Teaching children to pray is an important part of their relationship with God. Getting our children comfortable with prayer helps them better understand that God is close to them.
You can start praying with your children at a very young age. Praying over a meal, for a loved one in need, for a problem in school or with a peer - are all good topics to begin with. Prayer can happen at a consistent time (like bedtime) to teach discipline but shouldn't be limited to a certain time.
It’s good to encourage young children to pray in the way they communicate and to keep age-appropriate language in mind. God hears their little voices and little words just as powerfully as He does our adult prayers. Explain to them, at any age, that prayer is simply a heart-to-heart conversation with God, and that He hears and understands them.
In addition to encouraging children to pray in their words, it’s always great to have them memorize scripture prayers such as The Lord’s Prayer. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Here are three simple guidelines I put together for teaching children to pray:
Gratitude: Start off by thanking God for family, friends, food, clothing, shelter, His love, etc.
Forgiveness: Ask God to forgive their mistakes (James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. “)
Requests: Ask God for what is needed—continue thanking and praising Him for everything.
Lastly, and most importantly, let your children see and hear you praying. They’ll imitate what they see you do, and ultimately, this will be pleasing to God.
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”