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Empowering our children to pray

Celebrate the National Day of Prayer with us

Since 1952, the National Day of Prayer has been an annual tradition observed on the first Thursday of May by congressional law, which serves as an invitation for people nationwide to unite in prayer for the well-being of the nation. Today on May 2, countless people of faith will collectively turn to God for guidance.

The theme for this year’s day of prayer is “faithfulness."

“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” – Isaiah 25:1 

At Buckner, we’ve seen children bring a variety of needs to God. Everything from the funny:

  • “Dear God, I need you to make my mom not allergic to cats.”
  • “Please God, make me grow big without eating vegetables.”

To the serious:

  • “Please make my parents stop fighting.”

Even children know they need God to help with life’s struggles. When you’re three feet tall and have a bedtime, you know how it feels to be powerless. It's a beautiful thing to see children take their worries and cares to God, but prayer is more than just running through a list of needs.

If you are interested in teaching children focused prayer, you can guide them by using the acronym PRAY:

P stands for Praise

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!" – Psalm 100:4a

Teach children to begin their prayers by praising and thanking God for who he is and what he has done. Praising God sets the right tone and perspective for prayer.

To make praise practical, engage children in activities such as praying from head to toe. Have kids start at the tippy-top and work their way down while thanking God for the amazing way he made them: "God, thank you for eyes that can see," "Thank you for hands that play," "Thank you for feet that smell," etc.

If you’re in a group, pass a ball around in a circle. When the ball comes to you, say, "God, I praise you because –."

After Praise comes R, which stands for Repent

It’s important to say we’re sorry. Whether to a friend or to God, we all need to repent and start fresh. Just as there is repentance, there is also forgiveness. Remind them of God's promise to forgive.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." – 1 John 1:9

Discuss the challenge of recognizing and admitting sin and emphasize the blessing of repentance. Encourage children to reflect on their day before bed and seek God's guidance.

A stands for Ask for Others

Encourage children to pray for the needs of others, helping them move beyond their own concerns. It’s no surprise sometimes kids can be a little selfish – in fact, I'm sure you've experienced a few selfish thoughts too. Help them see beyond their own needs by asking about people in their lives who may be facing challenges or in need of support.

Y stands for Your own needs

While prayer should encompass more than just personal needs, reassure children that God cares deeply about their problems and worries.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." – 1 Peter 5:7

Let them know they can bring any concern to God, big or small, because he cares for them. Create a safe space for children to share their personal prayer requests and encourage them to develop a well-rounded prayer life focusing on praise, repentance, asking for others and your own needs.

When we teach children to pray, we give them the ability to handle life’s challenges. At Buckner, we pray you and those in your life grow stronger in Christ with each day.

Read more about National Day of Prayer.


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