With the National Day of Prayer program coming up on May 2, prayer is on our minds. Now is a great time to revisit how you pray with your kids and look for ways to add simple prayers to your family life.
Prayer is a conversation with God, and teaching kids simple prayers helps them understand how to talk to God. Incorporating praying into your daily life shows kids that talking with God is an important part of each and every day.
When school is out, your kids will look to you to set their summer routine. Adding these prayers to your day will help keep kids strong in their faith and remind them of our real present God who is with us—even during the summer.
Here are simple prayers you can say with your kids each day. If you or your kids don’t have these prayers memorized, practice saying them or writing the prayers each day until you can recite them by heart. You can also sing your prayers! Singing is a great way to help kids remember the words and make prayer more engaging. Some of these prayers have been set to music already; you can also encourage your kids to make up their own song to remember the words.
At Breakfast: Luther’s Morning Prayer
Luther’s Morning Prayer is a classic prayer for families to memorize and say together. Saying this prayer with your kids at the start of the day helps them remember to thank God for keeping them safe throughout the night and know that God will be with them throughout the day, wherever they go.
“I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
Before a Church Service: “On entering a church” from Lutheran Service Book
It can be a bit of a hassle getting kids up, dressed, and out the door to get to church on time. To calm your family down and get everyone’s minds focused on church, say this prayer in the car on the way to church or as you sit in the pew before the service starts.
“Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. In the multitude of your tender mercies prepare my heart that I may enter Your house to worship and confess Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, my God and Lord. Amen.”Lutheran Service Book
Before Lunch: A Mealtime Prayer
Keeping your mealtime prayer short and sweet can help younger kids feel more engaged with prayer because they can remember and say all the words! Try this simple prayer before eating lunch—it’s also easy to sing.
“God is great, God is Good,
And we thank Him for our food. Amen.”
Before a Snack: “Johnny Appleseed”
Try a singing prayer with your kids before grabbing an afternoon snack! The Johnny Appleseed song is catchy and easy to sing:
“Oh, the Lord is good to me.
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun and the rain and the apple seed;
The Lord is good to me.”
Before Dinner: The Common Table Prayer
Simply reciting a prayer, such as the Common Table Prayer, before meals will remind your family to thank God for providing food and to remember our real present God, who is by our side even at mealtime.
“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blest. Amen.”
At Bedtime: Lord’s Prayer
Saying a prayer together as a family at night calms kids down and gets them ready to go to bed. Younger kids can focus on memorizing the Lord’s Prayer and saying it both during nightly devotions and at church and chapel services. As kids get older, you can talk to them about what each section of the Lord’s Prayer means by using Luther’s Small Catechism.
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
At Bedtime: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
Before you tuck your kids in, recite this simple prayer with your kids. Remind your children that even when they are sleeping, Jesus is watching over them and protecting them.
“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my Soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my Soul to take.”
At Bedtime: “Now the Light Has Gone Away”
Another prayer you can recite when you’re settling your kids into bed is the first two verses from the hymn “Now the Light Has Gone Away.” You can also sing these verses: The musical setting is in the Lutheran Service Book (hymn 887), or you can sing along to Koine’s recording of the song on YouTube—their video even includes lyrics!
“Now the light has gone away;Lutheran Service Book 887
Father, listen while I pray,
Asking Thee to watch and keep
And to send me quiet sleep.
“Jesus, Savior, wash away
All that has been wrong today.
Help me ev’ry day to be
Good and gentle, more like Thee.”