“When we train our children how to pray we must begin teaching them why and how we pray. But teaching them how is more than just giving the facts; this will be empty and infective unless we ourselves are devoted to prayer. If we come to the place of maturity in prayer where it is a living and a true love of our life, our teaching on it will come from our ‘innermost being’, our hearts… If we ourselves have a passion for prayer, when we pray our children will become infected with the same passion.” Rick Joyner
Do you realize that God is raising up young prayer warriors? Children are learning to pray and in a most powerful manner. There is a growing emphasis in ministries and churches to train children to pray. The incredible thing about children is that they have a simple, childlike faith. This type of faith is what is so desperately needed in the prayer movement. Children just believe. They pray from trusting hearts. They believe that God hears their prayers. God reveals truth to them. We need to tap into the powerful prayers of children. We can humbly learn from their childlike faith and trust.
“And he (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. There-fore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).
The Bible speaks of several children who had a heart for God and for prayer. Jesus, Himself, wanted to be in His Father’s house when he was twelve years old. Josiah was a king at the age of eight who turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength (2 Kings 23:25). Samuel heard God’s voice as a young boy.
“And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and favor with the Lord and with men” (1 Samuel 2:26).
Children need to be cultivated in prayer. If we want to be in tune with God’s plan for this time, then we must take the effort to train children in the ministry of prayer. This training in prayer must come from the passion of our own hearts. We must be dedicated to prayer. We must model our love relationship with God to children. It will never work to teach them about prayer and not practice it ourself.
I have been personally blessed during worship services when I have watched little girls following adult dancers in worship and praise. Their dancing is glorifying to the Lord, and they dance with incredible ease as they watch and learn from the adults. We read in Matthew 21:16, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” I have also been blessed when well-behaved, small children were allowed to stay in the main service during evening meetings that sometimes lasted late. They brought their little sleeping bags and pillows, books and crayons, and went to sleep right beside their parents when it got late. I am sure they learned so much as they watched and participated in the worship and prayer.
“Training is more than just teaching. You can teach a man how to fly an airplane from books, but until he has actually taken the controls and experienced real flight, he will never be a pilot. Training is combining teaching with experience. In preparing our children for life, they need more than just teaching – they need training.” Rick Joyner
Cultivating Prayer in Children
“When adults attempt to teach children to pray, they should encourage the children to keep doing what they do naturally: retain a simple, conversational approach to prayer.” Alvin Vander Griend
- Encourage children to pray – Teach them to pray short one-sentence prayers, especially the very young ones. Help them to understand that they are developing a deep love relationship with God.
- Pray together as a family – There are several good books for family devotions. Make sure that the children pray during these times. Encourage families to become lighthouses of prayer in their neighborhood, and make sure that the children are included.
- Teach prayer through modeling – Children learn by watching and observing. They grow in prayer by watching adults to see if they prioritize prayer. They copy everything. They learn from our attitudes and actions. They catch enthusiasm for prayer from our lives.
- Teach children to pray together – Help provide an accepting atmosphere in group prayer. Affirm their prayers. Let them see you pray for them.
- Help children to learn to listen to God – Help them to grow in silent prayer. Teach them to listen to the still, small voice of God.
- Prayerwalk the neighborhood with your children – They know the area and can often know how to pray for their friends and the families of their friends. Go on short prayerwalks with children. Realize that God may open up divine contacts through them.
- Give children special prayer assignments – Teach them to pray for their school, the sick and unsaved friends. Let the children give testimonies of answered prayer.
- Invite children to pray in church – They can pray in the Sunday school classes and other prayer meetings. Let them participate, because children learn by involvement. It is good for church prayer meetings to become intergenerational. All ages should be included in praying in church.
- Plan prayer events and include the children – Children learn by doing. Let them experience prayer. They like to use their senses to see, touch, taste, feel and hear.
- Teach children to pray for the nations – Be creative and use maps, pictures, etc. to help them see what they are praying for. Teach them to pray for missionaries and adopt countries as prayer assignments.
- Pair the children with adults and young people – They will learn so much about prayer in this way. Realize that adults learn so much from children in prayer as well. Let children be part of the prayer ministry in the church.
- Teach children to read and pray God’s Word out loud – They learn the Bible and begin to pray what is on God’s heart. They learn to pray biblical prayers.
- Allow some fun during prayer – In her book When Children Pray, Cheri Fuller says, “Remember that prayer times don’t have to be all work and no play. Kids transition easily from the seriousness of prayer into the fun of play and laughter. So if you lead children on a prayerwalk, also stop by a playground to hop on the swings, or visit an ice cream shop.”
- Teach children good prayer habits – Show them variety in prayer such as folding your hands, kneeling, and lifting your hands in worship. Teach them to give all their attention to someone who is praying, teach them to close their eyes, etc.
- Encourage children to talk about everything to God – Show them that prayer is not just asking for things, but also praising and giving thanks. Teach them to confess their sins to God.
See the prayer resources for children on this website. Here is another prayer resource for kids called Kidzmatter and another on Pinterest. I also highly recommend the International House of Prayer conferences that also provide full teaching tracks for children. For more details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or see IHOPKC/cec. Morningstar also has training for children at their conferences. In order to move forward with what God has for us in the prayer movement, we must begin to put a high priority in training children in prayer and intercession.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
“We will teach the best that which we love the most. We will teach nothing well that we do not love ourselves. Living waters can only come from ‘the innermost being’. The purpose of training our children is to ignite in them that which they were created to be – lovers and worshippers of God… Those who have a passion for Jesus, who are continuing learning about Him, drawing closer to Him, are the most contagious people in the world – they will infect everyone they touch with a passion for God, including their children.” Rick Joyner
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International