Do you pray with your kids? If yes, great, but if not, do you know what is stopping you? Sometimes life just seems too hectic to find the time but praying with our children can truly be life-altering – for us and for them. In this blog, we will start by sharing some quick pointers and ideas of ways to pray with our kids, followed by some great short prayers for children.
It is a wonderful gift to be able to pass on the blessing of prayer to our children and even more than that, to show them what a living relationship with our Heavenly Father looks like. Speaking from experience, I know that quite often I pray out of a place of needing to pray with my children – for example, if they can’t get to sleep or are worried about a test or a friendship. We all need reminding to come as we are to God; in the good times as well as the hard, to teach our children that this is what living with God looks like.
You may find that prayer is tricky for some children, or they may love the simplicity of it. Perhaps they get distracted or forgetful. Perhaps they are too tired to concentrate at bedtime, or perhaps they are too shy to pray out loud, which is why it sometimes helps to have a few prayers that you can easily remember. Jesus has great compassion for children and as He reminded us in Matthew 19:14; “Let the little children come to me”. He longs for His children to come to Him, whether they are feeling sad or happy – because that’s what friends do.
Stuck in a rut?
If you’re feeling stuck in a prayer rut with your children, or if you haven’t really started praying with them yet, maybe shake things up a little. When we get creative, things start to feel freer, and breaking the mold can really help us to find out new ways and ideas, that feel fun.
Maybe you could pray at breakfast instead of bedtime? Perhaps you could pray together on a walk or on your drive to school? Or you could encourage the children to write their worries down and put them in a worry jar. Why not pray over these and get them out again, later on, to see how God has answered their prayers?
You could also use your daily routine to spark prayer, for example, when you wash, remember those who don’t have clean water. When you go to bed, thank God that you are safe. When you switch on a light, thank God for your home and pray for those in other countries who are in need. Your prayers don’t have to be long, even just a couple of minutes is better than not coming to God at all.
In all these creative ways of approaching prayer, we want to show our children what living in a relationship with God looks like. We want to live in a way that is different, turning to prayer when a big bill comes in, instead of stressing out. The Bible says: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it”. Proverbs 22:6
Praying from the Psalms
With my own children, I have found it helpful to remind them that they can pray on their own at any time and that God will always be listening to their prayers. But sometimes repeating the same words is comforting too. When praying with my children, I have found that the Psalms are a great place to start. Among these precious verses of wisdom, joy and sorrow, are many pearls of wisdom that can be turned into short prayers for children to pray. If we can teach our children to pray by using the Psalms, then we are feeding them on Scripture too. The more they get to know these verses, the more they will be able to call them to mind at times of need.
If you’ve never prayed from the Psalms before, then it’s really very simple:
– start by reading a few verses out loud
– begin to pray out of a particular verse that jumps out at you or speaks to your child’s situation.
Read on for some very short prayers for children to say. All verses are from the NIV unless otherwise stated.
1. A prayer of praise
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1
For example, out of this scripture, you could pray: “Thank You, Lord, that You are good and that Your love goes on forever. Amen.”
2. A prayer of thanks
“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
“Thank You, God, that You created me and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Amen.”
3. A prayer for guidance
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
“Thank You, Lord, that Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Show me what to do in this situation. Amen.”
4. A prayer for times of fear
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“Thank You, Lord, that You are my light and my salvation. I don’t need to fear anyone for You are my strength. Amen.”
5. A prayer for times of trouble
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“Thank You, God, that You are safe and strong, a helper who is always there for me. Amen.”
6. A prayer for times of sadness
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Thank You, God, that when I’m sad, You are near to me. Amen.”
7. A prayer for sleep
“I will lie down and rest in peace, for You alone O Lord, give me peace.” Psalm 4:8 (NLT)
“Thank You, God, that I can lie down and rest for You alone, O Lord, give me peace. Amen.”
Learning from Our Children
We hope these short prayers for children bless you and your kids as you pray together. May we learn from the uncomplicated nature of children, who take God at His word and believe He will do what He says.
Finally, if you want to read on for some more ways to introduce prayer to your daily routine, check out this blog post.