Here are 9 simple and fun ways to help young kids pray. Feel free to send these ideas to your families, or add them to lessons on the suggested subject…or modify them to fit any number of lesson topics.
It’s important that we help children discover that prayer is more than a quiet time—it’s an opportunity to talk to God, praise God, and thank God. By creating unique prayer experiences, your children will learn that talking to God can be as simple as talking to a loving parent or friend.
9 Creative Ways to Help Young Kids Pray
Paul & Silas
1. Prayer Chain
Help children write or draw prayer requests on 2- by 8-inch strips of construction paper. Children might have concerns such as a sick relative, moving to a new home or school, safety, or a friend who doesn’t know Jesus. When you’ve written at least 10 prayer requests, show children how to make prayer chains by gluing the strips into links and looping them together Each day join children in praying for one of the concerns and “breaking the chain” by tearing that link.
2. Mighty God
Teach children this praise prayer to the tune of “Old MacDonald.” Each time you sing it, encourage children to fill in new words that describe God, such as awesome, gentle, holy, and Father.
You, O Lord, are powerful.
I’ve seen what you can do!
But even though you’re mighty strong,
You’re kind and loving, too!
You help me out
When I’m in need.
Thank you, God, for loving me!
You, O Lord, are powerful.
I’ve seen what you can do!
3. Pray at Home
- Encourage compassion in children by praying together for people who are in prison. Be sure to thank God for loving all of us even when we do wrong things.
- Paul and Silas went through many hard times. Pray with your family for someone who is going through a difficult time. Ask God to help that person through the difficulty and to show your family how to be encouragers.
4. Praise Balloons
Blow up and tie off one balloon for each person. Give each family member a permanent marker, and have him or her draw something that reminds them of the Moses passage on the balloon. You may want to provide crepe paper streamers or yarn for individuals to tape on as “hair.” When everyone has designed a balloon, form a circle. Go around the circle, and have each family member say one great thing about God, such as “God is powerful,” “God is creative,” or “God is loving.” As family members praise God, have them bop their balloons and keep them in the air. Soon you’ll be bopping all the balloons and celebrating our one true God! Close by having everyone sit on a balloon to pop it and then say “amen!” (Have family members pick up all the balloon bits so toddlers or animals don’t choke on them.)
5. Counting Commandments
Use this simple counting rhyme to teach children that God’s 10 special rules help us follow him. Children can hold up the appropriate number of fingers for each line.
One, two, three.
Your special rules are just for me! (point to self)
Three, four, five.
As I grow, they’ll be my guide. (move hands up to indicate growth)
Five, six, seven.
Your special rules came straight from heaven! (point up)
Seven, eight, nine.
I’ll keep them in my heart and mind.
(touch chest, then head)
That’s the end! (clap each word)
I’ll thank you for your rules again! (wiggle all 10 fingers)
6. Pray at Home
• Lead children in praying for the law enforcement officials in your community. Thank God for allowing us to live in a country where laws and rules keep us safe and give us the freedom to worship God.
• Light a candle, and talk about how God spoke to Moses from a burning bush. Have family members pray and ask God to open their ears to listen for his voice each day.
• Have each child ask God to help him or her show love to one specific person this week. Then pray and commit to showing love for God in a new way each day.
7. God Is With Us
Teach children this song to encourage them to pray for friends and family members each day. Sing it to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me.”
Whether I’m at home or play,
God is with me every day.
Thank you, God, for being near.
When I pray, I know you hear.
I pray for [name] x 3
God, watch over them today.
8. Anywhere Prayers
As a reminder that Jonah talked to God from inside a great fish, find interesting and unique places for family prayers time. Allow each family member to find a spot such as a closet, a treehouse, the car, or the swing set. Gather there for prayer, thanking God for loving us when we disobey and for listening to us wherever we are.
9. Pray at Home
- Help children pray for people of different faiths. Pray that all people would come to understand that there’s only one true God.
- Just as God called Jonah to reach a wicked city, God calls us to be lights in a dark world. With your children, look over a newspaper and point out stories of people living with the consequences of sin. (Be sure to choose stories that aren’t disturbing or frightening to young children.) Pray for the people mentioned in the stories.
- On your refrigerator, post pictures of missionaries that you or your church supports. Talk about where they live and the struggles they might be facing. Have children pray for the missionaries and for the people that they’re ministering to.
These ideas came from Group Publishing’sPray & Play Bible for Young Children.
For more great articles like this in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!