This monthly column is to help parents, grandparents, and teachers introduce children to spiritual topics in the context of prayer. It includes a prayer for adults, one for children and adults to share, and a short affirmation for children to remember and take with them.

Finding ways to model compassion

Compassion has been described as a characteristic of love and mercy prompted by an understanding heart. It is love in action. And God is love.

I recall that as a child, when someone treated me with kindness and consideration, it felt good! I would smile from ear to ear, and though I was not able to describe it then, I know now that I felt a complete connection with the other person. In other words, I felt loved.

It is the same with our own children. They yearn to be loved and, we can be sure, to show love as well.

What are some ways that we can encourage our children to be more compassionate?

We can think of compassion as a verb. In fact, it can be considered prayer in action. We can teach our children by setting an example. Remember that our kids learn by watching us. They are always paying attention to what we do. So let’s take advantage of that! As you spend time with your child, make a conscious effort to:

  • Offer a smile to a stranger.
  • Ask a friend or family member how they are doing.
  • Offer a hug to someone who is having a challenging day.
  • Say a cheerful hello to everyone you see.
  • Tell someone you love them.
  • Thank the mail carrier for delivering your mail or the restaurant waitstaff for serving your meal.
  • Offer to help a neighbor with their yard work.

What other ways can you think of?

We can also support our children in cultivating compassion by engaging them in conversation about it. A good way to start would be to ask them how they feel when they do something nice for someone. This helps them to affirm their feelings and learn to trust their innate instincts.

We can take the time to encourage this compassionate instinct within our children, as well as within ourselves, by setting time aside each day to look around for a way to help someone and then acting on that one opportunity.

And let’s be open to more than one! After all, every day provides multiple opportunities to demonstrate kindness and compassion and, thus, the chance to be the true embodiment of God that each one of us truly is.

A Prayer for Compassion in All Children

I take a moment now to become still and breathe. Affirming the presence that is God, I open my heart to the eternal peace of God in me, as me. God is love, now and always, and I give thanks for that loving presence, feeling refreshed and renewed in this moment. Knowing I am a beacon of love, I send this loving energy out into my home and community, affirming the Divine in everyone.

A Shared Family Prayer for Compassion

We take a deep breath in and bring a smile to our faces. Closing our eyes, we think of someone we love. Silently we say I love you and imagine those words drifting out from our hearts and peacefully into theirs. We say thank you for this love that is God.

Together we affirm:

Did you know? All children are welcome to pray with Unity Prayer Ministry associates.

Call for Prayer:


Write for Prayer:

Unity Prayer Ministry
1901 NW Blue Parkway
Unity Village, MO 64065

About the Author

Steven Ray is a member of Unity of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where he has served as a Youth of Unity sponsor, prayer chaplain, and coordinator for the pastoral care team. He is currently studying to become a licensed Unity teacher.

Steven Ray


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