Children Praying the Bible

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

What I love about Proverbs 22:6 is the obvious impact parents have on their children and their futures. Though this is not a promise of salvation for every child trained up in the ways of the Lord, the proverb highlights a parent’s opportunity and calling to faithfully teach the gospel to their little ones. The Hebrew word for “train up” is chanak, translated as “to train, to dedicate, to inaugurate”. The word appears other times in the Bible, and each time it is associated with a house being dedicated to God—either a man’s (Deuteronomy 20:5) or God’s (1 King 8:63, 2 Chronicles 7:5). In the process of training our children, we are thus reminded to entrust them to God even as we train them. The action of “dedication” should both liberate and strengthen us to persevere faithfully in training the children entrusted to our care by God.

As parents, we have been given the greatest manual on how to train our children—the Bible. And just as parents are learning it through various, helpful ways, I believe our children should, too. Fun music and engaging stories are some of the most popular and beneficial means for young children to know and internalize God’s Word. My husband and I have four children (ages 6 through 12), bookshelves filled with colorful Bible books and stories, and a new CD for children with every occasion we get. Recently, we’ve discovered new children’s books, Where You Go I want To Know, God’s Very Good Idea (Tales That Tell the Truth), and a fantastic podcast just for kids, Gospel Centered Family (the podcast features a father-daughter interaction, and the narration of the Bible is beautiful).

In addition to all of these resources, my husband and I have also began to introduce simple Bible Studies—a Bible, a notebook, and a pen. On this note, check out my blogpost on how to do a Bible Study with pre-teens: Practical Guide for Moms Teaching Kids the Bible at Home.

As of recent, we have been teaching our children how to pray through the Bible. With the exception of the youngest child who is still learning to read, all three of our girls have been growing in their practice of praying the Bible. (Donald Whitney has written a fantastic resource called “Praying the Bible”).

Here is a practical guide to get the children started on praying the Bible:

  1. Give them a Bible, a notebook, markers, and a pen. This past Christmas, we ordered each of our children a personalized Bible with their name (via We also ordered them each a tote with their initials, a box of markers, and a few pens.
  2. Institute a specific routine in the Word. We decided on 20 minutes in the morning. I am still reminding them to do their Bible time. And to brush their teeth. And to clean their rooms…Some habits just need constant reminder. The time in the Bible is one of them.
  3. Choose the passage you want them to pray through. We chose the Psalms.
  4. First, have them read the passage. One Psalm per day has been working great for us.
  5. Second, have them mark the verses you want them to pray through. I suggest about two verses from their passage—starting small until they master the prayers. The Psalms are rich in easy to understand verses.
  6. Third, have them write their prayer in their notebooks. Encourage your children to use the vocabulary from the verses at hand. Depending on their age, they will most likely stick close to the verses. And that’s exactly what praying the Bible is: using God’s Word to pray to God Himself. For the little ones, I encourage them to look for what the text says about who God is. The Psalms are filled with God’s attributes and characteristics. As I choose the verses I want them to pray, I have the little ones in mind, also.
  7. Join them in doing it yourself also, especially in the beginning. Offer help and watch for the ones who may struggle the most.
  8. Lastly, encourage everyone to share their written prayer. Some children may choose to keep it private, but the ones who share will certainly be lifting everyone up.
  9. Pray for the children as they are learning to pray.
  10. Do it again the next day!

When we first began, the children struggled—as I expected them to. Of course, it will be hard. Of course, there will be words and concepts they will not (yet) understand. While I can explain some words and concepts, I encourage them to mostly find what they understand from the text. I orient them on the descriptions of God, and His mercy and grace towards sinful people.

Teaching the children to pray the Bible has been one of my most favorite Bible times together. In just 20 minutes, they read, wrote, prayed, and listened to God’s Word again and again. Their eyes, hands, mouths, ears, and minds were exercised in the storing of God’s words. They may be young, but I believe they are just as capable of learning the Bible through just as various ways as any parent can. The path of prayer is one I pray all my children will choose to walk even when old.

My 8 year-old’s first prayer.
A 10 year-old’s prayer.