How to teach prayers before meals for kids and more

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A little girl praying with her hands folded together. Her hands resting on a brown leather bible, her eyes are closed and she is sitting at a table.

Prayer before meals with kids is a great place to begin teaching your kids to pray. Mealtimes are part of the natural rhythm of a child’s day. Therefore, these moments give us the perfect opportunity to build life-changing habits and reinforce a lifestyle of faith in God.

For instance, my three-year-old now begs to pray at meals, which greatly blesses my heart. She frequently startles everyone as she begins her prayers rather loudly with “Dear Heavenly Father…and Jesus says AMEN.” I haven’t the heart to correct her ending. I know she means in Jesus’ Name. Likewise, my 18-month-old will briefly fold her hands together. She’s learning the posture. She is participating in prayer before she can even utter a plea.

Although we don’t always use rhymes to pray with our kids, it’s fun and developmentally appropriate for young children. I hope you enjoy the list. It brought back a lot of childhood memories at church camp for me.

Fun Rhyming Prayers, Hymns, Scriptures, and Prayer Statements for Kids

Orange and teal paint splashes on a canvas. With teal and orange decorative diamonds. Curly, black text that reads a prayer before meals for kids.
Simple Prayer Before Meals for Kids

31 Rhyming Prayers: Simple Prayer Before Meals for Kids

Furthermore, here is a list of prayers before meals with kids:

1. God, we thank you for this food, for rest and home and all good things, for wind and rain and the sun above, but most of all for those we love. – Maryleona Frost

2. Dear God, I am thankful for all you give: for food, for love, and a place to live. I thank you for my family too, and I want you to know that I love you. Amen.

3. Give us grateful hearts, O Father, for all thy mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – Book of Common Prayer

4. Our Heavenly Father, kind and good, We thank Thee for our daily food. We thank Thee for thy love and care. Be with us Lord, and hear our prayers. Amen.

5. Father, we give our thanks for food that stays our hunger, for rest that brings us ease, for homes where memories linger. We give our thanks for these. Amen.

6. God our Father, Lord, and Savior. Thank you for your love and favor. Bless this food and drink we pray and all who share with us today. Amen.

7. We thank you, God, for the world so sweet. We thank you, God, for the food we eat. We thank you, God, for the birds that sing. We thank you, God, for everything.

8. To God who gives me food each day, and shows his love in every way, in all the things I say and do, I’ll try to show my love for you.

9. Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord! For giving me the things I need; the sun and the rain and the apple seed. The Lord is good to me, Johnny Appleseed!

Various shades of pink splashes on a canvas. With pink and orange decorative diamonds. Curly, black text that reads a prayer before meals for kids.
A simple rhyming prayer

Super Short Prayers for prayer before meals with kids:

10. Bless us, Oh Lord, and thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

11. God is great, God is good; let us thank Him for our food. By His hands, we are all fed, give us Lord our Daily Bread.

12. We thank you, Lord, for the food before us, the shelter around us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Amen.

13. Our hands we fold, our heads we bow, for food and drink, we thank God now.

14. Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let this food to us be blessed. Amen.

15. Thank you, God, for our food so good. Help us do the things we should. Amen.

16. For all food yummy, that fills my tummy. Thank you, God! Amen.

17. Good food, good meat, good God. Let’s eat. Amen.

18. Dear Lord, bless this bunch as we munch on our lunch. Amen.

19. ABCDEFG Thank you, God for feeding me. Amen.

Blue and green paint splashes on a canvas. With a blue and a green decorative diamond. Curly, black text that reads a prayer before meals for kids.
Short and sweet prayer

Rhyming Prayers set to the beat of a nursery rhyme:

20. Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat, thank you for the birds that sing, thank you, God, for everything! Amen. (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

21. Thank you God, for food and prayer, teach us how to love and share. Amen. (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

22. I am strong and healthy thank the Lord. I have bread, and room, and board. I have good friends and family. God takes very good care of me. (I’m a Little Teapot)

23. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord. For all the food we eat. And it’s so very nice of you. To make some of it sweet. (Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

24. Bless, bless, bless this food, bless all present here. And help us now to spread your love to people far and near. (Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

25. Bread and jam, bread and jam. I am grateful, yes I am. I thank you kindly for the food I eat. I thank you for this lovely treat! (This Old Man)

26. God is great and God is good, God is good, God is good, Let us thank Him for this food, Alleluia. (London bridge)

27. Thank you, God, for our food, for our food, for our food, Thank you God for our Food. Thank you, God, Amen (Mary had a Little Lamb)

28. We are thankful, we are thankful, for our food, for our food. And our many blessings, and our many blessings, we thank you, we thank you. (Are you Sleeping)

Orange, pink, ad blue paint splashes on a canvas with an outline of a teapot in the upper right corner. With light pink and orange decorative diamonds. Curly, black text that reads a prayer before meals for kids.
To the Tune of I’m a Little Teapot

More Fun Tunes for prayer before meals with kids:

29. Thank thee, thank thee, Heavenly Father for thy blessings, as we gather, give us peace and understanding bless us all, O Lord. (We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder)

30. Thank you, Lord, for giving us food, thank you, Lord, for giving us food, Thank you, Lord, for giving us food, for the food we eat, for the friends we meet, thank you, Lord, for giving us food! Thank you, Lord, for giving us food. (Superman theme song)

31. Bless our friends, bless our food. Come, O Lord and be with us. May our talk glow with peace. Come with your love to surround us. Friendship and love, may they bloom and grow. Bloom and grow forever. Bless our friends, bless our food, bless all mankind forever. (Edelweiss From The Sound of Music)

Orange, pink, and purple paint splashes on a canvas. With purple and orange decorative diamonds. Curly, black text that reads a prayer before meals for kids.
A simple prayer of thanks

15 Hymns for Praying

Here is a list of Hymns to Pray with your Children:

  1. Have Thine Own Way Lord
  2. God is so Good
  3. I Must Tell Jesus
  4. Give Me Oil in my lamp
  5. I Need Thee Every Hour
  6. I Surrender All
  7. This is the Day
  8. Pass Me Not
  9. What a Friend We Have in Jesus
  10. Cleanse Me
  11. Take My Life and Let it Be
  12. Tell it to Jesus
  13. O How I Love Jesus
  14. Learning on the Everlasting Arms
  15. Just as I am

10 Scriptures to Pray with your Children:

  1. Psalm 4:8
  2. Psalm 23:1
  3. Psalm 27:11
  4. Psalm 36:7
  5. Psalm 86:5
  6. Psalm 121:2
  7. Psalm 145:18
  8. Matthew 6:9-13
  9. Matthew 22:37
  10. Ephesians 5:20

3 Prayer Statements

Here is a list of three prayer statements to relieve pressure for kids when learning to pray:

  1. Thank you God for ____, ______, and _____.
  2. Please Lord help me to _____, _____, and ____.
  3. I praise you Lord for you are _____, _____, and _____.
An image of a brown wooden and steel bench sits in front of a whitewashed brick wall with a white wooden cross hanging on the brick. The words of First Thessalonians 5:16-18 are written over the image in a curly, black font.

What is Prayer?

Prayer is a gift from God.

Most importantly, it’s our opportunity to talk with Him. Teaching prayer before meals for kids helps create a habit of prayer now. So, as kids get older and understand more, they will have a foundation of faith to build on. Kids will understand they can cast all their troubles, fears, and burdens on their Heavenly Father.

Prayer is talking to God.

Furthermore, it’s intentionally spending time with God, praising Him, thanking Him, pleading with Him, lamenting to Him, questioning and expressing our concerns, and praying that His will be done. Prayer pauses the day to take our eyes off ourselves and to look to our Creator, our Heavenly Father.

Prayer is Simple Faith.

Indeed, E.M. Bounds describes prayer as “simple faith.” He states that praying faith asks, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And answers quickly, Speak Lord, thy servant hearth.”

We do not need to have all the answers or have a perfect understanding before we pray with our children. Whereas, if we look to God for guidance, ask for wisdom, and rest on his promises, He will equip us to teach our children to pray.

Where to begin?

You cannot put into your children’s hearts what is not first in your own heart, and it will only get there through an active and purposeful relationship with God.

Clay & Sally Clarkson, The Lifegiving Parent

If you don’t know where to begin, Jesus provides a perfect place to start in Matthew 6:9-13, known as the Lord’s Prayer. To provide a bit of background to this text, Jesus is instructing his disciples on how to pray. He tells them to:

  • go into a private room
  • pray to God (not to man)
  • avoid using vain repetitions like the Pharisees
An image of a brown wooden and steel bench sits in front of a whitewashed brick wall with a white wooden cross hanging on the brick. The words of The Lord's prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 are written over the image in a curly, black font.

Then, Jesus said, “pray then like this:”

The Lord’s Prayer

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[ For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory
for ever and ever. Amen]

Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)

The Lord’s Prayer is an example.

For clarity, Jesus did not recommend that we only pray privately or recite a specific prayer. He was teaching us an example. Praying aloud with people is not wrong, but it should not be the only way we speak to God, and prayer should never be for show or attention. Likewise, we are to instruct our kids by example and pray aloud with them.

Thus, reciting rhyming prayers, scripture, and hymns out loud with your children is not vain repetition. Vain is showy and excessively performing for attention.

Jesus models prayer for us by:

  • praying in reverence with a tone of respect
  • recognizing God’s holiness and His glory
  • praising God and thanking God
  • pleading for God’s will to be done on earth (not our will)
  • asking for our daily needs and provision such as our daily bread
  • asking for forgiveness in the areas that we have sinned
  • asking for strength and our spiritual needs

Prayer is not to be complicated.

Prayer is a gift from God. Most importantly, God speaks to us through His word, the Bible, and we commune with God through prayer. It must be remembered that God doesn’t always answer our prayers as we desire. Therefore, we must trust that God’s response to our prayers is good and of His will.

How do you explain prayer to a child?

Prayer can be explained to a child by telling them prayer is simply talking to God. Furthermore, it is taking a moment to thank God for all our blessings, praise God for the good, grieve with God for the bad, and ask God for our needs and the needs of others.

How to Teach your kids to pray?

There is no perfect formula to teach our kids to pray. But here are four tips for teaching your kids to pray:

  1. Begin praying early
  2. Model praying
  3. Teach praying posture
  4. Sing rhymes, songs, and scripture

1. Begin Praying Early with your babies

Indeed, it is never too early to start praying with and for our babies. Pray out loud for that little one in your tummy or the one being carried by your loved one. Pray while rocking your babies. They are listening. Spontaneously and routinely, pray out loud throughout the day. Our children are watching and listening.

2. Model Praying

Pray out loud in front of your children.

Let them see you pray. Pray over them, with them, while holding them and rocking them to sleep. Pray spontaneously for their needs, concerns, and praises. Because our children are watching us, they will do as we do, not necessarily as they are told.

Pray for your children when they are scared, happy, sad, confused, or burdened.

Teach your children to take their dreams, thoughts, and troubles to God. By all means, our children have burdens. And to them, those burdens are heavy. So, teach them that Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

Pray to give thanks to God.

Praying doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, it can simply be listing all the things you are thankful for, looking for beauty in creation, and telling God all the good things and bad things in your life.

Pray to reflect on your day with God.

Prayer can be a simple reflection of your day. So, teach your children that they can talk to God about anything. He will never ignore them or tell them he doesn’t have time for them.

Praise God for answered prayers with your kids.

When God answers your prayers, even the teeny tiny ones, tell your children about them and take time to praise God in all circumstances because we trust his responses to our prayers, “and we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good.” Romans 8:28a (ESV)

3. Teach Praying Posture

Generally, children are so easily distracted. So, teaching them praying postures such as closing their eyes, bowing their heads, and even clasping their hands together can help them limit distractions. Even if our young children cannot utter a word, they can start by folding their hands together. And this is always a beautiful sight to God and a parent. Also, assuming this posture shows them that this is a reverent moment and it’s time to quiet down and settle in.

4. Sing rhymes, songs, and scripture

Please do not shy away from teaching your children rhymes and songs. Rhymes and songs are fun and help kids learn the language of prayer. Furthermore, teaching kids to pray is still teaching. In fact, a good teacher of young ones would never remove music and rhyme from the classroom. So, don’t remove it when you teach your kids to pray. Rhymes are fun and developmentally appropriate for young children. And, if you were taught them as a child, I bet you still can recite them today at least in part. I’ll go into more in detail further in the article because childhood development is my favorite subject.

A green and gold to-do list of teaching kids to pray. The bullets are light green with the text bold and black.

When to Pray with your kids?

Daily rhythms are good for kids. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the book ends of our day. Mealtimes provide a time when we stop and take a moment to recharge and refuel. Although, there is nothing fancy or righteous about mealtimes. Mealtimes are built-in moments to rest. Therefore, these moments provide the perfect opportunity to teach our kids to pray. Mealtimes are not the only time to pray with our kids. Pray with them in the morning and the evening. And every spontaneous moment that you can. When you feel the Spirit urge you to pray, then pray. Never miss an opportunity to pray with your kids.

Did you know God gave a command to teach your children diligently?

This command is called the Shema. In particular, the Shema was given to the Israelites by Moses before they entered the Promise Land. It was a command for the Jews to diligently teach their children about God and make God part of their lives and their homes. The Shema was a command to worship God only, to love God fully, and to teach their children about God.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind bind them as a sign on your hand, they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)

Are there developmental benefits in praying with your kids?

In short, YES. Unfortunately, I have noticed a trend of removing child-like activities from teaching. From a developmental perspective, this is a trend that will only harm our children’s learning. Children learn better when a lesson includes interesting activities such as songs, rhymes, and games. These activities make an enjoyable environment to learn and remove the pressure of learning and the pressure of expectations.

Research continues to support the use of rhymes, songs, and games to teach a new language to kids.

Therefore, this type of play is essential for a child to grasp a new language. Rhymes and songs are vital for brain development, memory, and concentration. Without storytelling, singing, and rhyming, our children will not be able to engage in learning as a child.

Praying is like learning a new language.

When teaching a child a new language, the key is doing it often; so words are familiar. Our children may not know the meanings of all the words yet. That’s okay. Keep building the language; so the words and phrases become familiar.

Praying is like a song of the soul, lifting up praises to God.

When we pray, kids are paying attention to the pitch, the tone, the volume, and even the rhythms of our words. They hear our respect for God, our enthusiasm for Christ, our serious plea for the lost, and our downtrodden utterances when we struggle. Our children hear our tone. They decipher our cheery praise of all things beautiful, our guttural groan of burdens, our trembling plea of our fears, and our soothing statements of God’s glory and power. Our children hear our pitch. This is the language of prayer.

Are there developmental benefits of adding Music and Songs when teaching kids to pray?

When we don’t know how or what to pray, songs can help us praise God. Songs and music are vital for children’s development. Something happens in the brain when we sing. Interestingly, multiple areas in the brain start firing and working together. Thus, I included a list of hymns at the beginning of this article. I love to add science when I can, especially if that science pertains to development. I can only provide a list of the physical benefits of singing. For to wade into the depths of the spiritual benefits would be too great of a feat for this small article.

Here is a list of some of the physical benefits of singing:

  • strengthens upper body and thoracic muscles
  • improves heart function
  • improves airflow in the lungs
  • counteracts symptoms of cold and flu
  • improves motor control of the vocal system
  • develops effective communication skills
  • increases firing of different areas of the brain
  • reduces stress
  • alleviates emotion

Did you know that rhymes are important in childhood development?

Rhymes and songs draw a child’s interest, spark their imagination, and drive their desire to learn. Children are attracted to the energetic rhythms and repetitions of rhymes. Thus, rhymes are a playful way to learn. Children began associating words within their context and grasping their meanings. It can be hard to teach children if you cannot spark their interest.

Here is a list of the benefits of adding rhyming prayers before meals for kids:

  • develop simple word associations
  • increase exposure to repetitive phrases
  • improve speech development
  • boost word recognition
  • Explore tone and pitch
  • advance cognitive development
  • enhance memory skills
  • improve reading comprehension
  • progress thinking skills
  • expand vocabulary bank
  • increase language proficiency
  • build communication skills
  • increase exposure to new words
  • deepen bonds
  • Spark Imagination
  • Increase creativity

Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.

Mem Fox, Reading Magic (2001)

If you enjoyed this post, please check out How to teach kindness to toddlers and let me know your thoughts.

In conclusion, prayer is a gift from God. Teaching children to pray does not have to be rigid or strict. Most importantly, have fun learning besides your children and growing your faith in God. Like you, I want my kids to know that prayer is a gift. I want my children to build a habit of prayer now so that when they get older and more understanding, they have a foundation to build on. And they know they can cast all their troubles, fears, and burdens on our Heavenly Father. Prayer before meals for kids is a great place to begin to teach your kids the gift of prayer.

Thanks for Stopping By!

Finally, I want to thank you for stopping by and I hope this encourages you to begin praying before meals with your kids. Please say Hi in the comment section. Did you learn any of these rhyming prayers as a child? How do you teach prayer before meals with kids?

– With Great Joy, Katie

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A little girl praying with her hands folded together. Her hands resting on a brown leather bible, her eyes are closed and she is sitting at a table.

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  1. I love the prayers and how you talked about your 3-year-old being excited about praying over her food. This inspired me to start this with my grandkids. I do say prayers at night but often I am in such a rush after getting their meals that I just don’t think about it. Thank you for sharing so many inspirational things that we can do with our kids.

    1. Thank you so much. Goodness me. I have to be intentional to pray with my girls during the day or before I know the day slips away. I completely understand. And my girls and I are learning and growing together. I am so glad this inspired you, and thank you so much for sharing!

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