Teaching Kids to Pray for the Nations

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“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Matthew 28:19

pray for the nationsIt’s hard to step outside of ourselves sometimes, isn’t it? We’ve all got things going on, deadlines to meet, chauffeuring to do, and groceries to buy, all among our usual responsibilities. Our kids are no different. They have practices to attend, projects to complete, and games to play.

Indeed, it’s hard to step outside of ourselves and our busy lives, yet it’s what we’re called to do as followers of Christ. Many adults and children alike can quote John 3:16. We know that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. If we know and celebrate God’s love for us and the world, why is it so tough to pray for people of all nations?

Maybe we feel disconnected and think we can’t make a difference. Maybe we’re too busy or self-consumed. Maybe we don’t know how to pray for people across the world from us. Maybe we’ve made it harder than God ever intended it to be.

Kids will follow what they see in the adults around them. They need to hear from you why it’s important to pray for people of all nations and they need you to pray with them. Here are three things to remember when talking to children about praying for the people of the world.

3 Things to Remember When Teaching Kids to Pray for the Nations

1. Accept the Call

Jesus was very clear about the job we have to do.  We are called to get beyond ourselves and share God’s love with everyone. Kids aren’t necessarily in a position to physically “go” into all nations and share the gospel, but they can pray with the sincerity that only a child can offer. When praying for the nations becomes a part of their daily lives, they can make an eternal difference in the lives of others.

2. Pray from the Heart

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” ~ Romans 8:26-27

What I love about Paul’s words in this passage is the reminder that it’s okay if we don’t always know exactly what to say when we pray. I get it. It’s tough to know how to pray for people living completely different lives in completely different environments. The key here is to remember that God knows our hearts and the Holy Spirit speaks on our behalf, even when the words come out less-than polished.

Billy Graham once said that prayer is a two-way conversation between you and God. There’s no better time to remind our kids of that point than those moments when they’re unsure of what to say. When we remember that praying for those all over the world isn’t so much a geography presentation to God, but more of a conversation with Him, the words come a little easier.

3. Step Outside Your World

One of the easiest ways to make praying for the nations a priority is by learning more about what life is like for other people in the world. There are lots of great ways to learn more about life around the world, but my favorite resources are the very organizations who are serving all nations in the name of Christ. Here are a couple of my favorites:

International Mission Board – Spend some time with your kids looking through’s Explore the World tab. There’s a wealth of information about missions efforts for people groups all over the world. Within each Explore the World group, there’s even a link to prayer guides specific to the needs of the individual groups.  churchWorld Vision – In addition to child sponsorship opportunities, World Vision provides great information about the countries they serve.  They offer country profiles that provide general statistics, geographical and historical information, and prayer topics relating specifically to the overall needs of each country.  This is great resource if you’re looking to pray for people of a specific country rather than people group or random needs.

Operation World – This is a global prayer book that is continually updated with country statistics, trends, enough history to help readers understand local country issues, prayers for missionaries of that country, and answered prayers from the year before. This book would be better suited for middle school, high school students, and adults.

Additional Resources for Praying for People of All Nations

Compassion International – Compassion’s ultimate mission is the same as World Vision’s, but for prayer resources, they offer something different.  Instead of country profiles, Compassion offers free monthly prayer calendars filled with randomly located, but specific prayer requests from all over the world.  This is a great way to gain some direction in praying for people of all nations and could easily be incorporated into during daily devotions with your kids.

Praying for Missionaries – I love this short article from because it’s got great suggestions for how to pray for missionaries.  Why is this important? Praying for missionaries is crucial because they are ministering to people of all nations in person when we aren’t able to do so. They value our prayers as they serve.

Prepare to Pray!

Go to THIS LINK and print out this awesome prayer for the nations that comes straight from the scriptures. There is also one for missionaries. You can easily print out both prayers and keep them in a prayer journal or taped in a prayer space. These are written in such a way that you can read them as you pray. Easy Peasy!

Now Pray!

Encourage your children to not just read the words, but to pray them.

Click on the image below for all of the articles in this series.prayer******************************

Emily Copeland - head shotEmily is a Christ follower, minister’s wife and homeschool mom of two. She blogs over at about all of the things happening at the heart of her home – the table.  She hopes to encourage others to live with intention, while sharing information about homeschooling and family life.  You can connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

{All of these verses link to BibleGateway. If you would rather choose a different version of the scriptures, then click the link and choose the version you want.}


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