Getting to know God on a heart level involves talking with Him, not just learning about Him. Children talk naturally with their friends and family. Wouldn’t it be exciting if we could help them learn to talk to God just as easily!

First, kids need to understand exactly what it means to “pray.” Consider what you communicate to them about prayer. Do kids know that:

  • God is eager to listen to us! He wants to spend time with us because He loves us.
  • God will hear us anytime, anywhere. We don’t have to be sitting in church.
  • We can talk to God like we talk to a friend. We don’t need to learn any “churchy” language.
  • Anything is okay to talk to God about. Nothing is too big or small. God hears us when we’re sad, glad or mad.
  • We can talk to God out loud or silently and in many ways: standing, sitting, kneeling, lying down.

There are a variety of prayer techniques you can use to help kids get comfortable with prayer. With a little creativity, you can use just about any prayer technique with any topic you’re discussing in children’s ministry, so feel free to mix and match. Here are a few ideas.

Fill in the Blank (elementary)

Write a prayer sentence on the board, with a blank line in it. Kids take turns praying the sentence, filling in the blank with a phrase of their choice. Variation for younger children: The leader prays aloud the first part of the prayer and then kids call out their endings. Another variation: Pray the sentence all together at the same time, with each person filling in his or her own ending.

Examples:

  • Lord, I praise you for ____________________.
  • Jesus, help me remember your love for me when I __________________________.
  • God, please help me with______________.

Litany (preschool and elementary)

One person prays a variety of phrases and the rest answer with a set response. Pray as many phrases as you want—but stop before the kids lose interest. Examples:

(Leader) For mountains and rivers…

(Children) We thank you, God.

(Leader) For trees and flowers…

(Children) We thank you, God.

(Leader) When we’re scared…

(Children) Help us remember to pray.

(Leader) When we have a test…

(Children) Help us remember to pray.

Pass the Prayer (preschool and elementary)

Form a circle. The first person prays out loud, ends their prayer with “and,” and taps the person to the right. This person adds to the prayer with his or her own requests or taps the next person right away if he or she doesn’t want to pray.

Person on the Right (preschool and elementary)

Form a circle. Ask each child to pray a set prayer for the person on the right, filling in the person’s name. For older club members who are familiar with prayer, you could give them the option of adding a prayer of their own for the person. Examples:

  • Thank you, God, for making (name) special.
  • Dear Jesus, help (name) stand up for what’s right this week with friends.

Note Prayers (elementary)

Have kids write their prayers on paper. After they pray, they fold up the note and take it home. Having a prayer written out helps them remember what they want to pray for. Follow up with your kids during your next meeting; ask who prayed their prayer that week.

Request Box (elementary)

Set up a shoebox with a slit in the lid, along with slips of paper and pencils. Tell the children to write prayer requests whenever they want to and slip them in. During your prayer time, empty the box and hand out the requests to children who volunteer to pray for them.

Best/Worst (preschool and elementary)

Have a sharing time where kids tell either the best thing that happened to them this week or the worst thing. After each response, ask for a volunteer to either say a praise prayer or ask Jesus to help the person.