Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful. (CEV) Colossians 4:2
When I was growing up, my family would recite the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) together before evening meals. Jesus taught his disciples this model prayer as a guide for how to pray. What are the parts of the Lord’s Prayer, and what ideas and questions from it can we share with our children?
Adoration: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
Jesus identifies God as our Father, so ask your children, “What does it mean that we are God’s children?” Next, notice the prayer starts with worship, not a list of requests. Check out Psalm 103 where David says, “With all my heart I praise the Lord, and with all that I am I praise his holy name! With all my heart I praise the Lord! I will never forget how kind he has been.” Ask your children, “What has God done for you that makes you want to praise him?”
After worship, we ask God to consecrate (set apart) all things, and we tell God that what we have is now all for him—heart, soul, mind, family, money… all things. We surrender our priorities and give God’s purposes priority in our lives. Ask your children, “Why do you think God uses people like you and me to do his work on the earth?”
Supplication is when we tell God what we need. Ask your children, “What do you need so that you can do God’s work?” Just like David, we rely on God. “I look to the hills! Where will I find help? It will come from the Lord, who created the heavens and the earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2). God has greater knowledge and perspective than we do, so we look to him to provide what we actually need. Ask, “Just because we pray for something does that mean that we should always get it?”
In Nehemiah 1:3-11, Nehemiah is an example of an intercessor. In his prayer, he identifies the sins that he and his people committed against God, asking for forgiveness. He ends by saying, “Lord, please answer my prayer and the prayer of your other servants who gladly honor your name” (Nehemiah 1:11a). Jesus is our intercessor, and we too pray for others (2 Corinthians 5:19-20). Ask your children, “What do you need to ask God to forgive?”; “Who do you need to forgive?”; and “Who are the people that you should pray for?”
The “Armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6:10-20 starts with “let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong.” Satan is real. Everyday, we ask God to protect us so that we can stand up against Satan’s attacks. Ask your children, “When do you need God’s help to fight sin?” and “Who else needs God’s protection?”
Pray through these five parts using this prayer Jesus taught, or create your own prayer as a family. Recite this prayer often together and make it a spiritual practice that your children can take into adulthood.
Explore the why, when, and how to pray with your family. Check out Kids Corner's Faith Practices for Families: Prayer eBook.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article: Family Blessings from the Lord's Prayer