Practical ways to teach your children to pray

Written by Joseph Scarfone
Published on April 26, 2022

When one thinks about the great men and women of faith they can visualize their strength of character, their personal holiness, and their exercise of the disciplines of the Christian faith. 

Whether reading the Word of God, serving in a ministry capacity, or preaching to a multitude, nearly every hero is also marked by another characteristic. 

They are men and women of prayer. 

Modeling prayer

Prayer is a critical part of the Christian life. We are told to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) and to “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Col 4:2). We must exercise our privilege to pray individually, but we must also teach this great discipline to our children. 

Just as the disciples petitioned, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 13:1), our children are needy of us to teach them to pray. We must teach our children what we have learned about prayer. 

When teaching children to pray, the most powerful method is modeling. You become the example of what prayer is like. You can show your children how to pray by the way you pray. 

Invite your children to be part of your prayer life. When you allow them the privilege of praying with you as you commune with God, they will begin to replicate what you do. 

Essentially, children will mirror and reflect what their influences are. When parents model a consistent prayer life, children will reflect that discipline.

Your attitude about prayer is important in building a foundation of prayer for your children. 

One pastor says, “Nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian existence, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect.” To say prayer is important, is a great understatement. 

To help empower you as a parent in the critically important discipline, here are some practical ways to pray with your children. 

Practical ways to pray with your children 

  1. Popcorn prayer—One person opens in prayer, and another closes the prayer. Everyone else pops in when they are ready. 
  2. Prayer circle—Hold hands and pray until everyone prays. 
  3. Prayer journal—Write your family prayers down. You can revisit later and see where God has answered prayer. 
  4. Prayer walk—Walk through your neighborhood or park and take turns praying out loud. 
  5. Prayer cards—Everyone writes a prayer request on a card and puts it in a pile. Mix them up and take turns praying for others’ requests. 
  6. Prayer map—Pick places on the map where you have relationships. Pray for family, missionaries, and friends. 
  7. Fruit of the Spirit—Each person chooses a fruit of the Spirit to pray for the family. 
  8. Confession—Each person confesses their sins. 
  9. Thanksgiving—Each person gives a prayer of thanksgiving. 
  10. Pray a verse—Each person chooses a verse to pray. 

Generational legacy

By implementing one of these practical ways of prayer to your family time you will help teach your children to pray. Remember to model for them, but also give them opportunities to pray alongside you. 

James Dobson rightly concludes, “There is nothing more important than parents passing on a generational legacy of faith and values to their children.” 

When you teach your children to pray you are giving them a greater opportunity for a close relationship with God.     

Consider a few extra resources:

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Joseph Scarfone

Joseph Scarfone is the Pastor of Adult Ministry and Small Groups at The Bible Chapel in Pittsburgh, PA. He has a Doctor of Education in Discipleship from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds a Master of Church Ministry and a Master of Divinity from Shepherds Theological Seminary. Joseph has served in children’s, student, adult, and family ministry. He is an intentional disciple-maker who seeks to invest in the next generation.

He is married to Jennifer and together they have six children (Jaxon (11), Patti Grace (9), Joy (7), Judah (5), Malachi (3), and Shepherd (18 mos). He is passionate about being in creation and enjoys all things outdoors.

Read more about Joseph

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