Building Faith in Your Kids Through the Power of Prayer

small child praying

As a parent or caregiver, you may strongly desire to help your children grow in their relationship with God. These days, bad news swirls and suffering surrounds us on all sides. The best way to ensure your kids have hope, no matter what comes next, is by helping them build their faith in the Father.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
— Proverbs 22:6, NIV

Where do you start? In the middle of the busyness, how can you make more time for Jesus-centered conversations? You can start with prayer.

The Power of Prayer: Why Pray With Your Children?

Prayer is talking to God, whether we want to thank him for his blessings or ask him for help in times of need. Praying to God is powerful and one of the best tools we can share with our children to build their faith.

Prayer Is Powerful

Remember the disciple Peter, who denied Jesus three times after Jesus’ arrest (Luke 22:54-62)? That same disciple went on to be the very first leader of the early church. And Peter? He knew the power of prayer.

In Acts 12, Peter is arrested and put into prison by King Herod. Acts 12:5 (NIV) says, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” The night before Herod was to bring Peter to trial, an angel of God appeared and told him to “get up!”

Peter was astonished when the chains he was bound with fell from his wrists and hit the ground. The angel then led Peter out of prison and out of the city, without harm.

Prayer Builds Faith

In Peter’s case, the prayers of the church moved God to action, resulting in his miraculous release from prison. Do you think Peter’s faith was strengthened and built up after his release? Most definitely!

Prayers can often result in the miraculous, and they also lead us and our children into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Each time we call on his name, whether for a need or in worship, we can trust that he’s listening.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
— Jeremiah 29:12, NIV

Mark 11:24 (NIV) also says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” These two verses illustrate the power of prayer. When we pray to God, who listens to us and gives us what we ask for according to his will, it strengthens our faith.

While we may not see him physically, we have confidence that he’s there and working on our behalf when we pray.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
— Hebrews 11:1, NIV

How to Pray Together as a Family

To teach your children the importance and power of prayer, start by praying together as a family.

Finding Time for Prayer

First, carve out some time to pray as a family each day. Maybe you can pray together on the way to school each morning or before bed each night. Or take time to pray on the way to sports practice or before dinner.

Just like brushing your teeth at night, setting aside time to pray each day helps make prayer a habit for you and your children.

Prayers to Pray

The beauty of prayer is that there’s no right or wrong way to talk to God. You can talk to him just like a friend! But to guide your family time each day, here are some example prayers you can use as inspiration:

  • Gratitude: Encourage your kids to give thanks for their family, friends and the blessings in their lives. Saying thanks to God can help your kids develop a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what they have, the people around them, and what God’s done for them.
  • Forgiveness: 1 John 1:9 (NIV) says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” In prayer, we should ask for forgiveness for things we do that aren’t of God and ask him to help us forgive others. These prayers teach the value of reconciliation and provide strength when kids must own up to mistakes.
  • Compassion and kindness: Include prayers that ask for the strength to be kind, compassionate and understanding towards others. Prayers for compassion can help your children consider the needs and feelings of others.
  • Service and helping others: Include prayers for those in need, such as family members who need healing or friends who need guidance. These prayers instill a sense of responsibility for the suffering of others and inspire empathy.
  • Guidance and wisdom: Ask God for guidance, wisdom and the ability to make good choices. By doing so, your children will begin to understand the importance of thinking carefully before they act. They’ll know who they can turn to when they must make a decision.
  • Protection and safety: Prayers asking God for protection and safety provide children with the security and comfort of knowing that they can run to God when times get tough.

Sharing the Power of Prayer With Those in Need

Just like with the church in Acts, God is moved by our prayers for others. And another way to help your children build their faith through prayer is by praying for those in need around the world.

By including those facing unimaginable hardships in our prayers, we open our children’s eyes to the broader world and create empathy for those who are different. For your kiddos, this shows how their prayers can cross borders and bring about positive change, strengthening their faith.

Where to Start: Pray for Those Living in Poverty

Child poverty is one of the world’s most devastating challenges. In fact, it accounts for half of the world’s poor, with 1 out of 5 children experiencing extreme poverty. These children lack the necessities they need to thrive, from safe medical care to clean water.

One way we can help these children living in poverty is through prayer. In Acts, the church prayed for Peter, who was miraculously released from prison. As part of the church, we can pray for children to be released from poverty.

How can you pray for children in poverty? Pray that these children turn to God and find a faith that will sustain them through their circumstances. Pray for hope that defies poverty. And pray for provision, that God will supply their needs — mind, body and soul.

Want to partner with us to intercede for children in need? Become a prayer partner of Compassion!

Building Faith in Other Ways

As you create a habit of prayer as a family, there are other ways you can help your children build their faith.

Ask for Faith

Matthew 7:11 tells us that God gives good gifts to those who ask him. And faith is a good gift! In your prayer time, ask him to give you faith and allow your children to do the same. You can trust that he’ll follow through.

Study God’s Word

Romans 10:17 (NIV) says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” By reading and studying the Bible, we build our faith in God by learning about his promises and power.

During your prayer time, try reading scriptures that relate to your prayers. If they’re able, have your kiddos read them back to you. Or find some kid-friendly devotionals to read together.

Keep a Prayer Journal

A great way to see God’s faithfulness in your life is to keep a journal. When you and your kids pray, jot down what you prayed for. Whenever God answers a prayer, write that down too. Over time, your family will see how God is working, which builds faith in his faithfulness.

The Next Step in Building Faith: Take Action!

Prayer is powerful, but so is taking action. If you’re looking for the next faith-building step to take with your children, consider child sponsorship. Through sponsorship, you and your children will support a child in poverty, encouraging them and providing them with the necessities they need to thrive.

By writing letters to your sponsored child, your children can exercise their faith as they share it with someone else. As a sponsor, you’ll teach your kids how to be the hands and feet of Jesus and walk alongside them as they witness the power of faith in action. Sponsor a child today to get started.