Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

But, praying out loud is weird…

on December 2, 2012

After closing out one of our Wednesday night programs with one of the older groups of kids at our church, I was asking is any of the kids would say a prayer before we leave. They responded with silence. No raised hands, no excitement about prayer what so ever. So I thought, why is there such a weird vibe about praying out loud? And when I asked this question, the response that I got was, “well, praying out loud is weird….we never pray out loud at home.” At first, I thought this was sad, but my next thought was, no wonder grown ups and kids alike have a hard time praying out loud…they were never shown how to pray!

So, here it goes. A blog talking about how to pray, and how to teach others how to pray.First and most importantly…let me just say that prayer is simply one thing. Communicating with God. Talking to Him. Telling Him what’s going on in your life. And then listening to Him. But,more specifically here’s some ways we can pray, and how we can teach our kids to pray, too –

1. Pray as we were taught how to pray in the Bible! Matthew 6:9-13 says,”This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

2. Sentence Prayers – Take turns saying one sentence prayers. A specific idea or topic can be suggested or left open-ended. (Example – God, thank you for dinner and the hands that prepared it.)

3. Praying in a Circle – Stand in a circle holding hands. Go around the circle praying for the person on their right. (This could be really encouraging. It can be a prayer of thanks for that person or for something that person asks prayer for.)

4. One Word Prayers – Begin with a sentence allowing children to fill in at random and out loud with one word. Such as: “Jesus we thank you for…” or “Heavenly Father, help us this week to….” (This is great for pre-k aged kids.)

5. Prayer Requests – Allow a time of sharing needs, concerns and requests. After each request ask or assign a specific person to pray for each request.

6. Open Prayer Time – Tell everyone you are going to allow them to speak out if they would like to pray. Have everyone close eyes and pause. Wait for their responses and then close in a final prayer as leader. (This might not be the best for kids. They’ll most likely get confused or talk over each other.)

7. Hands on Prayers – If someone is having a specific struggle, serious illness, or situation have everyone gather around them, laying hands on them and praying out loud. (also not great for little ones. This could start being utilized once kids reach upper elementary ages. I once saw a kids group lay hands on a fourth grader who was diagnosed with cancer and pray over her.That’s a great time to implement this type of prayer.)

8. Partner Prayers or Small Group Prayers – If you have a large group of people, have them pair up or form small groups. Share requests and take turns praying for one another.

9. Silent Prayers – Introduce a specific need or prayer idea, give students a few moments of individual, silent prayer time before you or selected student closes with out loud prayer.

10. Written Prayers – Create a prayer wall or board. Provide everyone with cards or notes on which to write their prayers, prayer needs, or praises.

11. Modeling Prayer – Provide examples of prayers to your kids by praying for them. Be conscious to make your prayers conversational – using language and verbiage kids would be comfortable using. Make sure you include praise, thanks, reflection, and requests.

12. Listening Prayers – Help kids understand that prayer is not just talking to God but includes waiting and being still for Him to talk to us. Provide opportunities where kids are quiet and still before God, allowing Him to speak to them.

Well, there you have it. Twelve different examples of how to pray and to show your kids how to pray, based on different things that I’ve experienced or ways that I’ve seen creative prayer done.

How do you pray with your kids?


One response to “But, praying out loud is weird…

  1. Maybe they don’t want to because they heard the story about the Pharisee who prayed aloud. hehe.
    Kidding aside. I enjoyed your post.

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