Teaching children about God is one of the hardest things a parent has to do. How do you describe to someone so young, someone with such a limited frame of reference, the concept of a supreme being? It is both complicated and humorous trying to explain to your child that God is in everything, only to have them ask you in all seriousness if God has ever been a pickle.
One of the first steps to bringing children to an understanding of God is teaching them how to pray. Letting a child know that they can communicate with God any time they want, and that God listens to them, is essential to making sure children have a good understanding and relationship with God. But how do you teach your children to pray?
As children grow older, they will develop their own way of talking to God, one that they will be comfortable with. Until that happens it is often easier to teach children prayers to say. Prayers for children should be simple in form without a lot of big words they won’t understand. Prayers that are short and that rhyme are easiest. Something similar to:
“Now I lay me down to sleep / I pray the Lord my soul to keep / Let angels watch me through the night / And wake me with the morning light.”
Four lines, simple to understand, and it rhymes. In five minutes, your child will have learned a prayer to say to God. Here are some others you might want to try.
“God in Heaven hear my prayer / Keep me in your loving care / Be my guide in all I do / And bless all those who love me too.”
“Thank You for the world so sweet / Thank You for the food we eat / Thank you for the birds that sing / Thank You, God, for everything.”
“I see the moon, and the moon sees me / God bless the moon, and God bless me.”
“God please help me through the day / I must do my chores before I play / Help me love mommy and daddy too / Help me be kind in all I do.”
“Help me do the things I should / Help me to be kind and good.”
“Thank you God for little me / Thank you God for my family.”
“God, if I was bad today / Please forgive me while I pray / I’ll try harder to be good / And do the things I know I should.”
As children grow older, more complex prayers can be introduced, like the Our Father. Remember to teach by example and pray with your child. Children can start to look at prayers as a chore if they think it’s something only they have to do. But if mommy and daddy pray (or big brother, or big sister, and so on), then they will want to do it also.