10 Tips to Remember as You Teach Your Child to Pray

Lisa Loraine Baker

Author of Someplace to Be Somebody
Updated May 29, 2024
10 Tips to Remember as You Teach Your Child to Pray

We are never too young to memorize Scripture, and a good one to help your children realize the importance of prayer is 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

Children love to mimic their parents and other older folks. When Christian parents pray, it’s the hope that their children will follow their lead. Once we make sure our children understand salvation and make a public profession of faith, an important habit we should strive for is to teach our children to pray. How can we best teach them to pray? Here are 10 tips.

1. Teach Them What Prayer Is

Children don’t inherently know prayer is intimate communication with God. Tell your child about prayer — what it is and why it matters.

We are never too young to memorize Scripture, and a good one to help your children realize the importance of prayer is 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”

Discuss what this means, because their inevitable question will be, “How can I do that?” A lesson in how we can pray without speaking the prayer aloud will surely help. e.g. Johnny stubbed his toe. He can pray, “Lord, please help my toe heal.”

2. Teach Them by Example

As wee mimes, our children are always watching us so they can emulate us. As Paul said in Philippians 3:17, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” 

Make sure to pray as a family, over meals, before bed, etc. When you have personal Bible study and prayer time, make sure your children see you praying, whether it’s silently or out loud. If you see them watching, invite them to join you.

3. Teach Them Proper Prayer Etiquette

We are to come before the Lord as unto a holy place and show Him the respect and worthiness only he deserves. A good example is Matthew 6:5-6.

Prepare a quiet place in your home (or your backyard) where you and your children can come before the Lord. Remove all distractions (cell phones, iPad, music, etc.) and sit on a piece of furniture or on the floor. Tell your child when we pray to God, we come before Him with reverence; He is holy and we must approach Him as Almighty God. Whether you are on your knees or sitting, it’s a good practice to bow before Him, just as if you were in front of Him as He sits on His throne. Closing your eyes helps shut out any other distractions so you can focus on your time with the Lord in prayer.

Help them to not fear, but to rest in Him, knowing God hears our prayers and wants the best for us (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 3:12). Remind them not to worry if the right words don’t flow, but to be honest about what they are praying.

4. Teach Them through Scripture

Purchase a children’s Bible for your child. As you either read to them or listen to them as they read, highlight the parts where prayer is part of the narrative. 

Psalm 23 – As you read this stirring, well-loved psalm, tell your little one this psalm is a prayer of king David’s to the Lord. Talk about how King David, though an earthly king, still needed the Lord as his Shepherd. Explain how God is our Shepherd and how He comforts us, brings us peaceful rest, takes away fear, etc.

Ask your child if any of David’s requests are things they need (peace, security, rest, comfort, etc.)

Ask your child if they would like to pray like David did, and then help them speak to God.

Encourage them to pray out loud so they get past any fears about seeming silly in their prayers.

5. Teach Them to Pray Scripture Back to God

With a children’s Bible filled with narratives written in “their” language, it’s an easy progression toward having your child pray Scripture back to God.

For example: Psalm 23. Lord, You’re my Shepherd. You give me everything I need. When I get upset, you make me rest in a comfortable spot…

6. Teach Them How to Incorporate the ACTS Acronym into Their Prayers


Adoration – Lord, I love You because of who You are. I love you because…

Confession – Father God, I am so sorry I yelled at my dad. Please forgive me.

Thanksgiving – Lord God, thank You for the food You provide for us every day.

Supplication – Lord Jesus, please help my friend Junie learn how to pray, too.

7. Teach Your Child What “Amen” Means and How to Use It (Galatians 6:18)

It seems a small thing, but when a child understands that “amen” means, “so be it,” or “truly,” he will know how important our honesty in prayer is. Because Christians pray in the name of Jesus, we pray according to His will; and we say “so be it” to His will.

For example: “Father, only You are awesome. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

8. Teach Them to Read God’s Word Daily (Acts 17:11)

As your child learns to pray, a steady and solid intake of Bible reading, Sunday school, and lessons at home will equip and encourage him to pray prayers that are less rudimentary and more grounded in Scripture. A key to prayer is praying according to God’s will, and the only place where God’s will is found in in the Bible (Biblically grounded pastors and parents will provide lessons based upon Scripture).

Your child’s Scripture reading for the day may include a portion of the account of Joseph from Genesis 37-50. He reads about Joseph and his brothers and how his brothers sold Joseph into slavery.

Ask your child what Joseph might have prayed as he was in the pit, in the slave traders’ caravan, in Egypt.

Having your child think of biblical narratives will help him see how many different prayer needs people have.

9. Teach Them to Pray to Live a Holy Life (1 Peter 1:16)

God has called us to live holy lives. As your child prays for this, direct him to the Scriptures to see what the Bible says about how we as God’s children are to live (thinking and acting).

For example, in Galatians 5:22-23a. First teach your child about the Holy Spirit, that He is God, too, and He wrote the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Then tell your child about the fruit of the Spirit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Help your little one to grasp the meaning of each fruit, and then have him pray:

“Lord, I want to live a holy life because Jesus tells me to. Help me to love as He loves.”

“Father, I want Your joy down deep in my soul. Please fill me with Your joy.” (And nothing says you can’t teach your child a fun song as you instruct him in prayer).

10. Teach Them to Notice God’s Creation and How to Give Him Praise (Psalm 19:1-6).

It’s always good to wonder at God’s creation, even in its fallen state. The psalm begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God…”

Read the Psalm 19 passage at three different times one day. 

At sunrise, head outside and watch the sky lighten as the colors of sunrise cause you all to praise God for His magnificent ordering of the universe. Praise Him for His creatures, especially for the birds who seemingly praise God, too, with their morning songs.

At sunset, praise God for the hours of sunlight you enjoyed and once again, for the colors of the darkening sky. Praise him also for the “go to sleep” bird songs.

On a clear night, go outside to a place away from city lights to see the stars. Tell your child God knows every star by name (Psalm 147:4), and he knows your child’s name, too! 

Your child can also pray this passage back to God.

Another passage to regard when teaching your child to be awestruck by God’s creation is Genesis 9:13, where God tells Noah about the rainbow and how it’s a sign of His promise to never again send a flood over all the earth to blot out life. Have your child praise God for His provision and for His promises.

You’ve probably thought of other ways to teach your children how to pray. It’s our prayer these ten tips have edified and encouraged you, and have glorified God. 

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/gjohnstonphoto.jpg

Lisa Baker 1200x1200Lisa Loraine Baker is the multiple award-winning author of Someplace to be Somebody. She writes fiction and nonfiction. In addition to writing for the Salem Web Network, Lisa serves as a Word Weavers’ mentor and is part of a critique group. She also is a member of BRRC. Lisa and her husband, Stephen, a pastor, live in a small Ohio village with their crazy cat, Lewis.