Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Teaching Children How to Pray?

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God loves his children and enjoys hearing them praying. Therefore it is our duties as servant to teach them during their early years, according to their level, how to address God, use the Agpeya for prayer and how to have a relationship with God.

"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).

Levels of Prayer
Pre-School children will be receptive to learn small prayers such as "God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food" or simple verses like "God is love" or "Love one another".

Kindergarteners can memorize the Lord's Prayer and verses.

First-graders can start learning psalms from the Agpeya such as Psalm 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd" and pray individually if they want to.

Second grader and up can read and write and therefore will be able to go deeper into their relationship with God. The following is the type of lesson that can help this age group grow in their understanding of prayer.

How to Teach?

  1. Tell the children...
    • "Today we are going to learn how to stand in front of God and pray"

      See if the children understand what prayer means. Explain to them that when we pray we are standing before God talking to Him.

  2. When the disciples wanted to pray they asked Jesus
    • "Lord, teach us to pray."
    • Ask the children if they know what he said to them. Read together Luke 11 and find out what he said?
  3. Recite together the Lord's Prayer.
  4. Ask the children what they think is important about the Lord's Prayer.
  5. Start the Lesson...
    • "Today we are going to discover what Jesus meant and that will teach us about how he wanted us to pray."

    Our Father...

    Who is our Father?

    • We have two fathers one in heaven and one on earth

    Do you like to talk to Mom/Dad about...

    • What you did in school?
    • Who your friends are?
    • Things that you enjoy or things that trouble you

    Do you think Mom and Dad are wise enough to give you advices and directions?

    With our Father in heaven you can talk to him about anything. He is always listening to you and cares about what you say and feel. He also is much wiser than Mom/Dad.

    Who Art in Heaven...

    Is God only in Heaven?

    • God is everywhere; he knows not only what we do and say, but what we think too.

    Revelations 4:7-11 tells us about God's glory and his throne in heaven. Lets read it and find out how it's like.

    Now can you imagine the Living creatures and the 24 elders praising God continuously without stopping all day and all night.

    So what we should do when we stand in front of God? We should stand in love and respect.

    Hallowed be Thy Name...

    This means: God's name is Holy.

    We should always start our prayer with Thanksgiving. Do you know that Abouna always start any prayer or function in the church with the Thanksgiving prayer. Does anyone remember this prayer? (Servants: it is a good idea to have the students memorize this prayer.)

    We should thank God for all the things he gives us [home, family, friends, food]. Also, praise Him for his mercy, love, and forgiveness.

    Thy Kingdom Come...

    Here we are praying for God to come into our hearts and help us to be better people.

    Ask him to help you and comfort you through his words, and help Mom/Dad to do the best for the family.

    Pray for God's Church and for His people to have a strong faith.

    Your Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven...

    Here we pray for all that God desires for us to happen, since we know that he knows what is best for us.

    Ask God for his Holy Spirit to help you and teach you how to live a godly life and be a better person.

    Give us This Day Our Daily Bread...

    Who can tell me things that we need each day?

    Pray for your health, protection and other everyday needs.

    Pray that God can gives you talent for His glory.

    Pray that God guides your steps throughout the day.

    And Forgive Us Our Sins...

    Who can forgive our sins?

    Tell God how sorry you are about any wrong things you have done. Have you misbehaved in school, church, home, etc...? Were you mean to others or are you angry with someone?

    Ask God to help you to overcome your bad habits.

    As We Forgive Those Who Trespass against us...

    Do we forgive others when they wrong us?

    Ask God to teach you how to forgive and let go of the things that trouble you.

    Ask God to help you love your enemies instead of staying angry with them.

    Pray..."Help me O Lord to love everyone and lead me away from hate and envy."

    And Lead us not into temptation, But Deliver Us From the Evil One...

    What is temptation? What are evil things?
    What are examples of wrong things that children your age desire to do?
    "Please God protect us from evil things and keeps us close to you"

    Pray that the Lord helps you to know right from wrong and help you to stay away from things that cause you to sin and help you overcome sins may already be in your life.

    For example, pray..."Teach me, O Lord to be willing to share, to appreciate what I have and be content, to be willing to give instead of receive"

    In Christ Jesus our Lord, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen...

    Who has the Glory and the power?

    Again we thank You O Lord and we praise You always and forever. Amen.

  6. How does God answer our prayers?
    • Through the word of the Holy Bible
    • Through a word of wisdom from our parents
    • Through a word of wisdom from our priest or teacher
    • Through other mysterious ways
  7. Copy the Sample Prayer (see below) for the children and ask them to write their own prayer and bring it back next week as their homework.
    • They can write completely from the sample, using some of the sample, or use their own words.
  8. The following week when is the time for prayer let each child read his own prayer. This will help you as a servant learn more about your children's concerns so that you can guide them more in your lessons by focusing on what matters to them. It will also help them:
    • Increase their knowledge about how to pray by listening to each other praying
    • Gain confidence praying in front of others
    • Feel at ease since they have already written the prayer
  9. You can also copy their prayers and make a special prayer card for each child to use with his Agpeya book.
  10. Ask them from time to time to write a new prayer or add to it until they feel comfortable praying on their own.

Sample Prayer

Thank you lord

  1. Thank you Lord for the new day.
  2. Thank you in everything you give me.
  3. Thank you for the entire daily gift we get from you.
  4. Thank you for giving me a good day.
  5. Thank you for loving me so much.
  6. Thank you for my family.
  7. Thank you for my special friends.
  8. Thank you for the food we are about to receive.
  9. Thank you for being my Lord.

Please God

  1. Please guide me through the day and keep me close to you.
  2. Please guide my Mom and Dad to the right decisions.
  3. Please guide my lips to kind word to say
    And guide my hand to do your work today
    And guide my feet to always walk in your way.
  4. Please help me to be kind and good to others.
  5. Please help me to do the right things.
  6. Please stay with me through the night and keep my family and me safe until morning light.
  7. Please Lord help _________ to feel better.
  8. Please help my friend _________ to come to church and learn about you.

Sorry Lord

  1. I am sorry Lord for acting the way I did today, please help me and lead me in your way.
  2. Forgive me O Lord for all the wrong things I did today.

Blessings for Others

  1. Bless our church, the priests, and the people
  2. Bless the poor and the needs

Teach Me Lord

  1. Teach me to speak with kindness and care.
  2. Teach me to be willing to share.
  3. Teach me how to pray.

I Appreciate

  1. I appreciate having this day to grow.
  2. I appreciate my family and friends.
  3. I appreciate my life.

Add these two lines to your prayer....
Bless my heart so I may love everyone.
Through the prayers of your Saints hear us when we say: Our Father_________.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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