I looked on Google, so it must be correct. Right? I found websites and blog posts that had resource after resource for:
Scriptures to Pray for Your Kids,
or Scriptures to Pray Over Your Kids,
or Popular Kids’ Prayers to Pray for Your Kids.
But I didn’t find much that helps parents teach their children how to use scripture to pray. (Although I did find a few resources that are foundational to teaching our kids to pray. You can find those links at the end.)
I am not going to say that those prayers are wrong. I grew up speaking some of those prayers and formulas myself. But here again, these make a great *foundation* for a powerful prayer life.
Jesus had a great prayer life. After all, he was so used to talking with his Father on a regular basis, that he drew near to him whenever he had a chance. When Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he showed how intimate our conversations could be. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, he showed us how scripture is powerful against the enemy. When Jesus as mocked and accused of blasphemy, he used scripture to prove how he fulfilled the law.
The more I learn about Jesus, the more I learn how to talk with him. In watching Jesus’ example, I have learned that when I pray, I need to speak his words back to him. Praying scripture is not for the Lord’s benefit, but for us. If we are able to articulate the meaning of the scripture, then we understand what God is trying to teach us. Sometimes it takes praying a scripture and talking it out with Jesus to truly understand what it means and how it applies to my life.
Praying scripture helps us to memorize that scripture. Then the Holy Spirit can add that Truth to his arsenal when we need it to fight the enemy or temptation.
I want that for my children. I want them to pray scripture to their Lord. But that takes time and practice.
How to Teach Kids to Turn Scripture into Prayers:
- Change the pronouns: If the scripture includes we or me or they or us….change the pronoun to fit the situation. For example: 2 Timothy 1:7.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
Now, change the us to me and see how powerful that prayer becomes. Even more powerful, change the word God to You, because we’re speaking to God. Try it!
For [You have] not given [me] a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
Whew. Imagine how great a prayer like this could be for a little one who needs to face some fears, or wants to tackle some self-discipline issues.
2. Include names of people: This one is a little harder grammatically to explain, but if a scripture has a direct object, or another word that is similar, replace it with a person’s name. For example: John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Change the world to your name; whoever to when your name, and stick in he or she before shall. This personalizes the gospel and kids LOVE it!! Try it!
“For God so loved [your name], that He gave His only begotten Son, that [when (your name)] believes in Him [he/she] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
God loves YOU. Look what he DID for you. That’s pretty awesome.
3. Try this scripture on your own. See if you match mine! Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Now pray the scripture.
Did you get something like this?
Lord, help me to Trust in [You] with all [my] heart And [to] not lean on [my] own understanding. [May I] In all [my] ways acknowledge [You], And [You] will make [my] paths straight. ~ Amen!
Praying scripture becomes easier the more you do it. Practice with your kids. Have them help turn scriptures into prayers and write them down. Be sure to watch for more prayer strategies in the coming series:
Bible Gateway has a great article on Praying Scripture HERE.
Teaching Children to Pray
If YOU are interested in learning more about praying the scriptures so you can help guide your children better, please take a look at any of these resources. They are fantastic!