Teaching Kids to Pray Series: Repeat-After-Me Thumbnail

Teaching Kids to Pray Series: Repeat-After-Me

Children typically do not teach themselves. For a child to learn a core value, skill, or truth, they need to be taught. Children may learn passively through their environments and other people, or actively through focused instruction. If we think of how a child learns to speak, we recall them learning words through repetition, and by picking up the sounds and syllables spoken around them. A child who learns to pray is no different. As a child develops in their relationship with God, we need to put focus on active prayer training and not just leave them to figure it through passive experience only.

For kids who do not know how to pray or do not know what to say, use a simple “repeat-after-me” method. This may be applicable for very young children or those new to their Christian walk and who have not been around religious environments or praying people very long.

The method is simple: Simply say a couple words of prayer, and have the child repeat those words after you. If the child is very young, be sure to use just a few words at a time so they don’t forget what they are repeating. You will want to use simple words they understand, and explain any that they do not. You want them to not just repeat the words, but understand the content of what they are saying. 

Resource: We have created Kids Prayer Guides collector cards which have prayers kids can learn on one side, along with associated scriptures on the other. These are great to use with this repeat-after-me method and the set comes with ten different topics that kids love to pray about.

Children who pray this way are effective if they have faith in what they are saying. Effective prayers are about faith, content, and the will of God, not if we have it all memorized or use elaborate words. The more that you use this method, the quicker they will learn prayer topics and methods, eventually not needing the method as often. 

You will also want to use various prayers and prayer topics. If you limit (over time) your prayers to just the same ones, then prayer will feel more like a ritual to them than a real experience with God. Even though you will want to use this method to help them know how to prayer for various topics, you also need to encourage them to simply talk to God on their own. 

Remember: is all about relationship, not simply religion.

Colleen Clabaugh
World Network of Prayer – Kids & Youth Prayer Coordinator

Check back with us soon on our next topic in this series: Modeling Prayer

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