We’ve covered three different methods of teaching your child to pray, and I think you’re going to light up at the fourth one–praying Scripture. If you haven’t done this before, prepare to take your prayer life to the next level. Bringing your child along is going to be a set-up for some really special moments, so don’t miss them!
Praying God’s Word back to Him is powerful and intimate. You’re claiming God’s promises and His nature in your prayers to Him, and doing it in His native language. This is never a matter of God owing you something because the Bible says it, so keep an eye that that’s not happening with your kiddo. Instead, it’s taking what you have learned, or been surprised by, or taken comfort in, or however else Scripture has become super relevant, and bringing that into your prayer life. Heads up: Not a lot of adults do this, but your kids can do it starting today.
The best way to start this is to take a verse your child loves right now, and show them how to pray it back.
Let me give you an example with my favorite verse, 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” You could pray something like this in front of your kids, “Father God, this verse speaks to my heart because my greatest hope is to see my kids following You and loving You. Help me to teach them truth, YOUR truth, so they know its path and walk in it. Bring other people and experiences in their lives that will help them know the truth and live the truth. And then, God, You and I can share in that joy because I know you want that even more than I do.” If your kids are younger, you can simplify it like this, “God, I read a verse that says what I feel. I do want (kids’ names) to know all about you and believe what is true. Help them to do that every day, forever. That will give me joy!”
Playbook to Teach This to Your Child
The best way to start this is to take a verse your child loves right now, and show them how to pray it back. There’s no one way to do it, so with older kids, a really cool exercise would be to take that verse and pray it every day, a little differently, for a week. God’s Word is active (Hebrews 4:12), right? So, can you pray it differently every day? Of course! It has lots of nuances and applications. With a younger child, either do it once with a favorite verse, or maybe the verse of the week from Sunday School. You could repeat that same basic prayer throughout the week until they get it, and then let them do it. That gives them a chance to do it themselves and start taking ownership.
The better you get at this, the more you will find opportunities to work it the other way. In other words, instead of taking the verse and praying it about your life, you’ll look at your life and know Scripture to pray about it. If there’s trouble with a friend at school, you can pray about it with your child, using Scripture. If someone in your family is healed of a sickness, do the same thing. Believe me, whatever you’ve got going on, there’s Scripture for it!