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Why Should I Teach My Child to Pray?
Prayer is an essential part of raising Christian kids. You see, prayer is a part of the two-way communication between us and God.
We “hear” from God by reading his word, the Bible. We talk to God by praying and voicing our praise and needs.
Teaching our kids to pray at a young age is vital. It’s a basic principle of faith that each child needs to know about, even before they become saved.
So how do you teach your child to pray? Focus on the 9 following steps and you will get off to a great start!
How Do I Teach My Child to Pray?
1. Teach Your Child to Pray When They Are Young
It doesn’t matter how young or how old your child is. They can learn to pray.
Teaching your child to pray at an early age will help your child build a strong foundation in their faith.
Another great way to build a strong foundation of faith is to teach your family the Bible. You can find my post about starting family devotions here.
2. Be a godly Example
Children are like little sponges, they will soak up whatever is around them.
Use this to your advantage! When teaching your child to pray, most likely, you will be doing the majority of the praying.
So pray out loud and pray consistently.
Having consistent times of prayer with your child will show them that prayer is important to both your family and God.
3. Mealtime Prayers
We pray together as a family at every meal.
I found that praying at mealtimes is one of the best ways to introduce prayer into your child’s life.
But it can get repetitive with “bless this food” type prayers.
To add substance to our prayers during mealtimes, we like to add something else that we are thankful for.
Check out an example of this below.
4. Bedtime Prayers
Right next to mealtime prayers, praying at bedtime is a great way to introduce prayer into your child’s life.
Introducing prayer into your child’s bedtime routine is the perfect time to teach them about prayer.
I have found that the perfect time for our family to pray at bedtime is right after I read my daughter her bedtime story.
After reading her book, she is usually calm enough to sit and listen to the prayer. Now that she is two, she will often pray some herself!
We also have an adorable book, filled with children’s prayers that is very useful when introducing prayer into a child’s bedtime routine.
5. Lead Them to Pray
We started asking our daughter what she wanted to pray for even before she understood what we were asking her!
Why did we do this?
Simple, we wanted to lay the foundation for her to begin praying on her own.
We knew that one day she would understand what it meant to pray for the things on her heart. By asking her if she would like to pray, we enabled her to take responsibility for her own prayers.
6. Offer Examples of Prayer
While you do want your child to begin praying on their own, in the beginning you will have to help them with finding the words to say.
For young children and toddlers, you may need to give them a specific thing or person to pray for.
Our two-year-old daughter may not understand the “meaning” of prayer, but she does understand how to repeat after us.
Ministry to Children uses a 5 finger prayer for children as an easy prayer prompt.
- Thumb- Those closest to you.
- Pointer- Those that point you in the right direction.
- Index- Those that lead us.
- Ring- Those that are weak, in trouble, or in pain.
- Pinkie- Prayers for ourself and our own needs.
7. Be Consistent
As with everything, consistency is key!
If your family does not already pray together at mealtimes, then choose to start there.
Once you are consistently praying at mealtimes, introduce prayer to your child’s bedtime routine.
You can continue to build on this foundation and add times of prayer to your day until you find what works for your family and your spiritual needs.
8. Pray for Others and Needs
It’s necessary that our children learn to pray for others’ needs and not just their own.
Sometimes, children can get stuck in only praying for what they want. Toys, games, extra play time, etc.
It seems we adults can get stuck in that cycle of prayer as well.
Guide your child in praying for specific people and the needs that those people may have.
This will teach them that prayer is not only focused on themselves, but others as well.
An example of this would be to have your child pray for the healing of a sick family member or friend.
9. Teach You Child to Pray Everywhere
Once you have established those consistent family prayer times, teach your child that they can pray anywhere and at any time!
You can be the example by stopping to pray while you are stuck in traffic or when you are working around the house. Pray out loud so that your child can hear you.
Don’t forget to ask them if they would like to add anything to the prayer.
Teach your child that they can come boldly before God’s throne in prayer.
Bonus: Easy Prayers for a Child
- Thank you God for my family and home.
- Thank you God for my church. Please bless the pastor this week.
- Thank you Jesus for the food you gave me today.
- Thank you Lord for keeping me safe today.
- Thank you God for always being faithful and keeping your promises.