Teaching your kids to pray can seem intimidating and weird all at the same time.
If your kids are young, you just have to model praying and before you know it, they are folding hands, closing eyes, and saying “Jesus” so adorably that you are pretty convinced they are going to grow up to be missionaries.
But then they get a few years older, a little experience out in the world being made fun of, and suddenly they are self-conscious and uncomfortable praying aloud and talking to Jesus.
This transition happens to every kid so don’t panic! They are simply transitioning from playing “pretend” and being like mommy and daddy into realizing they really can talk to God themselves. This transition can be overwhelming for our kids. But here is one easy way to help them as they figure out how to talk to God on their own.
One Easy Way to Teach Your Children to Pray
One way I love to teach my kids to pray for things that matter is by prayer walking. They don’t always love prayer walking, but the lessons they learn from it are invaluable.
They learn that God is approachable in all areas in life.
I usually take them prayer walking around their schools or the church or some other public place they visit often. On the drive to the place, I just ask them to brainstorm everything possible they could talk to God about at that location.
For example, we went to one of their school’s and the brainstorm list went something like
- The new principal to not feel overwhelmed
- Teachers to not listen to the negativity and be able to enjoy teaching
- Kindergarteners to not be afraid on the first day of school
- The nurse to not get stressed or overwhelmed
- Kids to know Jesus
- The building to be a place where kids feel safe and loved and for God to draw hearts to himself
Once we got to the building, they already had a list they could pull from to start praying. And what they were praying for they could visibly see which helps prayer be more tangible. “There’s the nurses window, who wants to pray for her?” ect…
They learn that praying is a conversation and not a lecture
When you prayer walk, the prayers are often more like phrases or short sentences. Everyone contributes and talks to each other and then to God and back again. The prayer becomes more conversational. At times, this can help prayer feel less intimidating.
Don’t confuse LESS intimidating with perfect. Your kids will still be plenty awkward. There will be times you need to remind them to talk to God and not to you or each other. But relax. Prayer doesn’t have to uptight and in a dark room. Keep pointing them back to conversing with God and let them experience what it’s like to pray.
They have a visible picture and a personal experience of what to do when they walk into new situations.
You can lecture them all day long to pray. Lecturing someone to pray more never seems to transfer to more praying though.
But when you give them the opportunity to practice prayer at a location that is important to them, that lesson will transfer into other areas of their life.
When things are hard and you physically go to the hard location to pray, this becomes an option for your kids as well. And while there is no guarantee that they will turn to prayer walking once they are out of your house, the Holy Spirit can bring to mind the experience as they walk into new spaces. The reminder to walk into unfamiliar places with prayer is a gift you don’t want to forget to give them.
The point is, if you haven’t modeled going to pray over things and for things outside of your home, your kids may not be comfortable doing it once they leave your house. And the best time to start is now…whatever age your kids are.
And remember, they may think prayer walking is weird and uncomfortable. You may think it is as well!! But push that lie away and embrace it anyway. Prayer walking is simply talking to God about a specific location and specific needs at that location. Just one more way to practice “praying without ceasing“!
Simple as that. Happy Prayer walking!