By Stephanie Englehart, Crosswalk.com
I have three girls of my own at home, and am often looking for ways to instill the truths of God’s Word in their hearts. I love to teach the Bible, but I have often found with their attention span (ages 5, 3, and 5 months), and my limited time—it can be hard to consistently sow seeds of Biblical truth.
For this reason, I’ve developed my own patterns of studying and growing in God’s Word that I pray spills over into my children. I’m sure I often fall flat at making this a reality, but nonetheless I know it is God who gives growth to the seeds sewn (1 Corinthians 3:5-9). It is simply my job to sow the seeds.
Whether you are a parent, caregiver, kids ministry volunteer, or another fantastic human who loves to teach kids the Word of God, I hope my simple tips encourage you to continue to sow seeds of faith as you teach the Lord’s Prayer for kids.
The Importance of Teaching the Lord's Prayer to Kids
The Lord’s Prayer can be found in Matthew 6:5-14 in what is often called the Sermon on the Mount. Here, we see Jesus teaching His disciples what it looks like to live out faith in the kingdom of God. In this specific passage, Jesus provides the basis for our own understanding of what and how to pray. We can use the Lord’s Prayer as a framework for praying for ourselves, and others. As Jesus disciples us in prayer through His sermon on the mount, we are must disciple our kids in Jesus’ teaching on prayer.
Not only is it important for kids to hear and understand the humility that marked Jesus as He prayed these words, but it is also important for the Lord’s Prayer to shape how kids learn to pray.
Prayer is an act of communion that we have gained through faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have been reconciled back to God—granting us full access to God through prayer. The atoning work of the cross on its own, points us to the importance of following Jesus’ teaching on prayer. Prayer both displays our dependence on God and develops us as disciples of Jesus.
Therefore, consider these 5 tips when making the Lord’s Prayer for kids:
1. Study the Lord’s Prayer
In order to teach the Lord’s Prayer to others, we need to know it well ourselves. Spend time reading the passage and looking at commentaries or a study Bible (the ESV and NIV study bibles are a great place to start). Gain background information and context before you seek to apply it to your life.
The Lord’s Prayer has a wealth of theological depth contained in a short 5 verses. In order to gain a fuller picture of each verse, look at the cross references, re-write them in your own words, and pray them as you go throughout your day. If your kids are on the older side, consider doing this study with them as a family. Get out the study Bible, give them each a highlighter and have them help!
The more you read, understand, and apply the Lord’s Prayer to your own life, the more natural it will become to teach it to the kids in your life.
2. Model the Lord’s Prayer for Kids
The Lord’s prayer is often thought of as the 5 short verses that starts with “Our Father in Heaven…” and ends with “deliver us from evil”. These verses are important, as our prayers should include a similar pattern to the Lord’s Prayer. As we pray out loud with our kids, we are beginning to teach them how to pray.
Therefore, praying together with kids can and should include the elements of praising of God the Father, confession and repentance, petitioning for His will to be done, and for deliverance from evil. Jesus’ teaching on prayer also encompasses more than a few short phrases. Jesus calls His disciples to a high standard of prayer that removes a sense of pride within us. He tells His disciples to pray alone, not loudly on the street corner. Matthew 6:5-8 describes it like this:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Therefore, as we model the Lord’s Prayer to kids, we should consider how and where we are praying, as well as how they hear us pray.
3. Sing the Lord’s Prayer
Song is a powerful tool that God has given us in order to help us remember the truths of His Word. Whether you have a fantastic singing voice, or you tend to be a little off-key, Singing the Lord’s prayer with Kids will help them remember the words of Jesus for years to come. If you are creative and enjoy coming up with your own tune, don’t hesitate on making your own song!
You can even consider asking the kids to join you in making up a song to remember the words of the Lord’s Prayer. But if singing and songwriting isn’t your jam, utilize one of the fantastic songs of the Lord’s Prayer that’s already been written. Listen in the car, sing it before bed, or just play it around house. Here are two great options to get you started by Hillsong Worship and Saddleback Kids.
4. Paraphrase the Lord’s Prayer for Kids
Paraphrasing Scripture and putting it into your own words helps engrain the text deeper into your memory and soul. If you have the time, grab the kids and have them help you paraphrase the Lord’s Prayer. Ask them what they think each phrase means, give them understanding where it’s needed, and allow them to put Jesus’ teaching on prayer into their own words.
Write it down, allow them to draw images that help them remember the words, and post somewhere where you can go back to it again and again. If you don’t have time for this long of a project, consider regularly reading paraphrased versions of the Lord’s Prayer. Sally Loyd Jones offers a free reading of her paraphrase here, or you can grab her book Loved to have on hand for regular reading.
You can also grab the kids and read different Bible translations of the Lord’s Prayer with them. See if they can spot differences and similarities. The more we immerse ourselves in the Word of God, and Jesus’ teaching on prayer, the more the Lord’s prayer will come to life!
Finally, in all things, ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment as you seek to sow seeds of truth. We want to train our kids in goodness and godliness, therefore, we should be asking King Jesus how we can weave teaching the Lord’s Prayer into the everyday patterns of life. At the end of the day, simply reading and praying the words of Matthew 6:9-15 is enough, for God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
“Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash
Stephanie Englehart is a Seattle native, church planter’s wife, mama, and lover of all things coffee, the great outdoors, and fine (easy to make) food. Stephanie is passionate about allowing God to use her honest thoughts and confessions to bring gospel application to life. You can read more of what she writes on the Ever Sing blog at stephaniemenglehart.com or follow her on Instagram: @stephaniemenglehart.