Do you wonder how to pray scripture with your children? Find out how to pray the scriptures — it’s a great way to teach kids to pray!“We are in Psalm 145 this morning,” I announced to the rustle of pages. My teen boys looked up expectantly from the psalms, ready to pray. “Erik, why don’t you start?”
“Ok.” Erik thought for a moment, deciding on a friend to pray for. “God, help John* to extol you, his God and King. Let him bless your name forever and ever.” Forrest nodded. “Let John bless you every day and praise your name forever and ever.” “Lord you are great,” I prayed. “You are greatly to be praised, and your greatness is unsearchable.” “God,” Forrest said, beginning his prayer in verse 4, “Let Adri commend your works to another, and help her declare your mighty acts.” Erik and I each took turns praying a verse over Adri before moving on to the person I chose–my sister. Each day, the boys alternated praying Scripture for a friend. We’ve prayed for John a lot lately, I thought. In fact, one of the boys chooses him nearly every day. It’s been like this for a year. I wondered if I should suggest we broaden our prayer list, and even began to add others to our list to pray for before they each chose someone each day. In the end, I decided that if the boys felt strongly the desire to pray for a particular friend, that was a blessing I should not try to guide them to choose someone different. In the end, I’m so glad I didn’t. John entered the arms of Jesus suddenly and without warning on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. His life consistently bore witness to the love and faithfulness of Jesus Christ, and his testimony–the way he lived his life for Christ–made a tremendous impact on our family. At his memorial, I remember thinking of all the days we had spent praying for John–for his witness, his testimony, his faithfulness, and his joy in the Lord. His time here with us was short, but what an impact it had. I would not trade one prayer we prayed for that young man. I’m grateful my trust in the Holy Spirit won out over the sense of balance and fairness I struggled against in my heart. * John is not our friend’s actual name.
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
How to Pray Scripture with ChildrenOne of the most impactful ways I’ve learned to pray is through the words of Scripture. Praying the Bible is something I have been so blessed by, and I deeply desired to share that gift with my kids. Praying God’s Words back to him is impactful, and it informs our prayers in a way praying from our hearts usually does not. After all, would my fifteen-year-old naturally have prayed, “God help John extol you…”? Most definitely not. Praying the Bible has expanded our family’s theological vocabulary, our spiritual care for others, and our practice of praising and thanking God during our prayer times. You can pray Scripture with your children as well. I have a few tips for you as you get started.
How to pray scripture with children:
- Start by praying through the psalms. The psalms are the easiest and clearest way for children to pray the scripture. Many of the psalms praise God, ask for help, and confess weakness. Those are important things for our kids to pray about.
- Take turns praying a verse. Each child can pray one verse for the person they’ve chosen. Go in a circle, and everyone prays for that person.
- Allow your children to choose who they pray for. Let your kids pray for the person who is on their heart. You can always add extra people if you have family or friends you want to pray for regularly.
- Pray for each of your kids–with your kids. It is important–and impactful–for your kids to learn to pray scripture over themselves and their siblings.
- Skip praying the imprecatory and Messianic psalms with your kids. It’s not helpful to pray for anyone’s destruction, and we don’t want to pray the words that prophecy about Jesus over anyone else.
- Help your kids formulate their prayers until they get the hang of it. It takes time to really learn to pray the Bible, so as you practice it with your kids help them formulate the words.
Danika Cooley’s book Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible is your crash course on teaching the Bible to your kids. Danika is an award-winning children’s author and Bible curriculum developer. Her popular Bible Road Trip™ is used by tens of thousands of families. Learn more about Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible and grab your free 130-page Bible Study Tool Kit here.