How to pray with kids

Ever asked your group of kids to pray to be met with silence? Or found that every prayer they pray is identical? Or been met with ‘But how?’ after explaining how central prayer is to a friendship with God? Here’s one thing that might help…

This was adapted by Brian – an elder at the church I trained with – from the ACTS model of prayer. ACTS is a mnemonic that mirrors what we find in lots of Jesus’ prayers and makes it easy to remember so that you’re never stuck for things to say and not limiting your self by only praying one type of prayer.
A stands for Adoration
C stands for Confession
T for Thanksgiving
S for Supplication
It’s useful but not child friendly so here’s our adaptation:

WOT A way to pray!

(This can be used in any situation, I’m going to frame my example questions as though we’d just finished a study on the flood.)

W is for WOW
What have we read today that makes you want to say wow? What words would you use to describe the God who flooded the whole world? What words do you think Noah and his family would use to tell their children what God was like?
Write the words down and use them to open your prayer: Wow God! You are so powerful and kind.

O is for OWN UP
Is there anything you want to say sorry to God for? What ways have you been living like the people in Noah’s time? Could the phrase ‘that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time‘ be about you? What have you done/thought/said that would make God sad?
Write them down and say them like this: I’m sorry that the thoughts of my heart are mostly about me not about you, Lord.

T is for Thanks
What has God done that we can thank him for? How does God’s rescue of Noah remind us of something we should thank him for?
Make a note so you can pray like this: Thank you Father that you rescue people from trouble and even sent Jesus to save us from our sin.

A is for Ask
Now we’ve seen that God can save; is their anyone you would like to ask him to rescue? How would you like God to deal with the sin you mentioned when we were owning up? Is there anything you can see God helping Noah with that you would like help with?
Write it down and finish your prayer: Please save my Dad, help him to trust in you.

So your prayer in response to Genesis 6 might be:
Wow God! You are so powerful and kind. I’m sorry that the thoughts of my heart are mostly about me not about you. Thanks Father that you rescue people from trouble and even sent Jesus to save us from our sin. Please save my Dad, help him to trust in you. Amen

I like to write all the suggestions down in the middle and then they can pick and choose; with groups that are nervous of praying I often give them a writing frame each that they can put the words into. Sometimes we use our own idea in our prayer, sometimes we use others. Here’s the prayer my older kids and younger teens wrote to pray for our church.

Hope that helps! Here are some powerpoints that I used to introduce to the church in our 5-10 minutes Children’s talk at the beginning of the service (one a week for a month).
Wow Own up Thanks Ask All