As a Christian community, we know the power of prayer. But how did we learn to be prayerful? Maybe you grew up in the faith, or maybe you came to faith later in life. Likely, you can think back to a person who encouraged you in your faith and prayer life. And that’s what we need to do for our kids. Praying with kids is an important way to spur them along in their own faith and for them to develop their own personal relationship with God.
Ideas to Engage Kids in Prayer
1. Get into a routine
Decide on a time that works best for your kids or grandkids and try to pray consistently together during those times. Maybe you’ll find before bed is the best time. Or before a meal. Or on Sunday mornings or afternoons. Pick a time that you won’t feel rushed so you can devote time to praying and having conversation about prayer. Kids’ ages will definitely play a role in figuring out what’s best for you. This can evolve over time as kids mature.
Family in Peru praying before a meal.
2. Pick a format for prayer
There are many different ways you can structure your prayer time with kids. Here are a few ideas:
- Five-finger prayer: Each finger represents a different thing to pray for. The thumb is closest to you so pray for those closest to you like your family and friends. The index is next, pray for those who teach you. The middle finger is tallest so reminds us to pray for those in authority, our leaders and government. The ring finger is our weakest finger so we pray for those who are weak, ill or struggling. Finally, our pinkie, the smallest, a prayer for ourself and our own needs.
- Prayer prompts: Use prayer prompts to help guide your prayer time with kids. This works great for kids of all ages and is a format that grows with them. Some prompts to get you started: Thank You, God, for _______. I love You, God, because ______. I’m so glad You helped me with _______. God, please watch over ______. I’m sorry, God, that I ______. God, please bless _____.
- Prayer walk: Go on a walk and as you see things stop and ask what it makes them think of. Then go to God in prayer. You can thank him for those things or pray for His help and care. For example, if you see birds, pray for our planet and thank God for His creation. Or if you see a neighbor on a walk, pray for them and your other friends.
- Prayer list: Write down a list of people or things you want to pray for. Hang this list on the fridge or use it as a bookmark in your Bible. If you sponsor a child, your kids can also be praying for them. This is a great way for your family to feel connected and a part of your sponsored child’s life. You can be praying for their family, their health, their safety and their education.
3. Talk about why we pray
As you take time to pray with kids, make sure you’re also devoting time to talk about why we pray. Think of a three-year-old who is always asking why, why, why. It’s important for each of us to understand why we pray, and what God tells us about prayer. Prayer is our way of talking with God. Prayer is also a time where we listen to God. God wants to have a relationship with us and we can be in relationship with Him through prayer. God hears our prayers. He may not answer them the way we expect, or in our timing, but He hears our prayers and is with us always.
Kids praying together after a Sunday School lesson.
Be Encouraged By God’s Word
Maybe you’ve found it difficult to pray with kids. You feel like you don’t know what to say. Or you’ve felt like your own prayer life is lacking. I’d like to encourage you to open up to God about those feelings. And also invite others to come alongside you to support you and be praying for you. God wants to fill us up so we can pour into others. May you be encouraged by this Psalm.
Psalm 121 (NIV)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Praying for Kids & Families We Serve
It’s our hope for you and your family that your relationship with Christ would grow and flourish in the year ahead. As you are praying with kids may you be reminded of God’s love for you and all His creation. As God cares about each of us so deeply, may we share in His love and care for others as He has called. If you sponsor a child with Food for the Hungry, or you support our mission by giving through the Gift Catalog or other causes, please continue praying. Pray for the children and families we serve. Pray for God’s favor in helping families overcome poverty. We are so thankful for our community who supports our mission through prayer.
Thank you for praying.
More Kid-Related Blogs:
A Goodnight Prayer for You and Your Kids
Kid-Friendly Printable Activities to Share with Your Sponsored Child
Raising Kids Who Care: Fun Activity for Kids