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How to Teach Children to Pray

Updated on July 15, 2013
Child praying at mother's knee
Child praying at mother's knee | Source

Prayer is Simply Talking to God

I grew up with the smell of coffee brewing and the sounds of my father praying the Morning Offering each day before a simple breakfast of toast and cereal. I am so appreciative to my father for starting each day in a strong, positive way for our family. Growing up in an environment where traditional prayers were learned gave me the confidence and desire to pray from the heart. Teaching children to pray gives them a sense of hope and comfort as they begin their faith journey. Teach a child that the purpose of prayer is not to memorize or recite a bunch of words but the purpose of prayer is simply to talk to God.

Start Praying With Your Kids

There are many ways to teach a child to pray; perhaps one of the best is to pray together. Children learn and model their parents' behavior. It is easy to start simply by saying grace before meals or bedtime prayers. Traditional prayers are good ways to get started. Prayers can be altered to your liking and you can add your own specific blessings, thanksgivings, and requests. You can encourage a child to start by simply saying, "Thank you God for my toys" or "Please help Grandma feel better." Once you are comfortable praying together, it will become a natural occurrence in your home.

"Let the little children come to Me."
"Let the little children come to Me." | Source

Guardian Angel Prayer

Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day (or night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

Make Prayer Meaningful

One of the best things we can do for a child is to help them develop a relationship with God. One way to do this is through prayer. When a child prays to God about his hopes and fears, he begins to realize that we can talk to God through our own form of prayer. Traditional prayers are wonderful gifts, but it is important to teach not just the words of the prayer, but what the words actually mean. Sometimes we get in such a hurry, it is easy to rush a prayer--especially before meals when we are anxious to eat. When you slow down your words, it is easier to reflect upon what you are actually saying. The Lord's Prayer, also known as The Our Father, and the Guardian Angel Prayer are two favorites to learn. Teaching a child to pray helps encourage prayer habits to last a lifetime. Prayer helps ground us and guides us to deepen our faith.

The Perfect Game: An Example of How Faith and Prayer Brought Hope

It is Never too Late to Pray

It doesn't matter how old your child is, a baby, toddler, school kid, tween, teenager or even an adult child, to starting praying with them. A prayer is a simply a conversation with God. It is a way for you and your child to grow closer together while nurturing your faith.

Do you pray with your kids?

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Morning Offering Prayer

As Morning breaks I think of you, O Lord,
and my desire is to serve You joyfully.
With gladness, I consecrate this day to your Sacred Heart,
and offer whatever joys and sacrifices may come my way.
Thank You for all the graces You will send,
all the love, all the beauty,
and the ways You will answer my prayers.

Today, may I love my enemies,
and treat others as I would ask to be treated;
may I forgive seventy times seven and show mercy;
may I welcome the prodigal,
have compassion for the Samaritan;
be a peace-maker
and love my neighbor unconditionally.
Take all my heart,
and mind and strength, O Lord,
that this day may be truly lived for Your greater honor and glory
and for the salvation of souls.

Amen.

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    • LauraGSpeaks profile image
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      LauraGSpeaks 2 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @Perspy, glad you liked the hub. Great idea for a question on HP!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Fine Hub. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. A good "Question" for HP might be "How many times will you and your loved ones pray on Thanksgiving Day?" A poll with choices might be the tricky part. ; - )

    • LauraGSpeaks profile image
      Author

      LauraGSpeaks 3 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Jay, your points regarding reconciliation are nicely said. I am glad you are able to see past your brother's illness. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      As I remember, Jesus said: if you come to the alter to pray be sure you have nothing against your neighbor. If you do, then leave your gift at the alter, go and reconcile with your neighbor.

      Reconciliation is the point of prayer/meditation. Associate any negative emotions you have with someone and learn to forgive them and attempt to reconcile.

      Both my brother and I are in our 60's. I will call him at least once a year to talk. He does not talk much as he is mentally ill and just does not like people. I am brief. If I say something wrong he will take offense and hang up on me. At least I tried, that is the point. I can easily forgive him because of his mental illness.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Maybe if you change the word "pray" to "meditate" I might like it better. I know you didn't write the hub to please me though :-)

      I've just never seen the practice of prayer to be useful. I guess I'm just too much of a realist.

    • LauraGSpeaks profile image
      Author

      LauraGSpeaks 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      OK Austinstar, I have to say that your comment made me laugh at firrst. I was not expecting that! I am a firm believer in teaching kids to be responsible for their actions at all times. I also teach my kids to work hard to achieve their goals. For us, having faith in God is a part of our life and prayer is a way of deepening that relationship. I do like your thoughts of having plans of action. So, I don't embrace your point of view, but I do appreciate you sharing it very much!

    • LauraGSpeaks profile image
      Author

      LauraGSpeaks 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Janis, thank you for your comments. You are right, there are many forms of prayer which is good since we are all individuals with different ways of expressing ourselves. Inner stillness brings a sense of peace doesn't it? Angela, I agree. Thanks for reading.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I wish my parents had never taught me to pray. Biggest waste of time ever! Instead, I think teaching a child to be responsible for their own actions and willing to work (not pray) for what they wish to see happen is tons better.

      For instance, everyone is always praying for sick and dying people. Instead, why don't you actually do something useful and help care for them or read to them or just pay attention to them?

      Praying for something is not going to make it happen. If you pray for rain or more money or for someone to be a better person, it will really be more productive to plan for a drought, work harder or be kind to those who need it - pass it on.

      I know this is going to incite your readers, but it will also increase page views, so embrace it.

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 5 years ago from United States

      I think it is so rewarding to share our faith with our children in this way!

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 5 years ago

      Thank you for your hub. I don't practice any traditional religion, but my form of prayer comes from inner stillness where we feel our connection with the source of all. I often experience it in nature, in my garden, in the presence of children and animals, and feel full of gratitude for life and the gift of being here on earth and able to love, and learn and grow.

      Voting up.

    • LauraGSpeaks profile image
      Author

      LauraGSpeaks 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      THanks for reading twinstimes 2. It is so sweet when they are little and praying. It is so sincere and beautiful.

    • twinstimes2 profile image

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Love it! We have been praying with our kids from day one. My two year old has a crazy sign of the cross, but he is trying! Great hub! Voted up!