Helping our Children Learn to Pray

Pray Through Art

Coloring Prayer: First, gather coloring utensils and coloring sheets. Second, decide what you’ll pray for with each color. For example, use purple while praying aloud for animals, green for family members, blue for the Earth and the environment. Tailor the categories to your own family.

Prayer in Song: One of the easiest ways to teach children to pray is through singing our prayers. Here are a few examples:

To Express Adoration – This should be done first before we bring any needs to Him as we need to adore Him for who He is:

To adore God is to put our devotion to him first. The Merriam-Webster says it is, “to regard with loving admiration …” as well. Do we focus on God in our prayers in a way that admires who he is?

The group All Sons & Daughters sing “Great Are You Lord” as a powerful response to the greatness of God. He is our very breath, and with that breath, we offer our praise! This song offers a passionate prayer of adoration.

You give life You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope You restore ev’ry heart that is broken
And great are You Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

The Goodness of God

When we focus on the goodness of God, we regain ground in our souls. This song, “Good, Good Father” keeps our attention where it belongs. There is so much about God that is good, but the idea that we are his and that he loves us is probably the most fantastic thought.

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

To Confess Sin

To confess is “to acknowledge” before God both our condition or acts of sin.

One modern worship song out there that confesses in this way is “Lord, I Need You”–performed by Matt Maher

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

 

Prayer Journal: Invite your children to begin drawing and writing their prayers to God. Even little ones can draw their prayers. For those who are older, they may want to write letters to God. Additionally, giving children a prompt can offer needed structure. Perhaps encourage them to write God about their hopes for the coming school year.

Five-Finger Prayer: Developed by Pope Francis, this prayer practice assigns each finger something to pray for. The thumb is for those closest to us. The index finger for those who teach, instruct and heal us. The middle finger, our tallest, is for our leaders. The ring finger, our weakest, for those who are weak. The pinky is for ourselves.
Here is our very own Julie Brittain teaching the 5 finger prayer

Prayer Walk: Go for a walk together in search for the things you’re thankful to God for. Sidewalks, trees, bird songs, smiles from other pedestrians, flowers in bloom, passing cars and buses that make travel possible. So much to appreciate! Additionally, this is an excellent way to get outside, slow down the mind and get active together.

 

Scripture Prayer: First, choose a Bible verse and use it as a prayer to begin and end each day with your children. Try John 3:18, Psalm 46:1 or Romans 15:13. Additionally, it may be helpful to have it posted by their bed to read together.

Breath Prayer: First, choose a word or brief phrase to repeat in one breath. Now, if it’s a phrase, say one part on the inhale and one part on the exhale. For example, invite your children to think in their minds or whisper to themselves Psalm 56:3. Next, on the inhale, think or say “When I am afraid.” Then, on the exhale, think or say “I will trust you.” Repeating breath prayers is a meditative practice that can be done with children of almost any age.

Fill in the Blank Prayer:  Take turns going back and forth or from person to person, if you’re in a group, saying, “God is great, God is good, thank you God for ______________.” See how long you can keep it going. It’s fun (and sometimes breathtaking) to hear what your children say. Discussing what is inside our hearts and minds with each other is a crucial way to build relationships. Consequently, this practice builds both relationships with God and with each other.

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