Prayer is the multi-faceted way in which we come close to God. As we reach out to him, he reaches out to us.

We make space in our hearts and he fills it...

Prayer can range from a simple arrow prayer for a situation as it unfolds to a long period of silence; from free prayer in our own words to a formal liturgy; from singing praises to confession of all that separates us from God.

Prayer can be expressed through action: standing up against injustice, caring for the marginalised, standing at the foot of the cross with those whose worlds have fallen apart.

Some adults assume that children regard God as a kind of Santa Claus and that their prayers are a shopping list of the things they want God to give them. They may be afraid to allow children to pray freely because of this.

In our experience of listening to children pray this isn't so; the vast majority of children's prayers begin "Dear God, Thank you for..." This is followed by prayers for those less fortunate the hungry, refugees, animals in danger of extinction...

Children learn prayer through experience their own experience of God, and the opportunities we give them. They need to experience the different kinds of prayer: praise, thanksgiving, confession, intercession.

We also need to ensure that they experience not only prayers read out by adults but also silence, prayer with symbols, multi-sensory prayer, ways to pray on their own and the prayer Jesus himself taught us.

Prayer resources

Reflective Space: Setting aside a dedicated space for children to come and be quiet.

Prayer in church: Prayer ideas for all age worship

Prayer in school: Offering opportunites for prayer and reflection to children in school

The Lord's prayer: A child's selection of symbols for each phrase of the Lord's prayer

Prayer Stations: Ideas for prayer stations in all age worship - including Biblical themes, seasonal material and issues such as hunger.

A seasonal focus for prayer: Easter and Pentecost