God; they can simply share their feelings, thoughts, and concerns.
Read Bible stories together:
There are plenty of times that Jesus or others in the Bible prayed to God. Read Bible stories with your children as often as you can, as they will get to learn more about God and hear how men prayed to God back in the ancient days.
There are many Bible story books available to choose from. There are also childrens prayer books you could purchase and read together.
Write out some prayers:
If your child is struggling with an issue such as fear or ill health, write out some prayers to God that he or she can pray on occasion. I know one child who taped a piece of paper to her wall by her bed that had prayers written on it. She prayed those prayers every night before going to sleep.
Let your children know that they dont have to pray word for word, but to use the prayers as a guide. You dont want them to think that their doing it wrong.
Remind them of answered prayers:
If you and your children have prayed about something and that prayer was answered, let them know.
If you prayed for Aunt Susie to recover from the flu in record time and she did, celebrate the answered prayer with your children. This will act as a faith builder for them and theyll be more apt to pray in the future.
Give them a prayer journal:
Prayer journaling is a great way for your children to learn how to pray. Purchase or make a prayer journal out of a notebook and give it to your child. Tell him to write down prayers, as well as thoughts and feelings. Encourage him to make a note when a prayer has been answered.
This will help him to build his faith and express his feelings and desires to God.
Go through the Lords Prayer:
Matthew 6:9-13 is known as the Lords Prayer. Take your children through this prayer and discuss how Jesus prayed and how they can use the same type of prayer as an example while they pray.
The Lords Prayer can teach them to:
Ask God for daily needs to be met
Ask for forgiveness for sins
Promote protection from evil
Have regular family prayer time:
Im sure youve heard the saying, A family that prays together stays together. Praying as a family is advantageous in various ways. There is a bond that is formed as people pray together and you can share that as a family.
Your children will come to love family prayer time, as there is much love and devotion during that time. Pray for each other, friends, the Body of Christ, the hurt, lost, lonely, afflicted, and so on. Commit to regular family prayer time and know that your prayers are powerful and changing lives.
Teaching your children to pray is a wonderful act of love and service. The power of prayer is remarkable and to instill that to your children is a worthwhile goal. It doesnt matter how old your children are now; you can begin teaching them about prayer today.
As you esteem prayer in your house, your children will come to understand that prayer is simply a part of life and be more apt to pray now and later in life.
Praying For Children
“Lord, I prayed for this child, and You have granted me what I asked of You.” 1 Samuel 1:27
The assignment to pray for our children is absolutely essential to raise up a generation that will withstand the enemy’s attack upon them (Genesis 22:17, Psalm. 12 7:5).
These Scripture-based prayers are dedicated to this most important responsibility and privilege of a parent or grandparent.
Lord, what do You want for my children?
Guide me by Your Spirit as I pray for my children according to Your will. I release them to You so that You can accomplish Your will for their lives. I will not try to live my life over through them. Keep me from binding them by my needs, wants, and ambitions for them. Get me out of Your way, so that You can work the life of Christ in them and give them Your best. Give me the grace to wait on You, for Your timing is perfect.
I pray that my children would:
- Receive and love Jesus as their Savior – I pray that my children will understand that You loved them so much that You gave Your only Son for them, and that because they believe in Him, they will have life forever with You. John 3:16
- Commit their lives to make Jesus Lord and be filled with Your Spirit – I pray that my children will recognize that Jesus is the Name above all names and will confess Him as Lord of all. I pray that they will trust Him with all their hearts, not lean on their own understanding, and acknowledge He is Lord in everything; thus, You will guide them in Your best way for them. May they be filled with Your Holy Spirit to the fullness of Christ. Philippians 2:9-11, Proverbs 3:5-6, Ephesians 5:18, 1:23, 4:13
- Know the true and living God intimately and cherish and apply all Your names. I pray that my children will desire to truly know You, Father. May they love You, know You intimately, powerfully apply Your names, and rely on the character they represent in all their needs. Daniel 11:32b, Philippians 3:10, Psalm 9.10
- Learn to pray and praise – I pray that my children will learn to communicate with You, their loving Father. Put Your praise in their hearts and on their lips continually. Lead them to be entirely dependent on You for everything, so they talk with You about all things and give You the honor and glory that You deserve. Mark 10:14-15, Matthew 21:16, Philippians 4:6
- Know who they are in Christ – I pray that my children will know how precious they are to You. Teach them to base their identity and security on Christ. Give them Christ-centered confidence and Christ-centered worth. Give them Your mind about how You see them and how You feel about them. As Your creations, help them to fully know who they are and what they have in Christ and what they can do through Him. Ephesians 1:4, 7, 11-14, Colossians1:27
- Be protected from the evil one by the blood of Jesus – Protect my children by the covering blood of Jesus. I pray that my children will know the power of the blood to defeat all the works of the evil one. By the blood of Jesus, bind the enemy from interfering with Your perfect purposes in their lives. John 17:15, 1 John 4:4
- Receive the love of God the Father – I pray that my children will know Your Father-heart and have the assurance of Your great love. Let them know by experience how extravagantly and unconditionally You love them. Father them with Your holy love, so that they know without doubt that You are always working in their lives in Your love.
1 John 3:1
- Love the word of God – I pray that my children will treasure Your word more than wealth. Teach them to love Your word and base their lives on it as their standard of life. Give them understanding as they humbly seek You in Your word. Teach them to plead Your unbreakable promises and to defeat all the lies of the enemy with Your truth revealed in Your word. Psalm 119:127-130, 159-1 62
- Learn to hate sin and love holiness, righteousness, and the fear of the Lord – I pray that You will write Your word on the hearts of my children, so that they will choose the obedience of hating sin and loving Your holiness. Work in their lives the holy fear of You and the righteousness of Jesus. Help them not to just keep a set of rules, but to desire to please You in all they do. Create in them a pure heart. Make them wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. Move in them to dedicate their lives to You as living sacrifices. Psalm 119:9,11; 2 Timothy 2:22, Romans 16:19b, Proverbs 8:13
- Grow up into maturity in the Lord – I pray that my children will be built solidly on the foundation of Jesus and grow in Your grace with a conscious sense of Your presence conforming them to be like You. May they continue to be built up with Your wisdom, favor, truth, love, life, faith, strength, and thankfulness. Luke 2:52, Ephesians 4:15, Colossians 2:6-7
- Glorify God in their bodies as Your temple – I pray that my children will honor You by keeping their bodies pure because they are the temple of Your Spirit. Teach them the great price You paid in the death of Jesus for their holiness. 1 Corinthians 6:19- 20, Romans 12:1-2
- Respect those in authority – I pray that my children will submit to the authorities You have placed over them as to You. Let them understand that You have established loving, wise covering for their good through parents and others in authority. Cause them to obey and not reserve for themselves the right to choose whether to obey, which You call rebellion. Give them a joyful, grateful heart as they submit to Your ordained authorities. Romans 13., Ephesians 6:1, 3.22-25
- Have healthy, edifying, satisfying, wise friendships – I pray that my children will develop friendships based on the drawing of Your Holy Spirit to righteous companions. Give them friends who are true, wholesome, and mutually encouraging. Give them wisdom in choosing relationships that will honor You. Psalm 119:63, John 15:13-14
Prayer Portions ~ 1991, 1992, 1995, Sylvia Gunter, P.O. Box 380333, Birmingham, AL 35238 USA. All Rights Reserved. 288
- Know the truth and renew their minds in God’s Word – I pray that my children will know Your truth in their hearts as well as their heads. May they base their life on Your truth instead of Satan’s lies, so that they will experience all the freedom that Jesus died to give them. I pray that they will daily renew their minds in Your word and set their thoughts on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. John 8.32, Romans12:2, Philippians 4:8
- Walk wisely in the ways and wisdom of God – I pray that my children will be delighted with Your ways and Your wisdom, that they will commit everything they do to You and trust You to show them the blessings of obedience. Teach them to not trust in themselves, but to put You first in everything. Let their actions reflect the light of Your goodness, righteousness, truth, and wisdom in all they do. Day by day fulfill all Your will for them. Psalm 37:4-6, Proverbs 3.5-6, Ephesians 5:8-10, 15-17
- Have the joy of the Lord – I pray that You alone will be the joy of my children. Fill them with Your joy inside, so they won’t pursue the world’s pleasures. Philippians 4:4, Nehemiah 8:10
- Seek to please God, not self, and serve others – I pray that my children will desire to please You in their thoughts and actions and not be people¬pleasers. May they have servant’s hearts and give to others like Jesus who did not seek to be served. Matthew 4:l0b, Psalm 19:14, Mark 10:43-45
- Learn who the enemy is and resist him victoriously – I pray that my children will humbly submit to God and resist the devil, thereby defeating him. May they discern the evil one’s tactics and not entertain his lies in their thoughts nor be entrapped by his snares. I pray that they will receive Your strength and resurrection power for every spiritual battle. 2 Corinthians 2:11, James 4-7, Ephesians 6.10
- Maintain their first-love devotion to Jesus – I pray that Jesus will be the first love of my children. Give them a passion for Jesus. Cause them to love Him with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. I pray that they will prize His affection above all else. Philippians 3.13-14, Luke 10.27.
- Find the godly life partner that God is preparing, a mate who will complement them in their obedient walk with the Lord – I pray that in Your timing You will bring my children the life partners You have chosen for them. I trust that You are developing the character of Jesus in them. May their walk together with You be an undeniable testimony that You made them for each other. Make them a mighty witness for You. Bless them with Your best. Proverbs 12:4, 31:10; Psalm 112:1-2
by Sylvia Gunter
MORE FAMILY ARTICLES
At some time, nearly every child asks the question, “Why does Heavenly Father want us to pray to him?” As parents lead their children in prayerful respect and appreciation, they model for them a way of life that will bring gratitude, blessings, comfort, guidance, faith, and love.
Spirituality begins with prayer. In one way or another, how we live every commandment is affected by how we have regular, sincere communion with Father in Heaven. It is impossible to measure the blessings that come to those families who have learned to make earnest, humble, continual prayer a part of their everyday lives.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “I know of nothing that will ease family tensions than will praying together, confessing weaknesses together before the Lord, and invoking the blessings of the Lord upon the home and those who dwell there.” (Improvement Era, June 1963, p. 531.)
As we explain prayer to our children, we may include (1) expressing gratitude, (2) pleading for unity and love, (3) asking for help in time of need, and (4) seeking strength to resist or overcome.
Gratitude. Through prayer we can express our gratitude to our Father in Heaven for his kindness and blessings. As we express thanks for each other, our home, and our special times together, our children will not only feel our appreciation but will also learn to express theirs. We can also thank our Heavenly Father for the Restoration, for the beauties of nature, for a safe journey, and for particular blessings given to our family.
Unity. One of the great blessings received in a prayerful home is added family strength. Great bonds of love develop as we sincerely seek the Lord through prayer in behalf of ourselves and our children. Praying as families brings us together both physically and spiritually in a way that can help us handle difficult times.
A father who found it hard to express his love for his family was able to communicate his feelings through prayer. His daughter, who had misinterpreted her father’s manner as indifference, was thrilled as her father prayed, “Bless my lovely daughter to do good.” A shy young man who saw himself as weak and afraid felt pride and self-esteem when his father and mother thanked God for their “kind, gentle son.” (See Ensign, Jan. 1976, p. 37.)
In turn, it is comforting to know that we as parents can receive guidance and understanding from an all-wise, all-loving Father in Heaven. Through prayer, we can better understand our children and their individual needs. We can receive insights to help us teach and discipline them.
Prayer unites family members with each other and with the powers and influence of heaven. It can also enable us to feel a continued closeness to children who have married or who are away serving missions or attending school. We can also experience this closeness with our extended family as we pray for our relatives.
Need. Prayer can also be a great source of comfort when we have a special need or a problem to solve. We can pray for family members who have lost faith or testimony. The Apostle James wrote, “Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16.) We can pray about choice of employment, large purchases, how to help a neighbor or serve well in our Church callings, and about the best way to approach family history or temple work.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that as our needs vary, so does the intensity of our prayers, and he referred to the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane:“‘And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ (Luke 22:44.)
“Now here is a marvelous thing,” continued Elder McConkie. “Note it well. The Son of God ‘prayed more earnestly’! He who did all things well … teaching us, his brethren, that all prayers, his included, are not alike, and that a greater need calls forth more earnest and faith-filled pleadings before the throne of him to whom the prayers of the saints are a sweet savor.” (Ensign, Jan. 1976, p. 8.)
Resistance. Through prayer we arm ourselves and our families with great power against the influence and temptations of Satan. As we pray devoutly for the ability to discern good from evil, our homes will become places of peace and love, fortified against the adversary. We will also receive spiritual strength to overcome temptation.
When Should We Pray?
We have been commanded to pray in secret, in our families, and in public. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord gives his disciples instruction on praying—in secret and with motives that are pure. (See Matt. 6:5–15.)
As we withdraw each day to speak in private with the Lord, we have an opportunity to gain the strength and insight necessary to best fulfill our role as parents. Our children in turn learn the value of spending time alone each day in prayer as we share some of our spiritual experiences with them.
Church leaders have counseled us to have family prayer twice daily, in the morning and in the evening. The head of the family designates who is to be voice. On special occasions it may be appropriate for each member of the family to pray vocally in turn until everyone has had a chance to say a prayer.
“When we kneel in family prayer, our children at our side and on their knees are learning habits that will stay with them all through their lives,” said President Spencer W. Kimball. “If we do not take time for prayers, what we are actually saying to our children is, ‘Well, it isn’t very important, anyway. We won’t worry about it. …’ Unless planned for, never seems to be convenient. On the other hand, what a joyous thing it is to establish such customs and habits in the home that when parents visit their children in the latter’s homes after they are married they just naturally kneel with them in the usual, established manner of prayer!” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, p. 253.)
Our attitude before and after we pray is important. To act as if prayer were merely a necessary interruption of our daily activities and to approach it with a “let’s get it over with” attitude is to greatly minimize its meaning in our lives. To fail to prepare to speak with the Lord will often result in mechanical, lifeless prayers that accomplish nothing. Likewise, to rush from our prayers, never giving them another thought, will make them far less effective and meaningful in our lives.
One family tries to make family prayer a calm, worthwhile experience by having a transition time before they pray. “When we call for prayer, we are interrupting the lives of many people involved in various tasks and projects. Everyone has his mind focused on what he was doing, and we need to take a few minutes to prepare ourselves for prayer. may say to children, ‘Let’s take a few moments to think about who we are praying to and why. Let’s quietly think about what … we are grateful for. …’
“Often we go around the prayer circle and ask each family member if he has any special needs or blessings he would like remembered in the prayer.
“Cynthia may ask for a clear, alert mind in preparing for an exam in school; Maria might request that she be blessed to play well at a piano recital that evening; Stephen may need help in passing off a merit badge for Scouting … Sandra might need guidance in preparing her Relief Society lesson. … This process helps us to be aware of everyone’s needs and to pray specifically.” (Ensign, Jan. 1976, p. 61.)
Sometimes, too, family prayer time helps establish an atmosphere in which we can do things together that don’t seem to happen at other times. Ann Banks wrote, “Our teenage son was tense and sullen whenever we tried to discuss any problem with him. We decided it was important to plan the discussion when he would be most receptive, and that seemed to be at family prayer time in the mornings. It was then that the house was quiet and we shared a humble, sincere feeling. We found the tenseness eased when prayer preceded our discussions.” (Ensign, Jan. 1976, p. 37.)
How Should We Pray?
The most important way to teach children to pray is through example. As they hear us pray, so they will learn to pray. Besides family prayer, we can pray with each child alone at various times.
Small children can repeat the words of a prayer after an older member of the family. If we are careful to pray specifically about things that are meaningful to them, and to avoid pat phrases, they will not get a mechanical view of prayer.
Primary children learn the four steps of prayer:
“Our Father in Heaven …
“We thank thee …
“We ask thee …
“In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
This basic structure helps a child remember the essentials of prayer and introduces the formal “thee, thou, thy, thine” references that should be used in approaching Deity.
A mother made the following comment after a memorable experience with her child: “One evening I was listening to our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter as she was praying. She was asking Heavenly Father to bless her blanket, her kitty, the trees, and other things that made up her world at that time. I began to wonder if the Lord heard such insignificant little prayers and instantly received a very strong witness through the Spirit that our Father in Heaven was very aware of my daughter and her prayers and that he loved her and knew her well. That spirit stayed with me through the rest of her prayer and gave me a greater feeling of reverence for prayer and for this child that was mine to rear.”
In addition to teaching children how to pray, we need to teach them how to recognize answers to prayers. We can tell them how we have received answers to prayers and show them examples from the scriptures. We can explain that answers may come in an impression, a feeling, a sense of warmth or peace, or a still, small voice. They may come as we read the scriptures.
As we model for our children the proper attitude of prayer, we need to be more willing to be taught as we approach our own prayers. We must close off the “noise, the confusion, and the cares of the world” so we can “be still, and know that God” (Ps. 46:10), explains Arthur Bassett. Once we have established that stillness, we must draw upon our own powers of concentration to exert ourselves to the utmost, “ deeper and deeper into the recesses of the soul. …
“Vital prayer is never a three-minute pause on the way to a good night’s sleep. Rather, we need to invite the Lord into our thoughts and, in the light of his guidance, subject our life-style to our most penetrating scrutiny. At such moments of total concentration on our part new thoughts may flow into our minds.” (Ensign, Jan. 1976, pp. 32–33.)
Once children have been introduced to the basic elements of prayer and its importance in spiritual growth, we will want to continue learning about this marvelous gift together and perfecting our prayers as we perfect our lives in obedience, praying together that His “will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10.)
Photography by Craig Dimond