Pray for Young Children

Mother holding hands and praying with baby seated in high chair
Ron Nickel Photography

When you pray, you get to talk with God, but did you know that you are also modeling prayer to young children? They watch what you do. When you pray for them, you give them a gift. Here are ways that other parents have prayed for their infants, toddlers and preschoolers:  

Prayers for Little Ears to Hear

When my son was only a few months old, I realized that I needed to model prayer for him; my silent prayers throughout the day weren't going to be enough.

So I began praying aloud. Even when my son was too young to understand, I took his little hand and prayed over our meals, thanking God for His provision and blessings. I enjoyed these sweet times but couldn't help wondering, Is he really learning anything?

When my son was about a year old, I got my answer. We sat down for lunch, and he held his hand out to me with a single word — "Pray." My heart soared as I realized that, even at a young age, he was learning to talk with God as part of his daily routine.

Our family has grown, but prayer is still a vital part of each day. We thank God for blessings, pray for strangers when we see ambulances, ask for help when problems arise and pray for Daddy's safety at work.

—Crystal Brothers

The Gift of Prayer

Don't wait for a crisis to pray for your children. You have an opportunity to give them a gift beyond compare by taking their current and future needs to God.

Pray they will…

  • Enjoy their God-given life.
  • Learn and grow.
  • Have God's wisdom to handle life's challenges.
  • Pursue a personal relationship with Christ.
  • Learn from their mistakes.

Pray that…

  • God will be their guide.
  • God will help them love who He has created them to be.
  • God's glory will permeate their lives.

Pray for their future…

  • Spouse.
  • Teachers.
  • Friends.
  • Bosses.
  • Safety.

—Lee Smedly

Pray for Your Kids

I was touched, almost stunned. We sat on a train — Dad, my wife and I — ready to travel from our house in the northwest suburbs down to Chicago for the day. The incident occurred a few months before my wife, Angela, became pregnant, but we had been quietly thinking of starting a family.

Dad began talking to Angela. I was reading a book but caught snippets of their conversation. "You were exactly the girl I prayed Daniel would marry.…"

I put down my book and looked over at Dad. I had never heard him say this before. I knew he loved and admired Angela, but this was new information. Dad began to share his personal prayer journey. He had started making requests to the Lord — for me — before I was even born.

In the past, I'd heard parents talk about praying for their kids like this, but each time I thought, What good does it do when the child is still in the womb, swimming in amniotic fluid? I understood the usual prayer that accompanies childbirth: the health of mother and baby. To me, anything beyond that seemed over-the-top. But since that day on the train, Dad's words have lingered in my heart. His words made me realize that the life I now live is largely a result of Dad's quiet faith.

My daughter, Grace, is only 1 year old, yet I've begun to see the wisdom of Dad's prayer principle. So often I find myself getting caught in the tangle of the everyday that I lose perspective. Prayer settles me down and brings me back to my purpose as a parent. I'm passing the torch of faith to my daughter.

Now I know that many of my father's earnest prayer sessions were not for his own welfare but heartfelt entreaties sent to the heavenly Father just for me. Can a son ask for anything more? And so I want Grace to have the same story and continue the generational journey with God. That's why I pray for her — early and often.

—Daniel Michael Darling

"Prayers for Little Ears to Hear" first appeared in the October/November 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. "The Gift of Prayer" first appeared in Focus on Your Child Early Stages, December 2006. "Pray for Your Kids" was originally called "Parents Like Us" and first appeared in Focus on Your Child Early Stages, June 2006. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

"Pray for Young Children," the compiled article, was first posted on in 2016. "Prayers for Little Ears to Hear" © 2012 by Crystal Brothers. "The Gift of Prayer" © 2006 by Lee Smedly. "Pray for Your Kids" © 2006 by Daniel Michael Darling. Used by permission.

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