Prayer appears in many religions and is used as a way for believers to talk to their god. Most religions -- Lutherans, Catholics, Muslims -- encourage prayer for all ages, though all prayers aren't appropriate for preschool age children. At this age, kids need simple and easy to remember prayers so they don't get frustrated with them. Praying with your preschooler is also a good way to teach him about your religion and set the stage for a lifetime of prayer.
In most religions, prayer is used as a way to ask a higher power, or god, for blessings or help and as a way to thank that higher power for those blessings and help and to repent of sins. Many believers gain a sense of comfort when they pray. Teaching preschoolers to pray helps them understand the importance of talking to a higher power and helps them learn how to pray on their own. Many religions have written prayers that are used for certain occasions, such as before a meal, during church services or on holidays like Yom Kippur or Easter. They are a good starting point for teaching preschoolers to pray.
Trying to get preschoolers to pray is much more difficult if you want them to memorize long, drawn-out prayers. Instead, start with short prayers that rhyme or have repetition. These options are easier to remember and are more fun for young children to recite. Say the prayers together as often as possible until your child is able to say them on her own. Don't forget to tell her what the prayer means so it doesn't become a rote recitation that holds no significance.
When to Pray
Most religions have customs regarding when to pray. Some incorporate times of prayer in the morning and evening, while others pray before bed and meals. Most clergy encourage prayer whenever it is needed. For example, if you're driving through a storm, let your preschooler know that it is OK to pray for safety if he wants to. Pray for sick family members or when you pass an accident on the highway. Choose times in your day when you'll always pray so that talking to your god becomes something your preschooler is used to and maybe even looks forward to.
In the Christian faith, preschoolers often learn short simple prayers, such as, "God is great, God is good, Let us thank him for our food." These simple prayers are said before eating, before going to bed, or at worship services. Other religions have similar options. Most religions have books of prayer for young children. The thing to remember when choosing prayers is to find those that your preschooler can remember. Pray with your preschooler as often as possible, which helps her remember the words to your prayers of choice and connects you as believers now and as she gets older.
- Kids Sunday School Place: Prayer
- Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States: Teaching Children How to Pray?
- Prayer and Prayers Info: Prayers for Children
- God Web: Prayers for Children
- Interfaith Prayers and Blessings: Protection Prayers
- The Institute for Peace and Justice: Multi-Faith Prayers for Peace
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