Here is a helpful approach for teaching kids to pray. It’s a format that allows children to recall and pray in their own words for five different groups of people. All this lines up with the five fingers of their hand. Hold up your thumb and each of your fingers in turn as you explain who we pray for. Ask the children to hold up their fingers at the same time as you.
(Praying for people who are close to us)
When you hold your hand in front of you point your back at yourself. Think of those who are close to you in your life. These are your close friends and family, often the first you think about when you pray. Give thanks to God and ask his protection on your parents, siblings, friends, and classmates.
(Praying for those who point the way and lead us)
These are leaders in your life, such as teachers, preachers or elders. Those who lead the church or lead in your family. Offer God your thanksgiving for them and ask him to help them in their important work.
(Praying for people in authority)
This is our tallest finger. The big people in the world need prayer too. Ask God to give wisdom to our government, military, and police.
(Praying for people who are weak)
This is our weakest finger so we do not use it to lift or carry things. People without strength or power need our prayers. We should remember others who are sick, live in poverty, or are treated badly. Pray that Jesus would give them new strength.
(Lastly, I will pray for myself)
We help others and often put their needs before our own but God wants to hear about our needs too. I can pray for my own growth in mind, body, and spirit.
Follow-Up Activities to Try
- After explaining each part of the prayer (each finger) lead the children in a prayer covering each of the five points. Ask them to close their eyes and hold their fingers up quietly as you cover each point.
- Ask on of the children to pray using the 5 finger prayer.
- Have the children trace their hands on a paper and then write people to pray for on each finger of their hand picture. After this ask them to bow their heads and pray silently for each of these people.