Teaching Kids to Pray
In your small group, you may find that kids have a variety of perspectives on prayer. Some may have learned about prayer from their family or a church setting or Crossroads. Others may have no experience whatsoever with praying. Teaching kids to talk to God and hear from him is one of the most transformative parts of the small group experience, so be intentional about making it a priority in your time together. Here are a few principles to help you effectively approach teaching kids to pray:
Begin where the kids are.
Get to know your kids; what do they already know about praying and what do they need to learn? If prayer is new for some of your group members, start with some of these prayer basics:
- What is prayer? Prayer is talking to God. You can talk to him about anything. It also involves listening to God.
- How do I pray? There is no right or wrong way to pray. The thing that matters the most is your heart and your attitude. You can pray with your eyes open or closed, sitting down or standing, alone or with a group, etc.
- Why should I pray? God wants you to have a relationship with him. You have to talk and listen to someone who you have a relationship with.
- When can I pray? Where can I pray? You can pray anytime, anywhere.
- Does God always answer my prayers? God always answers our prayers, but it’s not always how we expect. Part of prayer is learning to trust God with the results.
Model what prayer looks like.
Develop a consistent routine of praying aloud in front of the students at different times during club. Some leaders like to have their kids pray before snack time. Others use “highs” and “lows” sharing time as prayer requests and praises. Some leaders find that they frequently run out of time for prayer, so they do it first. Think about how you can manage your small group time to make prayer a priority, because kids will learn best when they see it modeled often.
Try different methods and stick with what works for your group.
There are lots of ways to model prayer, and kids will resonate in different ways to a variety of methods. There’s not a “right” way to do small group prayer; try a few different things to see what works for your kids. Here’s several ideas:
- Circle Prayer – Each person in the circle prays aloud.
- Written Prayer – Each person writes their request on a card and passes the card to the person on the right. Everyone prays aloud for the request on the card. (This is a good method to eliminate extra long sharing time of prayer requests.)
- Repeat after Me – Leader prays aloud in short phrases at a time while students repeat.
- Memorize simple prayers – Choose one or two sentence prayer to pray before snack or to open or close your time together every week.
- Pray a scripture verse – Use a verse that goes along with the lesson and turn it into a prayer.
- Prayer cards – Give kids cards to guide their prayer (here’s an example.)
- Fill in the Blanks – Leader gives students a sentence to fill in the blank.
- Lord, thank you for ____________________.
- Jesus, help me show love to others by _______________________.
- God, please help me with______________.
Do you have any stories to share about teaching kids to pray in your small group? Submit them to us at crossroadskidsclub.com/stories.