Prayers for Children – Instruction
Many parents feel uncomfortable when constructing prayers for children or instructing their children about prayer. As parents we want to impart our depth of faith as we help our children discover their spiritual selves. We all have that picture-perfect image of a praying child -- closed eyes, folded hands, peaceful expression. But usually times of prayer find our children fidgeting while we shush them, telling them to bow their heads. Is there a formula that defines prayer in a natural, simple manner to our children?
Even the youngest child understands that prayer means “talking to God.” As a child shares their concerns, parents can write down simple phrases to help them recall. By creating specific prayers, parents can address the child’s individual needs and concerns. Prayer is “stimulated” by many things -- walking in the park/woods (giving thanks), seeing the handicapped/elderly (asking for healing), planning a vacation (requesting protection). Music creates an awareness of God’s nearness, helping children to focus on their feelings (Colossians 3:16). In time, children learn that prayer is a special time of thanksgiving with a Friend.
Praying out loud is important -- God spoke His Word out loud. There is power in prayer, especially when incorporating God’s spoken Word. It is very helpful for children to memorize Bible verses. This gives parents the opportunity to see how the Holy Spirit helps their children to recall God’s truths (John 14:26). A few examples of scriptural-based prayers for children might include:
Prayers for Children – Investment
Prayers for children can be an investment in your children’s lives. Technology provides parents with a continuous electronic connection with their children (monitors, cell phones). Only prayer reinforces a life-long spiritual connection between the Heavenly Father, parents, and children. Parents often pray for their children’s healing or physical protection, yet spiritual security must take a higher priority. Pray that your children have the courage to follow Jesus (salvation), a teachable spirit (obedience), and wisdom to use the talents God gives them for His glory (commitment).
From birth, parents are investing in their children’s spiritual security. Even newborns are involved in prayer as you hold them, praying and introducing them to God’s love (Matthew 19:14–15). No one will pray as fervently for your children as you. No one will invest as much time in shaping their children’s values. The father’s relationship often models a child’s basis for a relationship with their Heavenly Father (Luke 11:11–13). Mothers who seek God for patience find wisdom when disciplining (Hebrews 12:6). By praying with your child after discipline, both parents and children experience God’s forgiveness and abundant mercy. The time invested in seeking God through prayer with our children will net a great return (Psalm 103:17–18).
Prayers for Children – Involved
Do your children ever see you praying as you go throughout your day? As Christ was our example, parents are called to be Spirit-led models for their children (2 Timothy 3:15–17). When our son and daughter were young, we said prayers for them, while they listened. Soon they were praying for us, while we listened. As our children learned more about God’s character, He was shaping their character as well. Their conversations with God became the “voice of their heart” -- sometimes detailed, sometimes unpretentious, always earnest.
Prayer is not about a formula. It is the anticipation of God’s response as we speak to Him. It represents a genuine expression of child-like devotion and faith. Prayers for children and with children give parents an opportunity to pass the legacy of their commitment and faith on to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:5–7).
Indeed, children throughout the world need our prayers and support. If you’re exploring Christ-led charities for children, we highly recommend Compassion International.