Praying for Kids – Teaching Them They Can {Guest Post}

I’m so thrilled to introduce Alicia to you for the next instalment of our Praying for Children series.  Alicia currently serves as the Pastor of Christian Formation at a church in the suburbs of Chicago.  She works primarily with kids, youth and their families and the best part of her job is walking alongside families as their kids grow up.  She loves her community, good music and hearing people’s stories at coffee shops.  You can read more of her writing over at Striving For Shalom.

Read and be encouraged!

Grace and Love

Helen x

 

Praying for our

 

As a pastor, I try to instill in my kids the confidence to pray out loud.  It’s a skill most of us haven’t honed quite yet.  It’s nerve wrecking to take a chance and pray in front of others.  We think there are a certain set of words we have to draw from, a certain type of prayer that is or isn’t appropriate to pray, we freeze up under the pressure of praying out loud.

 

But children, they haven’t learned that fear yet.  They haven’t felt that pressure to get it right yet.  They are still eager to ask God for anything and everything that pops into their mind.  I see my role to help them keep that innocence and confidence as long as possible.  And to give them the chances to grow in their confidence and prayer habits in a safe environment.  Here are some tips on how to do that with the children in your life:

 

 

Do ask for prayer requests – Don’t downplay their requests

 

We start off our time in the classroom together with prayer requests.  We have a little journal where we record them each week and pray as a group for the requests raised.  I have had all types of requests, some silly, some strange, some heartbreaking, some simple.  As adults, we have a tendency to downplay kids’ responses to God by laughing or calling them “too cute.”  We think that we are affirming them but kids can see that as a message that their requests don’t mean as much.  It can begin to shut them down to being honest about their prayers.  So I encourage you, no matter what you think about their request – treat it with the same dignity and respect you would want your requests treated with.

 

Do pay attention to their requests – it shows their hearts

 

Just like we pray for the people and things we love the most, so do children.  Their prayer requests highlight the people they care the most about and the things they fear the most or question the most.  Their prayer requests mean something in their lives, they reveal who the child is and what is on their mind.  Once you pray for those things, check in on them, ask the child more about their requests.  It will provide you with a deeper understanding of them and show them that you care.

 

Do encourage them to pray on their own

 

Once you’ve listened to their requests, encourage them to pray for one another.  Help them to remember that prayers don’t have to sound fancy, they are just a conversation with God.  They can be a sentence long or a few sentences long.  Set them up for success by reminding them of the requests or asking them to pray for a specific person in the group.  Allow them to take turns or to repeat after you.  When all else fails, lead by example and pray for their requests.

 

Do lead by example- in public and in private

 

Kids can learn by seeing it done or hearing it done.  Cover them with prayer using language they can understand.  Keep your prayers short and simple to keep them engaged.  I’m not saying that you have to “dumb it down” but I am saying it’s helpful for kids to know the words we are using.  This can help them to see prayer as something accessible, something to listen to rather than tone out.  Another way to lead by example is to pray for them in your own prayer time.  I try and pray for one of my church kids each day.  Lifting them up by name and recalling a request they asked for that Sunday.  As I do this, I try to send them a card or a note telling them I lifted them up in prayer.  The more that prayer is part of their vocabulary and practice, the more comfortable they will feel with it.

 

We all strive for a good prayer life, but we have stumbling blocks.  What if we raised a generation that didn’t have those?  That never felt their prayers weren’t good enough.  When we teach our children to pray and we encourage them to prayer from their hearts, we’re getting closer to that reality.

You can read more from Alicia at Striving for Shalom

You can read more from Alicia at Striving for Shalom

Comments

  1. Great post! Teaching kids to pray is so important. I’ve spoke to many adults that say they just don’t know how to pray. That’s sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teaching children to pray is very important. I’ve spoke to many adults who say they don’t know how to pray. That’s sad.

    Like

  3. alondatanner says:

    I love this! My oldest is only 3 but I am already introducing Him to God and the power of prayer. He loves to pray and it’s so cool to see him initiate prayer.

    Like

  4. alondatanner says:

    I love this! My oldest is only 3 but I am already introducing Him to God and the power of prayer. He loves to pray and it’s so cool to see him initiate prayer.

    Like

  5. Yes! I can’t wait to pray with our little ones ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dawnshivers says:

    What age do you start asking for prayer requests? My oldest is 3 so it might be a good time to begin this now. Up until now with her and my youngest, I usually just pray over them at night and other times (like when daddy is having a bad day, they are sick, etc). I was going to do a post in my “Praying Powerfully” series on teaching kids to pray powerfully. I came across this resource: https://store.ihopkc.org/my-apostolic-prayers-workbook Thanks for the post.

    Lauren, RunHoly.com

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post! My 4 yr old LOVES to pray. My 9 yr old sometimes doesn’t want to so we are working on this.:)

    http://unveiledandrevealed.com

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your tips! I especially like that you suggest paying attention to their prayer requests. I actually write down some of the requests in a little book I have for each kid. It really does show where their tender little hearts are.
    Blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. These are great points. We always include a long list of people and things in our prayers with our littles – their favorite toys even make the list sometimes. And we say it’s okay because it is starting a conversation with God – sharing with Him what is on their hearts.

    Marissa

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love listening to my daughters pray. We encourage them to pray aloud, but don’t press them if they’d rather pray in their hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Prov. 22:6 – “…train up a child in the way…” – and so you do 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love hearing my daughter pray. It does give such insight into her heart, concerns and budding spiritual walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post! My son is 3, and he is the one in charge of saying the blessing for our family meals. Sometimes he needs a little help, but he often does it himself. Even if it’s just “Dear God, thank you for my food. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” I still choke up…….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cool! A lot of great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I like your first tip – do ask them for prayer requests! This one would be easy for me to look over because they ramble on so or they’re so “insignificant”…but you’re right, it is important!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post! Even though I am not yet a mom, I am teacher and I totally agree with all of this! I wish someone had taught me all of these things when I was growing up. I will definitely remember these things for when I have my own children.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I was never “taught” to pray. I think it was just expected that I would hear the public prayers and take a hint.
    That’s one thing I want for my sons and I know that in order for them to be completely comfortable praying and talking about prayer, I must be as well.
    Amazing how children will change us for the better!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Love these tips! I love hearing the honesty and sincerity in my girls’ prayers. Just this past weekend the oldest prayed for “to see butterflies on her birthday” and the youngest prayed for “to go to her playroom and play” which after Bible study she did!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks for these stupendous reminders sis Alicia. It’s indeed very important to pass the baton to our younger generation with care. Kids learn the most not from what we say but from what we do. I’m looking forward to seeing more and more prayerful children.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Anna - Southern Breeze Collections says:

    Great post! These are such great tips on teaching children to pray and not be afraid. You’re so right, as adults we often get “scared” to pray out loud but since children don’t know that fear yet it’s a perfect time to build their confidence so when they are adults they won’t think twice about praying out loud. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  21. wifemummynurse says:

    Love this – “Don’t downplay their requests.” It is so easy to fall into that temptation, especially since the requests can seem trivial.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. We try to pray with our kids at least every night. Our oldest is getting to where he likes praying in front of our emmidiate and extended family. It’s so important to lead by example!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This is awesome and exactly the kind of thing I am trying to share at http://www.minivanministries.com. I use to follow tips like this in my preschool children’s ministry. It was my favorite part of the class!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I absolutely love this! My son is one but I definitely want to teach him how to pray from a very young age! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you for a lovely post, I have shared it on Twitter. May I make a suggestion? In your WordPress dashboard, can you go to the area where the social sharing buttons are and put in your Twitter username? (Without the @) That way, when someone hits share, the share is attributed to you and people know who to follow, plus it gives you a way of seeing who shares your work.

    God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

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