“Our Father, who art in Heaven . . .” That little sweet voice. I can remember it like it was yesterday, the first time my daughter prayed the Lord’s Prayer with me. I’m sure most of you remember the first time your child prayed the Lord’s Prayer with you as well. You never forget the sound of the little voice praying next to you.
For most people, the prayer the Lord taught us to pray is probably one of the first things their children memorized with them. Think about it. You probably pray it daily with them, even when they can’t speak. They hear it every Sunday as we corporately pray it together in the Divine Service.
As Lutherans, we hold the Lord’s Prayer in the highest regard. Luther wrote:
The words read, “Our Father, who art in heaven, etc.” Since our Lord is the author of this prayer, it is without a doubt the most sublime, the loftiest, and the most excellent. If he, the good and faithful Teacher, had known a better one, he would surely have taught us that too. (AE 42:21)
What a wonderful way to teach our young ones to pray. In the words of the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for all we need. Because of this, it is important to teach our children the prayer. Below you will find some ideas to help you teach this prayer to your preschoolers at home.
Pray it daily.
At bedtime, in the morning, or at a meal, pray the Lord’s Prayer with your child. Not only does this routine help you with your daily prayer habits, it helps your child to hear the words every day. Even when your child is an infant or a toddler and cannot speak the words, pray the Lord’s Prayer with him or her daily. You’ll be amazed when your child joins you one day.
Say the prayer slower with your child than you do by yourself.
The tempo at which you pray the Lord’s Prayer will be determined by your child’s ability to participate with you, especially in the beginning. I will always remember my daughter saying, “as we [insert audible humming sound because there were too many syllables for her to pronounce at the speed at which we were praying] us.” Slow down a bit for your child. They cannot speak as fast as you can. They are just learning how to make different letter combination sounds. You will probably notice this the most during the Divine Service. But at home, take your time. They will get there! (It is not my place to tell any pastor how to conduct his service. But I would ask any pastors reading this to look out into the congregation. If you see any toddlers, consider slowing down the pace at which you pray the Lord’s Prayer. Parents will thank you for it!)
Use it at a meal.
Okay, okay, I said this already, but I really do mean it. I’m assuming a lot of us pray either extemporaneously or use the traditional “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest” at mealtimes. While both of these practices are good, don’t forget about the daily prayers that Luther left us in the Small Catechism. From time to time, use this prayer with your family as well.
Asking a Blessing
The children and members of the household shall go to the table reverently, fold their hands, and say:
The eyes of all look to You, [O LORD,] and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. (Ps. 145: 15–16)
Then shall be said the Lord’s Prayer and the following:
Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Consider using some helpful resources as you teach.
There are a lot of good resources to help teach your young child the faith. Here are some that are specifically made to help you teach the Lord’s Prayer.
- Follow and Do: The Lord’s Prayer—The Follow and Do series teaches young children about the Six Chief Parts of the Christian faith, combining the teachings in the catechism with practical application for all aspects of daily life.
- The Lord’s Prayer Arch Book—We all love Arch Books! Pick up this Arch Book to read to your preschooler the words the Lord has taught us to pray.
- Sing the Faith CD—Words paired with music are more easily learned and remembered. With Sing the Faith, the words of the Small Catechism are set to original tunes in order to teach and aid memory of these important words.
This is not a comprehensive list, just some thoughts and ideas. What are your ideas? We’d love to hear from you below! God’s blessings as you teach your children the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).Click Here to Download Small Catechism Flash Cards
The quotation from Luther’s Works in this post comes from the American Edition: vol. 42, © 1969 by Augsburg Fortress, used by permission of the publisher. No reproduction is allowed without the express written consent of Augsburg Fortress.
The catechism quotation is from Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, copyright © 1986 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved.