5 Easy Ways to Start Teaching Kids to Pray

christian family stewardship christian parenting prayer and worship stewardship of family Dec 10, 2023
Family praying before meal

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

Colossians 4:2


 

Prayer is a miraculous gift! Have you stopped to think about that recently? We have been given the amazing privilege of talking to the Creator of the universe whenever we want, wherever we want!   

You may acknowledge prayer as a good idea, but have you experienced its impact? Are you utilizing Christian family daily prayer as the God-given tool that is? There are many ways God blesses us through the practice of praying with the family! We want to help you appreciate and experience all that praying to God can be. We will explain why Christian family daily prayer is such an important value in our family and then get practical with some of the ways you can make daily family prayer time a consistent priority in your home.

So why do we pray? You would not be alone if you sometimes feel like prayer is a “nonaction,” using up precious time when real work needs doing. So let’s dig deeper. First of all, God has specifically called us to pray. Over and over, the Bible instructs us to pray.  

Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” We are invited here to pray with the Holy Spirit at any time and for anything. There are many different kinds of prayer sprinkled throughout the Bible:

  • prayers of worship (praising God for who He is)
  • prayers of petition (requests for yourself or others)
  • prayers of supplication (passionately begging God to act)
  • prayers of thanksgiving (expressing gratefulness for what God has done)
  • prayers of lament (bringing our cares and anxieties to God)
  • prayer of contrition (confession and repentance to God)
  • prayer for spiritual warfare (putting on the armor of God)

Just take a peek at the Psalms, and you will find lots of examples of prayer on display. Jesus is so intentional to invite us into the practice of prayer that He teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6. When we follow this outline, we find ourselves praying for God’s will to be done in our everyday lives, His kingdom to be seen in our cities today, and our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to be met.  

These are miraculous acts, events that cannot occur without the supernatural intervention of God. So you see, prayer is not a nonaction. It is an important and meaningful action in the life of a Christian. Pursuing direction, intervention, and power from God is the only place for a follower of Jesus to begin.

We have to be fully convinced of prayer’s importance before we can expect to impart this value into our children’s lives. If you’re still struggling through your personal conviction about the importance of prayer, invest some time exploring this by reading the Scriptures. When you’re ready to example this practice in your own home by praying with the family, consider the following five steps.

 

1. Find a good time.

Any good habit requires consistency. A smart way to develop the practice of prayer is to pick a regular time for praying with the family. There is no magical time that is better than another. But considering everyone’s schedules can help you decide what is best for your family. Daily rhythms like mealtimes and bedtime can be a helpful reminder to pray. Our family tries to pray before every meal and at bedtime. Legalistic perfection is not the goal. There is grace for busy days and unexpected interruptions. But walking in obedience will require effort. 

 

2. Keep it simple when praying with the family.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8)  

Prayer is talking to God. It truly is that simple, so why complicate it? Your words do not need to be long or eloquent. Sometimes the most powerful prayers are short and from the heart. You can pray in your own words or use prayers given to us in the Bible and other books. There are prayer and liturgy books full of beautiful words you and your family can use. Try finding or writing age-appropriate prayers for your kids.  

Do you know what kids are great at? Memorizing! The prayers our family uses at bedtime are usually ones we have memorized.  We also keep a prayer book on our kitchen table. It’s convenient and a helpful visual reminder!  Recording your prayers is also a great way to look back and recognize how God is moving in your family – an experience that would likely move you to pray!

 

3. Make it personal when praying with the family.

Prayer is talking with God. Relationships are built through good communication. Strive to make your prayers personal and honest. When preparing to pray at dinnertime, we like to ask our kids if they want to pray about anything specific from their day. This connects our hearts as a family as we listen to each other’s needs and celebrations, and even more so as we pray for them.  

Remember, prayer is not only coming before God with a long list of wants or needs. Prayer also tells God what you are thankful for, sorry for, amazed by, etc. (see the list of different types of prayer above if you need a reminder). Making prayer personal means inviting your family to bring their whole selves, the good and bad and in between, to the Lord in prayer. 

 

4. Do it together. 

Making time to pray regularly with your kids shows them that you believe prayer is essential. Praying in front of your kids and asking them to pray out loud is another way you are teaching them how to pray. This  practice of praying together invites them into the process and creates space for them to ask questions and receive your guidance. 

 

5. Switch it up.

We’ve mainly described the value of whole family prayer thus far. Before we end, we want to suggest two other settings for prayer: one-on-one and individual. One-on-one prayers mean between one parent and one child. This can be a special time for more personal matters to be shared and prayed for. It’s also a great way for parents and children to grow their relationship. As you disciple your child in prayer, you may find this intimate setting allows them the freedom to practice praying without the potential pressure of the whole family listening.

And lastly, individual prayer time. We both make time to pray individually daily. Of course, this allows us personal time with God to thank Him for his blessings and ask Him for help with our personal challenges. But it also models to our kids that they too can come to God in prayer whenever they want.  They don’t have to wait for us to lead them or for the family to gather.  

We often encourage our kids to pray to God when we know that something is bothering them or something significant has happened in their lives. We want them to carry this vital practice with them wherever they go throughout their lives.

 

Personal Story

We wanted to make daily praying with the family a more consistent and intentional practice in our home.  While we did pray before bed and meals, we were not good at incorporating prayer in other aspects of our daily routine.  

We decided to buy a prayer book that was appropriate for the ages of our kids to assist with the practice of praying with the family. We would ask our kids what they wanted to pray for, find the associated prayer in our prayer book, and use that for our family dinner prayer.  Shortly after starting this new prayer routine, Lexi began to asking more curious questions about prayer, such as, “Why do we pray?” and “How do we pray?”  

This gave us an excellent opportunity to discuss the amazing blessing God has given us through prayer.  She also told us that she had been praying by herself in bed for various things. It was great to see how she began using this blessing personally after we made Christian family daily prayer a more important priority in our family’s worship routine. 

 

Key points:

  • Prayer is a blessing from God, and we should be radically effective stewards of this blessing.
  • Christian family daily prayer can be easily incorporated into your family’s daily routine if you make it a priority and find a specific time each day that works for your entire family.
  • Incorporating this habit of praying with the family can lead to your children better understanding and using this gift in their lives, even from a relatively young age.
  • Consider praying as a family, one-on-one with your children, and individually.

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