Children can quickly grasp the concept of prayer and engage in it from a young age. With these positive activities and consistent practice, children can understand the importance of praying for themselves and extending their prayers to include others.

by Bernadete F. Leal

Objective: To guide children to become familiar with prayer and practice praying for others.

Ages: 3 +

Inspirational Message: 

“What God will give us if we direct our prayers with confidence, is courage, patience, and fortitude. God will also give us ways of resolving situations ourselves with the help of ideas that spirit guides suggest. In the end, the merit is ours. God helps those who help themselves.” 

Chapter 27, item 7 of the Gospel According to Spiritism

Introduction: 

Instilling the habit of prayer is always beneficial, and it can begin early in a child’s life. While it’s natural for children to focus on their desires in prayer initially, parents and educators play a vital role in guiding them. Through positive examples and consistent practice, children can understand the value of praying for themselves and extending their prayers to others. 

Here are some suggestions to encourage this practice:

1. Prayer List

Create a prayer list with names of people for you and your child to pray for together. Include family members, friends, those who are sick, and those in need. Each day, select one name from the list to pray for. You can write the names on slips of paper and place them in a jar or use popsicle sticks with names written on them. This interactive approach can make the prayer experience more engaging and meaningful for you and your child.

2. Before Meals Prayer

Incorporate a prayer before every meal or dinner with your family, where you model praying for those involved in the food preparation. Take a moment to express gratitude for the ones who prepared the food, as well as those who made it possible, such as farmers, workers in the food industry, and those who contribute to the grocery store. This practice teaches children about appreciation and empathy and helps them develop a broader awareness of the interconnectedness and effort behind the meals they enjoy.

3. Praying Together

Pray aloud to set an example and allow your child to observe the act of prayer. If your child is too young to pray independently, you can take the lead and invite them to repeat after you. By praying together, you teach your child the importance of prayer and create a bonding experience where you both can express your thoughts, hopes, and gratitude to a higher power. This practice helps instill the habit of prayer and encourages your child to develop their relationship with spirituality as they grow older.

4. Teachable Moments

Catch teachable moments and seize opportunities to pray. When you or your child encounter someone homeless or in need, use that moment to invite your child to say a prayer together. Encourage them to express their compassion and empathy through prayer, acknowledging that simply feeling sorry for someone is not enough. By praying for those in need, you teach your child the power of prayer in offering support, comfort, and hope to others. It also reinforces the importance of taking action and showing kindness towards those who may be less fortunate.

5. The Five-Finger Prayer

The Five-Finger Prayer, also known as the Pope Francis – Five-Finger Prayer, is a beautiful tool that parents and spiritual teachers have used to guide children in praying for others. Each finger represents a specific group of people to pray for. 

  1. The thumb is a reminder to pray for family and friends, expressing gratitude for their presence in our lives. 
  2. The index finger is for praying for parents and teachers, acknowledging their guidance and support. 
  3. The middle finger represents leaders, urging us to pray for wisdom and guidance in their decisions. 
  4. The ring finger is for the poor and sick, emphasizing the importance of compassion and empathy towards those in need. 
  5. The pinky finger, being the smallest, serves as a reminder to pray for ourselves, recognize our own needs, and seek guidance and strength. 

This simple and visual prayer technique helps children remember to include others in their prayers and fosters a spirit of compassion and care. 

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