It is a typical Sunday at church. Children enter the room excited to tell you, their teacher, about all that has happened during their week. Eventually, their chatter turns to prayer requests: pray for my knee because I fell; pray for my sick grandma; pray for my friend. Once everyone has had a chance to share, it is time to pray. You smile and ask for a volunteer to pray for the requests. A roomful of children simply stare. All of those children know that we are supposed to bring our requests to God, but they are not sure quite how to do it. One brave child says he will pray and comes to the front. After everyone bows their head, the room is filled with…silence. The child has no idea how to begin.
Has this scenario ever happened in your children’s ministry? If so, you are not alone. We tell kids to pray. We talk about the power of prayer. We take prayer requests, yet we often forget to teach kids how to pray. Instead, we pray for the children, never giving them the opportunity to pray for themselves.
I realize that there is great importance in children seeing us pray. If we want children to pray, then we must model prayer ourselves. However, once children have seen us model prayer, it is time to give them the tools to pray for themselves instead of always praying for them. Let’s teach this generation to call on God with the confidence that He always hears!
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (I John 5:14).
Ideas You Can Use
What is Prayer?
Too often children think of prayer as a list of requests that we present to God, almost as if God was a genie in a bottle waiting to grant our wishes. Instead, make sure children know truths about prayer.
Prayer Object Lesson
Explain to the children that you are going to make a sandwich. You start by putting a piece of bread on the plate. Then you add ingredients. The crazier you can make the sandwich, the better.
No child is ever too young to pray. If they can talk, they can pray! I remember one particular day when my daughter was very young, and I had a headache. My husband and I mentioned that I needed God to heal me.
Prayer stations are simply a way to guide children’s prayers. You provide them with an activity and prayer focus.
Prayer journals are a great tool to give to children to encourage them to pray at home. However, they may be unsure how to write/draw their prayers, even if you give them a journal. Model how to use the prayer journal by having some quiet prayer time at church.
Children often become focused on the needs in their own lives or in the lives of those they know. Consider starting a “Prayer Spotlight” each week or month to help them shift their focus. Here are some ideas to get you started.