Equipping Children with the Desire to Pray

Teaching Children to Pray by ExampleWe would all like the students in our ministries to have powerful prayer lives, but that won’t happen unless we give them the desire to pray. Many times people admire the discipline those who make a practice to every day. But the truth is that those who discipline themselves to pray are the same people who know the benefits of prayer and desire to have a great prayer life. The same is true with your students. It’s important to impart a desire to pray as well as an urging to pray.

Here’s some practical tips to help you equip children with a desire to pray:

Have people testify about prayer. It’s not enough to tell children they should pray or that prayer is good for them. Have people in your congregation speak to your students about their prayer lives and what prayer has done for them. When children learn what prayer has done in adults’ lives they admire, they will have a desire to pray.

Keep a white board with children’s prayer requests. Every week, bring out the white board. As children make requests, write them on the board. When a request is answered, circle it. This way children understand that God answers their prayers.

Don’t discourage children from praying about “small things”. To them, these things are important. God wants us to come to Him with all our cares, even the small ones. When we imply to children that they can only come to God with requests you consider big enough, they won’t develop a relationship with God where they bring everything before Him. So go ahead and pray for the splinter in the finger or the dog that has fleas. It’s important to your students and to God.

Teach children the benefits of prayer. Here are a few scriptures that show some of the benefits of prayer:

Jesus wants them to come to Him
Mark 10:13-14 People were bringing little children to Jesus. They wanted him to touch them. But the disciples told the people to stop. When Jesus saw this, he was angry. He said to his disciples, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t keep them away. God’s kingdom belongs to people like them.

The Holy Spirit will help them pray.
Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words.


1 John 5:14-15 There is one thing we can be sure of when we come to God in prayer. If we ask anything in keeping with what he wants, he hears us. If we know that God hears what we ask for, we know that we have it.

God will give them peace when they’re worried.
Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.

God wants them to pray all the time.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Always be joyful. Never stop praying. 18 Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.

God wants them to pray for the sick.
James 5:13-15 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

God will help them when they’re scared or in trouble.
Psalm 50:15 And call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.

Once your students have the desire to pray, then they’re ready for you to teach them to become prayer warriors.

* All verse are in the New International Readers Version of the Bible.

Giving Children Opportunities to Pray

Child PrayingEvery children’s pastor wants their students to become prayer warriors. Sometimes we teach about prayer consistently and encourage prayer, but we still don’t see a prayer life in our students. That may be because most children’s pastors leave out one step.

Teaching children to pray is a great thing. Teaching children how to pray is even better. But if we don’t give children opportunities to pray in the church, they may not consider it that important or they might feel like that’s something adults do.

Here’s some ways to give your students opportunities to pray:

Let children pray at the altars. When your church has altar calls, are children allowed to pray for needs? There is some teaching that is involved in letting children pray for adult’s needs at the altar, and your pastor must be a part of that decision, but there is nothing greater than child prayer warriors praying for people’s needs at the altar. 

Let children pray for your needs. If you have a need, let your students know about it, and ask them to lay hands on you and pray. This is a humbling experience, but there’s nothing like a child’s prayer to touch the heart of God.

Prayer Team: Have a children’s prayer team where your students get together once a week to pray for needs.

Home Prayer: Give the children something to have in their hands to pray at home.

Armor Bearers: Have your students each chose a leader in the church. It is that student’s responsibility to go to that leader, let him know the student has decided to be his armor bearer, and ask what the leader would have him pray. Each week, the student is to touch base with the leader about that leader’s prayer needs. (You might want to clue your leaders in first so that nothing is said to discourage the children.)

Include Children in Prayer Meetings: Children in the Bible were included in prayer meetings. When your church holds church wide prayer meetings, find a way to make sure the children are part of it.

Prayer Shields for Children’s Pastors

Children’s ministry is important to God. That’s why children’s pastors are attacked spiritually and are prone to discouragement. For that reason, it’s important for children’s pastors to have prayer shields.

A prayer shield is an intercessor or someone who stands in the gap in prayer. Children’s pastors need intercessors to stand in the gap for them and the ministry God has entrusted to them.

Ezekiel 22:30 I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.

Pray and ask God who you should have as prayer shields. They must be people you can trust and who will pray for you daily. Once you’ve established two or three people to be your prayer shield, communicate with them weekly to give them input on how they should pray.

This link has a guide on how to pray for pastors and leaders.

Adventures in Prayer Map

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An international prayer ministry, Every Home for Christ, has Adventures in Prayer maps for children. These maps are absolutely free and include steps and a schedule for children to pray for every nation on Earth within one month. What a great way to teach children about prayer and about missions. You can order children’s prayer maps here.

Adventures in Prayer (targeted for ages 5-12)

Features an easy step-by-step system to help a child understand the important aspects of daily prayer. The map also features an easy-to-follow numbered world map identifying all 228 nations of the world, photos of children from other regions of the world and even a survival challenge.

Prayer Challenge for Children’s Ministry

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

We all struggle with our areas of ministry at times. Usually when this happens, we evaluate what went wrong, or we develop a plan solve the problems we face. Those things are good, but I have a challenge for you in 2013. Pray about everything.

If you want to start a new ministry, pray and ask God how and when to start it.

If you have problems with workers and staff, pray and ask God how to handle these problems, and pray for the worker you’re having a problem with.

If you feel like you’re not getting through to your students, pray for them and ask God what to do about it.

If you’re not reaching the lost and nobody ever gets saved, pray and ask God how to change that.

If you’re lacking resources, funds, or workers, pray for them.

If students in your ministry are going through difficult times, pray for them, and teach them to pray.

Pray for wisdom. Pray for guidance. Pray for favor and open doors. Pray that God draw you closer to Him so you can hear His voice.

Take God at His Word, and pray for your ministry this year. You might be surprised at the results.