So, you’ve hung your prayer wall up. Now what?
Once you’ve narrowed down WHAT to pray FOR, you have to help equip you children with WHAT to SAY. Prayer becomes intimidating for anyone – no matter what age- when you don’t quite have the words you want. Praying in front of people terrifies plenty of grown men and women, so we can understand why a young child would give the deer in the headlights look. Of course, there are plenty of children who are naturally chatty, and for them prayer time can turn into a fifteen-minute bunny trail. At the end, you are not sure what the point of the prayer was, but you are certain they enjoyed having ice cream at Grandma’s house.
The good news is that children do not have to be intimidated by prayer and they can pray in a way that others can track with. They just need to be equipped with LANGUAGE, namely Biblical language.
The goal is for our children to pray the Word of God. We know that the Word of God does not come back void. When we pray from Scripture, we are praying the very words of God. His words in our mouth bring His kingdom on earth. Can we come up with a better prayer than the ones God has already outlined in His Word? We can certainly add our words to His, but there’s no better foundation to build on.
We keep this goal in mind when teaching children to pray. So many Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments, can be used to pray from. There are many what are called “apostolic prayers” in the New Testament. Those are the prayers that the apostles prayed, and they are great launching pads for our prayer times as well. However, if you pull out Ephesians 3:16-19 and ask an eight-year-old to pray from it, they could easily get overwhelmed.
Ephesians 3:16-19 – that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Great content! But how do we help children not get lost in the verbiage?
We have found that even very young children can be equipped to pray from Scripture. We are talking one-year-olds who only string two and three words together. They can pray! They can pray with clarity and confidence. And as they grow, they can build on that foundation until they are able to grab their Bible, open it up, and pray from Scripture.
Step One – We call these our picture prayers because we’ve associated each one with a little clip art picture. They are short phrases that even young children can learn to say. They are Biblically based. Though they are “child sized” in the amount of words used, you can hear these same prayers prayed by adults in prayer rooms and churches across the world. They are full sized prayers in a child sized package.
“Shine Your light!”
“Show Your love!”
“Send Your fire!”
“Pour out Your Spirit!”
“Break their chains!”
“Fill them with joy!”
Click HERE to download the Step One Prayer Guide. This has the picture prayers laid out for you so that you can begin equipping your young child in prayer today. This is recommended for use with children ages 1-7, or until they can read more independently.
Step Two- Once they have mastered some simple, Biblical phrases and have learned to read, they can move on praying more directly from Scripture. However, those apostolic prayers can still be overwhelming to young readers. We developed a Step Two Prayer Guide to help children bridge the gap between those picture prayers and large chunks of Scripture. The Step Two Prayer Guide just breaks some of those apostolic prayers into smaller pieces so that children ages 8-12 can utilize them with confidence. Click HERE to download the Step Two Prayer Guide.
Giving children language helps to take the pressure off. They don’t have to spin their wheels trying to figure out the “right” words to say. When we pray from His Word, we have the confidence that comes from being in agreement with Him.
And, of course, no matter what comes out of their mouths at prayer time, as long as it is sincere, our job is to encourage them with the fact that God is so pleased with them. Jesus is smiling at them. He loves to hear their prayer. He loves it when they come to Him and talk to Him. He is so, so happy.
Enjoyable prayer? It’s so possible.