The Power of Teaching Children to Pray

EMQ » January–March 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 1

Benin: Four young men kneel in prayer as part of a youth drama at church about the importance of prayer. Photo by Heather Pubols. Courtesy of WGA. 

By Candy Marballi

We can all agree children throughout the world are in a battle for their lives. Satan, the master of deception, is devouring them and the question is: what are we doing as a global Church to equip them to face this enemy head-on?

Luke 11 opens with the disciples’ simple request; Lord teach us to pray. Since its first publication in 2014, God has used The Prayer Covenant for Children to share the gospel message and disciple the hearts of children while teaching them to pray. As children experience the power of answered prayer, they are excited, their faith is strengthened, and they want to pray more.

Prayer is foundational and fundamental to establishing a child in their walk with Jesus. It is a mandate to teach children to pray. Psalms 78:3-4 says, “…things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Children need to know the power they possess through prayer, and they need to know their voice counts in the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer nurtures children’s relationship with Jesus and produces faith that will last a lifetime. The more time they spend with Jesus, the more they become like Jesus—full of his grace, love, compassion, and forgiveness. In becoming more like Jesus, they begin to see the world through His eyes and are burdened for those around them.

What is the Prayer Covenant

The Prayer Covenant ( is a simple prayer strategy that has been implemented in 72 nations around the world. It is Scripture based – every line of the prayer is grounded in the Word of God. It is Christ-centered – every line of the prayer is inviting Jesus to do a work of transformation within them and through them. And it nurtures a child’s relationship with the living God.

When we teach children to pray and learn God’s Word, we are equipping them to stand against the devil’s schemes. Just like David who fought Goliath as a boy, children who possess an unshakeable faith in an unshakeable God can face any giant and be victorious. Is it any wonder Jesus said, unless you become like one of these? Please see:

John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

Millions of children around the world are asking God to impart his grace, love, compassion, forgiveness, commitment, dependence in their hearts and minds, and he is responding. Heaven draws near when children pray because they come with a faith that says, “My Abba can do anything!” And because they are asking him for everything he desires to give. He is responding quickly, and their faith is being strengthened.

When children pray, “Fill me with your Holy Spirit,” they do not receive a junior Holy Spirit. When they pray, “Jesus, make me a messenger of your grace, truth, and justice. Use me for your glory and to invite others to follow you,” they are praying the Great Commission. And Jesus himself said, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do…”

Children, like adults, need vision, they need purpose, they need to understand their identity as children of the Most High God. They need to know they have been called for such a time as this. There is a great untapped harvest force Jesus is raising up in these last days all over the world. (See:

Mobilizing Children to Pray for the Great Commission

God is using The Prayer Covenant to facilitate a movement of prayer and evangelism among children and youth worldwide. As children embark on this prayer journey, they are experiencing God in powerful ways. They are learning how to obey him and respond to the promptings of his Holy Spirit.

In 2021 The Prayer Covenant partnered with Go Movement (, to launch Last Quarter Evangelism[i] on the African continent. Millions of children throughout Africa joined in prayer, and in 2021, one million people made decisions for Jesus Christ. These children are now praying for 31 frontier groups to know Jesus. They are also being mobilized to go and share because prayer births evangelism. (See:

In Psalm 8:2 we read, “Through the praise of children and infants, you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger!” In Psalm 2:8 we read, “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” God is using the prayers and testimonies of the children to win the nations for the Lamb.

Why do children make effective evangelists? They’re relational. They’re courageous. They’re joy-filled, grace-filled messengers. Our heart’s desire is to see every denomination inviting the children and youth to be part of the end-times harvest force for Jesus. If we are to rely only on the adults it will take many lifetimes – the sad reality is that only a few percent of adults in the church pews are actively sharing their faith or feel compelled to make disciples.

When we equip and empower kids to be part of the evangelistic outreaches many things happen. They understand their purpose and identity as Christ followers. The joy that comes from serving captures their hearts. And they fall more and more in love with Jesus. The result is sticky faith – a lifetime of following Jesus.

Joining Hands with Children

The mission of The Prayer Covenant is leading children and adults to follow Jesus. As we are equipping children with this tool, God is miraculously working in and through them in powerful ways. We have reached over eight million children in 71 countries worldwide – eight million children following Jesus together. Eight million children learning to hear and obey his voice!

The Prayer Covenant is not just about establishing a lifestyle of prayer, but about raising life-long disciples of Jesus Christ. It is not just a prayer to pray for the sake of praying, it is an active prayer, seeking results in our lives. 

For decades we have seen children simply as objects of mission, but God has called them for a greater purpose. God is birthing movements in some of the most populated nations in the world –in part because God’s praise is coming from the mouths of children and silencing the enemies.

So, let’s join hands with the children. God is calling the generations, denominations, and movements to come and work together in unity with one goal – that everyone on earth hears the Gospel within the next decade, and every believer – young and old – can be a witness for Jesus Christ.

Candy Marballi ( is an author and speaker and serves as president and CEO of The Prayer Covenant whose mission is making disciples among the children and youth of the nations. She has served in children’s ministries for over 30 years in the United States, Japan, and the Philippines. She is married to Vik, and they have two adult children.


[i] Africa’s Last Quarter Evangelism. November 10, 2021.

EMQ, Volume 59, Issue 1. Copyright © 2023 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus. Email: