Prayer is the basis for communicating with God, for growing as a person and for receiving help and wisdom for every part of life. Teaching children to pray is one of the most important tasks for parents who wish to pass on the gift of faith. Reminding your child that he/she is talking to God when he/she prays encourages a more personal relationship with God. It may also be useful to refer to the Sacred Space section of this website.
Suggestions for promoting prayer with your child
- Lead by example. When your child sees you praying, it makes a big impression. Pray as a family at mealtimes, for the sick…
- KISS- Keep It Simple and Sincere. Let your child pray for or about anything. Encourage your child to pray in his/her own words.
- Start when your child is still at a young age if possible.
- Instil the habit of prayer time, e.g. begin by using the same prayer every night. It may also be a good idea to get into the habit of praying together in a certain place at a certain time-the routine can be helpful. Yet, if there is no flexibility, the routine can become a chore.
- Use formal prayers. Note that the formal prayers to be learned by your child are to be found at the back of their Alive-O book each year. You may encourage your child to extend theses prayers too, e.g. by thanking God for…, by asking God to help…
- Use a conversational approach. They can talk to God in the same way they can talk to you. God wants to know what’s in their heart and mind just as you do.
- Point out prayer in everyday life. For instance, you may thank God for daily accomplishments. If you notice something of nature’s beauty, you may thank God the Creator. If you see an accident, you may ask God to help those involved in the accident.
- Mentor your child- offer subjects for them to pray about. Provide direction for prayer by encouraging your child not only to mention names in a petition but to mention why someone is special and why they need help. Encourage balance in the content of your child’s prayer between praise & thanksgiving; confession of wrongdoing & guidance; and, petition & intercession.
- Share stories of people whose prayers have been answered and of the benefits they received from prayer.
- Talk openly about prayer. Make an opportunity to explain what prayer is used for and when people should pray. Give your child the opportunity to express their thoughts on what they believe prayer is and adjust your answers around their answers.
- Pray together as a family after watching a news summary. This is an easy way to start praying for broader world issues, and can encourage children/ young people to develop a practical concern for God’s world.
- Try to be active in a community that practices prayer regularly
- Alive-O (Veritas)
- Read with me Bible (Candle Books). Suitable for children in Junior classes
- Catholic Good News Bible (Schools Edition). Suitable for Children in Senior classes
- An Bíobla Naofa
- Teach Your Children to Pray by Denise George
- Teaching Your Child How to Pray by Rick Osbourne
- Holy Bible Contemporary English Version. Suitable for Children in Senior classes
- www.about.com: School-Age Children