I would guess of all the things Christian parents do at home to build faith foundations, the most consistent is teaching kids to pray. For many families though, the instruction stops after teaching kids how to say a couple of rote prayers like “God is Great” or “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep”. To have a rich, full, active prayer life, there are a few more things you to need to teach your children.
Fortunately, prayer is extremely concrete in many ways. There are a lot of fun things you can do with your kids to teach them some prayer concepts and to help them develop good prayer habits. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Praying Colors: This activity is great for the very youngest of children. Cut up little pieces of paper in different colors. Then when you pray as a family, have each person draw a slip of paper. They then need to thank God for something that is that color. So if your child pulled a green slip of paper, he may decide to thank God for frogs. This activity is great for kids who aren’t quite old enough to easily think of things for which they need to pray. It also reinforces the concept that all good things are from God – even frogs!
- Prayer Jars: Find empty, clean containers of any sort. It can be a jar or a juice can (make sure all rough edges are removed and small children have unbreakable containers). Encourage your kids to decorate their containers. Then give them slips of paper or wide craft sticks. Talk with them about all of the different types of things they might want to share with God in their prayers. Have them write each type of thing on a separate slip of paper or craft stick. Then when it’s time to pray, they can pull as many as they want out of their container to remind them of something they can share with God. This activity is great for all kids, but especially those transitioning to their own more private prayer life. It helps them to remember that the entire time in prayer shouldn’t be about them giving God some sort of to-do list of everything they personally want from Him. It encourages them to make their prayers a little broader and less selfish.