Teaching Kids to Pray Series: Be Simple
In our last lesson in this series we covered the method of “Modeling Prayer” as an adult, parent, or trainer. Modeling prayer is vital in the learning process of children, but it goes beyond that. Although we must show by example a prayerful life, we also have to show it in a way that can be replicated.
If I took a grade school child and set them all day under a college professor to learn, most people would think I was crazy. Long auditory lectures often bore some of the most intellectual adult minds I know, much less a young child. A child’s brain is not developed enough to be able to understand big words, complex phrases, or abstract concepts. They take words literally. If I talk about the “God’s blood covering me” a very child may become scared or grossed out because they think in literal terms. If I talk or pray about the “anointing of God’ on someone’s life, they may not understand what that words means. If I pray long or complex sentences, they may feel like they could never pray like that, and give up trying.
As we train kids to pray, we need to think like a kid and adjust our methods so they will feel like prayer is something they can do, rather than feel like they have to wait until they are an adult. We should not assume that adult prayer is the only type of prayer.
Use simple words that kids can understand when you pray and when you train them. Before you pray, tell the kids what you are praying about, and what you are praying for. Ask them if they understand words that you may pray or the topics being covered. People can’t have faith to pray for something that they don’t understand.
When using scriptures in your prayer time, you may wish to use a different translation of the verse that they can understand better. Kids do not understand King James terminology very well. If you are going to pray using scripture, be sure they understand that scripture first.
Use acronyms to teach prayer topics or concepts such as A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Use the Hands-On post cards to train them how to lay hands on others as they pray for Healing, Anointing, Needs, Deliverance, and Salvation. Use this five finger poster as another prayer guide or teach them to pray for their world using simple things like candy. The more simple you make it, the more they will feel like they can do it.
Here is a good exercise for you as a parent or trainer: The next time you are at a prayer service, purposefully listen to the prayers of those around you. Listen as a child. Ascertain whether the words being spoken by those praying would be understandable to a young kid. Determine whether a child could easily understand the words and be able to replicate them in prayer with their faith and words.
In order to become a trainer of prayer, we must also learn to be a student of prayer. The more we learn, the better we can train.
World Network of Prayer – Kids & Youth Prayer Coordinator
Check back soon with us on our next topic in this series: Be Real.