Ten Creative Prayer Ideas for Children
Children often catch the joy and blessing of united prayer long before adults do. They seldom have adult's inhibitions about praying together. If you keep prayer time simple and short, and use variety to make it fun, the children will soon be eager to pray together. Use stories and simple illustrations to help the children understand God’s desire to hear them pray and know how to pray. For more on leading united prayer with children, click here.
Any children’s program can be used as an opportunity to teach children about prayer. The following ideas work well for Sabbath School, Vacation Bible School, Camp Meeting, or other children’s programs. These ideas can also be used for family worship.
Set aside 15-20 minutes of each program to teach the children about prayer. This can be done as a portion of the main program if there are less than 20-30 children. If you are working with a larger group of children, you may find it helpful to divide the children into smaller groups that rotate through different stations. Depending on the emphasis of your program, these stations could include prayer, missions, crafts, exercise, healthy eating, nature, Bible story, etc.
Each day, explain a different piece of God's armor and how prayer helps us to use it. Use visuals to bring it to life for the children. For example: a belt labeled “TRUTH,” or a helmet labeled “SALVATION,” etc. You can also create pictures of the different pieces of armor on large posters for the children to see. When you teach about the sword of Spirit, call a child to the front, give them a play sword, and have a mock battle with them where the child attacks you, and you defend yourself with a Bible. Discuss what kinds of temptations Satan may use (video games, disobeying parents, anger) and how the Bible can help them overcome his schemes. You can use this poster to teach the kids and then have them fill out this one to see how much they have learned.
Teach the children a simple memory verse each day. Then show them how they can use that verse in prayer. There are many ways to learn memory verses that will help the children retain them. Acting out the verses, moving while saying the verse, illustrating the verse, repetition, and many other methods can be used. 101 Ways to Learn Memory Verses by Karen Holford has many creative ideas. The girls in this picture just popped a pile of balloons which held the words for their memory verse, and then put them together in order to test their memory.
Set up a special area of the room where children can go for prayer. This could be decorated to look like an ark or boat, a small church, a log cabin, a garden, a tent, etc. Use your imagination in decorating! Throughout your program, send a few children at a time to the prayer corner with an adult helper. The helper should ask each child about their prayer needs and pray for them while they are in the prayer corner. After returning to the main class, you can invite the children to share their prayer requests with the class. Make sure to affirm them in their requests.
Each day, give children strips of colored paper to write their prayer requests on. Tape the strips into circles, link them into a chain, and hang them on the wall. The children will enjoy watching their chain grow. Make sure to pray for the requests on the chain, both with the children and on your own.
Have one or two children join you at the front to pray at the beginning and end of each meeting. If they are uncomfortable praying on their own, have them repeat a prayer after you. You can also say a prayer from the front and have all the children repeat it after you one sentence at a time.
Make a rectangular frame with four boards. Then wrap a string around the edge to create rungs about 4-5 inches apart all the way up the frame. Each time you meet, write the kids’ prayer requests on note cards and use clothes pins to hang them on the ladder. If a request has been answered, put the note card with the prayer request in an answered prayer jar.
Answered Prayer Jar
Decorate a large jar or box for “Answered Prayers.” Every time the children have an answered prayer, write it on a card and place it in the jar. When the jar is full, have an answered prayer party to celebrate what God has done for all the kids.
Make prayer cards with pictures (from the internet, cut out of magazines, or hand-drawn) of things to pray for - family, sick people, hungry people, moms, dads, animals, missionaries, the world, etc. You can also print out these pre-made cards. Laminate the cards to increase their durability. Each week, pass out the cards so each child can pray for something specific during prayer time. This will help the children know what to pray about and learn how to intercede for others.
A prayer tree can be a lot of fun if you teach a large group of kids about prayer over at least 5-7 days. Create the truck of a tree out of brown butcher paper or something similar. Cut leaf shapes out of colored paper (if desired, you can use different colors to represent different types of prayer. For example, green leaves for prayer requests and yellow for praise & thanksgiving). At each meeting, let the children write (or draw) their prayer requests and praises on leaves and hang them on the tree with tape. The kids will enjoy seeing the tree fill out with leaves over time. Make sure to take time to pray for the requests on the tree each meeting.
Answered Prayer Party
At the end of the meetings, or when the Answered Prayer Jar gets full, invite all the children to an “Answered Prayer Party.” Encourage them to invite their parents and friends too. Make the party a special time of remembrance of what God has done. Have the children tell their favorite answers to prayer. Pull the answered prayer cards out of the jar one at a time, read them to everyone, and invite the children to clap their hands and praise Jesus for the answer. Tell an inspiring answer to prayer story from the Bible or an answer to prayer mission story. And don’t forget to make the party fun with food, balloons, games, and prizes (maybe for the person who brings the most friends with them).
Simple, hands-on crafts can be an excellent way to reinforce the prayer lesson taught during class. Many crafts can be adapted to fit the teachings on prayer. Jump over to this post for ideas for prayer crafts.
Have a great idea that has worked for you and the children you teach? Tell me about it so I can share it with everyone. Email it to me at [email protected].