Praying with your preschoolers is one of the most important things that you get to do with them. When you pray with your preschoolers, you are modeling for them the essential skills for a close, personal relationship with God. You are both the model and the participant in this time of prayer, and the only way to learn to pray effectively is by praying yourself! Teaching preschoolers that God is active and listening to them always, and that they can talk to God like they’re talking to a friend are very important. Shaking off the formality and stiffness of a group prayer can help your preschoolers develop a positive attitude about prayer.
Here are several tips for opening your preschoolers’ eyes and hearts to prayer, and some tips for keeping their attention.
Preschoolers have notoriously short attention spans! Keep your prayer brief and simple, but meaningful.
Let preschoolers be involved in the prayer! You can “popcorn” pray, where you begin the prayer and you ask the preschoolers to continue. You can give them direction, such as a specific family or situation to pray for, or you can just let them take over and pray as they want to.
Teach preschoolers to pray in their own words! So often preschoolers just parrot words they’ve heard parents or pastors pray. Learning to talk to God in their own way is so important. You can help facilitate that by beginning a prayer and asking them to end it, as mentioned above, or you can assist them by asking them if they have anything they’d like to talk to God about.
Preschoolers are going through a time of selfishness where they are very me, me, me. Use the Prayertime prompt and take the opportunity to help preschoolers pray for people other than themselves.
Be patient! Preschoolers are rambunctious and may not always be in the “mood” for still, quiet prayertime. Meet them where they are. If a few preschoolers are playing and a few want to pray, pray with the second group and then meet the ones playing where they are for a quick prayer.
The act of prayer is a special, beautiful thing that is so essential for our relationship with God. Teaching preschoolers about talking to God and how we can know God and talk directly to Him is a catalyst for their future faith. As Jesus says in Mark 10:14, “Let the little children come to me . . . for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (NIV1) God loves the pure, innocent, childlike faith that preschoolers exhibit. As a teacher, your job is to help them understand just how much their prayers are valued and loved by their Creator.
1Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Kaitlyn Adams, Preschool Resource Team Intern
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