How To Have An ACTIVE Family Prayer Time

Before you begin:

  • This guide is based on the concept of ACTIVE prayer in the book Extreme Prayer, by Greg Pruett.
  • Prayer with children is much more active (no pun intended) than with adults. It often involves wiggles, movement, and enthusiasm. Be open to this, especially when it’s included as part of a prayer activity.
  • This guide is written with elementary-aged children in mind. Feel free to shorten and simplify for pre-school children and to deepen and intensify for older ones. (Suggestions for teens and older children are included in several places below.)
  • The guide is divided into six sections, one for each letter in the word ACTIVE. All six sections can be covered in one extended prayer time, or they can be done one per day. Choose a schedule and rhythm that works well for your family.
  • Each section includes “Let’s Do It Again” ideas for variations and additional family prayer times.
  • You’ll need the following items to aid in your prayer time: paper, pencils, highlighter, notecards, M&M’s (classic colors) or a box of crayons.

Adoration: Worshiping God for who He is

Move while worshiping God through Psalm 150. Add sound effect if this helps lead your family to worship.

Psalm 150
Praise God in His sanctuary. (clap your hands)
Praise Him in His mighty heavens. (point to the sky)
Praise Him in His acts of power. (make muscles)
Praise Him in His surpassing greatness. (bow down)
Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet. (pretend to play trumpet)
Praise Him with the harp. (pretend to play harp)
Praise Him with dancing. (dance)
Praise Him with the strings and pipe. (pretend to play a guitar or flute)
Praise Him with the clash of cymbals. (pretend to play cymbals)
Praise Him with resounding cymbals. (walk in a circle while playing cymbals then sit down)
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! (take three deep breaths to end on a quieter note)

Let’s Do It Again: This activity could be repeated with many different psalms. For older children, consider turning on instrumental music or ocean sounds while you take turns reading the phrases from the psalm in “reader’s theater” style.

Confession: Admitting and repenting of our sin

Children are often much better at confession than adults because they are willing to admit their struggles more readily.Give each child a piece of paper. Ask them to make a list or draw an example of their sin. Allow about three minutes for this.Keep the atmosphere more serious by staying quiet. At the end of the three minutes, talk about what each child wrote/drew. Then read 1 John 1:9. Say, “Jesus is faithful to forgive,” as you rip up the paper and throw it away.

Let’s Do It Again:

  • This activity is very fun to do with disappearing ink.
  • Another simple idea is to have the children write their sins in pencil. Then cover them completely with a black sharpie.
  • If you have older children, you could use the paper as kindling for a fire.
  • Go around your family circle and encourage each person to share their sin; others who also struggle in that area can raise their hands to say, “I struggle, too.”

Thanksgiving: Lifting up our gratitude for what God has done

Have a bowl of M&Ms or other colorful candy. Each person takes one M&M and says, “Thank you God for…” — finishing the sentence by naming someone or something from the category that matches the candy’s color (listed below). Then the thankful child can eat the piece of candy. Continue until you run out or decide everyone has had enough candy!
Use the following color guide:

    • Red: something you love
    • Yellow: family member or friend
    • Green: something in God’s creation
    • Blue: favorite toy or pet (younger kids) or a favorite name of God (older kids)
    • Orange: something about work or school
    • Brown: something challenging (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Let’s Do It Again:

    • This activity can be done with crayons or other items instead of M&Ms.
    • Make a chart with the categories listed above and see how many “thanksgivings” your family can list in each category.
    • Take the activity outside and do it with sidewalk chalk.
    • Older children can create a Random Picker Wheel using these or other categories, then each person can spin the wheel to determine which “thanksgiving” to share. You can find an example of a Random Picker Wheel here.

Intercession/Supplication: Praying for ourselves and others

Take time to pray about some of your family’s daily needs or the needs of those close to you.

Explain that during this part of your family prayer time, you will say a family member’s name and anyone who wants can say a “popcorn” prayer for that person. Begin by naming someone in your family; allow time for others to pray. For younger children, prompt them to pray things like, “Help Jane to be loving and kind.” When it is quiet, say another family member’s name. Feel free to name a family or friend not present who you know needs prayer. When each family member has been prayed for, close the prayer time by saying, “And the whole family says, … Amen!” (Loud voices are great for amen’s!)

Let’s Do It Again:

    • Pray through a church prayer list or a list of requests from a specific missionary or field.
    • Pray through the Lord’s prayer, stopping after each phrase to ask God for specific things in your life that apply to each section.
    • If your children are older, you might want to circle around and lay hands on the person who is being prayed for.

Vanquishing Satan: Practicing regular spiritual warfare

Have a parent read Ephesians 6:13-18. Pause after each piece of armor and repeat this simple prayer together: “God help me put on __________ today.” For younger children, as they say the prayer, have them pretend to put on that piece of armor.

Let’s Do It Again:

    • Invite the Holy Spirit to show each child an area of struggle and do a binding/loosing prayer with your children. For example, if the child is afraid, you could pray, “In the name of Jesus we bind fear, and we loose peace.” If you don’t know what to loose, choose a fruit of the spirit. If this is an area of continual struggle, choose a Scripture verse to memorize or put on a note card.
    • Use the Lord’s prayer to pray, “Lord, deliver us from evil,” while praying for spiritual protection.

Extreme Prayer: Maximizing all the prayer promises of Jesus

Introduce the concept of Extreme Prayer to your family.

    • Ask what the word “extreme” means.
    • Guide the discussion so that everyone can understand that something is “extreme” when it has reached its highest point (like extreme heat) or greatest potential.
    • Extreme prayer = prayer that intentionally taps into Jesus’ promises about prayer.
    • What did Jesus promise? Read and discuss Jesus’ promises in John 14:13.
    • Emphasize that we are practicing “extreme prayer” when we pray in Jesus’ name that God would use our lives to connect the Word of God to the souls of people.

Offer your children some extreme prayer requests for Pioneer Bible Translators’ ministry. You can find many from which to choose here:

    • Pioneer Bible Translators’ Daily Prayer Guide (If you don’t already receive this weekly prayer resource, you can sign up via the form at the bottom of the page.).
    • Thursday Prayer Focus posts on the Pioneer Bible Translators blog (
    • The Strategic Prayer section at
    • Missionary newsletters you receive.

Give your children three minutes to look through the prayer requests you have chosen to offer. Allow each child to pick a request to highlight and then write it on a notecard. (It’s fun to see what will connect with their hearts.) Go around your family circle and have each person share why he or she chose that request. Then pray for each request that was chosen. Afterwards challenge your children to put their notecards by their beds and pray for the request each night. If your children are too young to do this activity, you can choose a request, write it on a card, and post it by your dinner table. Pray for the request on the card every night at dinner time. (Kids are faithful prayer warriors; they rarely forget!)

Let’s Do It Again:

    • If your child’s extreme prayer focuses on a specific people group or project, print a map or picture from this group to put with the notecard.
    • See if there is a video that might help connect your child’s heart to his or her extreme prayer request. (For example, if your child chose to pray for Pioneer Bible’s Deaf Ministries, you can watch an ASL video off YouTube.)
    • Choose a yearly “Extreme 3” to pray over as a family. Post these in a common family space, and pray daily for them at a consistent time.

The principles of ACTIVE prayer offered here are inspired by the book Extreme Prayer: The Impossible Prayers God Promises to Answer, by Greg Pruett (Tyndale, 2014).
Holy Bible, New International Version ® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Photo by Josue Michel on Unsplash

Jennifer Humiston
Jennifer Humiston has a special heart for the children in global worker families. She serves on the Care Team as our coordinator of children’s services for our Third Culture Kids. Whether online or in person, she loves listening to and laughing with TCKs. She and her husband Jeremy are the parents of four active teens. If she has spare time, she loves to bake, grow things, and host parties.
See All Posts by Jennifer Humiston

Related Content

Make an Impact by Praying Now