Praying With Kids
We pray for kids. We teach kids to pray. We teach kids to be intercessors. But there are times when we must pray with kids. We must help them come to the Father and receive the things He has for them.
How can we prepare ourselves to pray with kids, to help them receive all the Heavenly Father has for them?
Know and memorize scripture verses related to the spiritual experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Also memorize verses that will help you counsel children with specific problems or needs such as fear, anger, temptations, conflict in the home, etc.
Consistently intercede for the children before the Heavenly Father.
Invite the Holy Spirit to partner with you in praying for and with the children. The Holy Spirit knows the needs of the children in your ministry. He knows the temptations Satan has placed in their paths. He knows the desires of their hearts. He can give you insight into these secret things. He can help you know how you should pray for each child and the counsel you should give.
Ideas You Can Use!
Nine Mistakes to Avoid When Praying with Children:
- Assuming you know why a child responded to an invitation.
*Instead, always ask, “What do you want Jesus to do for you?” Pray with the child based on his or her response.
- Not taking a child’s request seriously.
*Instead, remember that 2 Peter 5:7 says to “Cast all your anxiety (cares, worries) on him because he cares for you.” Every request is important to God.
- Using religious jargon that children may not understand.
*Instead, use simple and specific language that the child is familiar with.
- Agreeing with a misdirected request.
*Instead, help the child discern how to pray according to God’s will in that particular situation.
- Not letting the child pray.
*Instead, offer the child simple instructions on how to pray and then pray in agreement with them as they pray.
- Rebuking a child.
*Instead, affirm the child. Remember, we want this praying experience to draw him closer to the heavenly Father.
- Expecting an adult-like response.
*Instead, remember that Christ said we must become child-like.
- Letting a child get out of control as he prays.
*Instead, quickly consider these things-
A. Are the child’s actions helping him receive from God?
B. Is the child helping or hindering others?
C. Are the child’s actions in keeping with what God’s Spirit is doing?
If you determine that the child is out of control, help him regain control by asking him what God has done for him. Pray a short prayer of thanking God for what He has done then help the child return to his seat.
- Failing to follow-up.
*Instead, continue to pray for the child. When you see him again, ask him about how God has worked in the particular situation for which he was praying.
(Adapted from “Altering Kids’ Lives At the Altar” by Lance Colkmire.)
As you pray with a child–
- Touch the child appropriately and reassuringly.
- Speak in a gentle voice.
- Use the child’s name.
- Ask the child to give you eye contact if he has not done so.
- Ask the child, “What do you want Jesus to do for you?”
- Counsel based upon the child’s response.
- Plan thought-provoking questions to determine the child’s thinking. As much as possible, avoid questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.”
- Encourage the child to pray. Remind the child that he can talk to God just as he is talking to you.
Praying with a child to receive salvation–
Use questions to-
- Determine WHY the child responded to the invitation. What would you like Jesus to do for you right now?
- Help the child understand his need. What is sin? Remind the child of Romans 3:23. Admit your sinfulness as well. What is God’s punishment for sin? If the child needs further help, Romans 6:23 is a good verse to use.
- Help the child understand God’s plan. God loves you so much that He made a way for your sins to be forgiven. What did He send Jesus to do?
Explain one verse of Scripture.
Read a verse of Scripture that contains both God’s condition and the promise of salvation. Scripture verses such as Acts 16:31, Romans 10:13, 1 John 1:9 are appropriate. Show the verse in your Bible and explain the verse. Ask questions such as–What must you do? What will God do?
Encourage the child to pray.
“You can talk out loud to God just like you have been talking to me. Tell Him about your sin and that you believe He died for you. Ask Him to save you from your sins right now.” If the child does not feel he can pray alone, you may help him for a prayer, line by line.
Leave the child with assurance of his salvation.
- When the child finishes praying, avoid saying, “Now you’re saved” or “Jesus jut saved you.” This assurance must come from the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. You can ask, “What did Jesus just do for you”
- Use the same verse you showed him earlier so God can assure him his sins are forgiven and that he has God’s gift of eternal life. Put his name in the verse.
- Encourage the child to thank God for what He has done for Him.
- Leave the child with Hebrews 13:5, a verse of assurance.
Begin follow-up immediately.
- Give the child a small devotional book, Bible or salvation tract.
- Go with him to tell someone about what has happened to him.
- Pray for him daily.
- Make sure that he is given the opportunity to attend church regularly.
Praying with a child to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit-
Ask the following questions-
- Has Jesus taken away your sins? (Use a phrase that is familiar to the child.) If necessary, remind him of the requirements for salvation found in 1 John 1:9, Acts 16:13, or Romans 10:31. Make sure the child is assured of his salvation before leading him further.
- Have you been “set apart” for God’s use? If the child is unsure, ask him to give himself completely to God and allow God to remove anything in his life that isn’t pleasing to Him.
Encourage the child to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ask God to give you the gift of the Holy Spirit and believe that He is going to do it (Matthew 7:7-11).
Encourage the child to respond to the presence of the Lord Jesus.
- Close your eyes.
- Lift your face up toward heaven as if you are expecting to receive.
- Begin praising Jesus for who He is and what He has done.
- Stop thinking about what to say. Trust Jesus to give you the words to say.
- As the child is seeking for the gift of the Holy Spirit, enter into praise. Speak in your heavenly language.
- Do not allow the child to become discouraged seeking.
- When the child has finished praying ask, “What has God done for you?” If he is unsure, read Acts 2:4, NIV with the child. Ask, “Did you speak in a heavenly language?” If he says “yes,” ask, “When the disciples spoke in a heavenly language what happened to them? What has happened to you?”
Leading Children to Receive God’s Good Gifts is an IMPACT! training module that is available through Children’s Ministries. This module covers material on how to minister to children so that they may receive the spiritual experiences of salvation, sanctification, and Holy Spirit baptism. Each training module costs $10 and includes a DVD of teaching and a resource CD with assignments you can complete that goes toward a certificate in Children’s Ministry. Information and details about IMPACT! can be acquired through the Children’s Ministries office.
Phone: (423) 559 – 5328
Address: Children’s Ministries
P.O. Box 2910
Cleveland, TN 37312
Originally printed as the Volume 5, Issue 8 of the CM Newsletter, August 2001, Contributing Editor: Bess Croyle