How can I teach my child to pray?
Prayer is best taught as a conversation. Help your child to understand that prayer is simply a conversation with God and that we can pray in our own words – we don’t have to use a set prayer.
Let your child see you pray. The best way educate children about prayer is to pray in their presence. Look for opportunities to practice prayer in front of your child, just as you would take opportunities to teach about manners, good sportsmanship or humility. Whilst praying in the morning or before bed is a common and valuable practice, God wants us to come to him with all things and at any time, so where possible, let your child see you praying throughout the day for a variety of needs. Children can pray in lots of different ways. Prayers for a good day at school, for pets, friends, and local and world events are perfect ideas for children of any age.
It is important that children understand that there is no standard or correct length to prayer! Quick prayers, such as asking for help with choices or for safe travels before going on a journey are ways to show children that God is interested in all aspects of our lives. Another type of quick prayer to model is as simple as saying something like, "Lord be with me," when faced with a challenging situation or, "Thank you, Father," when learning that a problem was easier to work out than expected.
Longer prayers are better taught to older children who can sit still for a few minutes. Here's a good way to model these prayers:
It is really important for the children to understand that we can pray to God in any situation and about everything; no request before God is too small or insignificant. Prayers are very personal – encourage your child to talk to God about whatever is on his or her mind – God will always listen.