These ideas are gleaned from Teaching Children to Pray certification workshops. Thank you to all the participants who provided such neat ideas about prayer.
Take something simple, such as a walk around the neighborhood or eating a sweet treat, and to teach the children the importance of prayer. Remind your children that prayer can happen anytime, anywhere.
PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES
Prayer Walks are fun and help children think outside of their own space. Take the children for a walk through a local neighborhood. Instruct them to pray for the people in each house they pass. This is good exercise both physically and spiritually. Strengthen the relationship your church has with children’s ministries—invite the whole church to join you!
There are some songs that already exist that are wonderful prayers; however, if you can’t find one you like, then make up the words and a tune yourself! This is a wonderful way to show your love for God and your creativity.
Hold smaller children, touching their hands. Pray for all the things their hands will do during their lives. Hold their feet—pray for all the places they will go, that they will follow God. Hold their ears—pray for all the things they will hear, that they will be pure. Continue praying for the eyes, mouth, forehead, knees, heart . . . cover the child with prayers.
Ask the children to show you their hands. Then explain to them that this can be a constant reminder of whom to pray for. Do this as a group several times over a few weeks so that the children will remember the prayer.
• Thumb—pray for those closest to you
• Index—pray for those who point you in the right direction
• Third—pray for our leaders
• Fourth—pray for those who are weak
• Smallest—pray for yourself
Teach the children the importance of thanking God for His many blessings. A great place to start is saying grace before a meal. Since some children may not learn this at home, don’t hesitate to teach them while they are in your care. This can be a real witness to the parents.
PRAYERS FOR CHILDREN KINDERGARTEN AND UP
This is similar to the prayer walk, but the children draw their neighborhood or perhaps their house or school in map form. They can identify the people that live or work in each room. When they are done, they can take their map home and pray for the people each day following their map.
Use colored candies to remind children of important things to pray for:
• Blue or purple—thank God for being the king of my life.
• Brown or black—ask God to forgive my sins.
• Red—thank God for the forgiveness He gives for my sins.
• Green—thank God that He is changing my life and helping me grow.
• Yellow—thank God for heaven.
• Pink—tell God I want to follow Him.
Bouncy Ball Prayers
You can apply the same principle as the sweet prayers; purchase inexpensive bouncy balls at a dollar store and have the colors represent different types of prayer. When you bounce the ball to the child—whatever color they catch is the prayer they pray. Let them take the balls home to remind them of the importance of praying.
Another application—bounce the ball up front and talk to the children about God’s presence in our lives. No matter how far we may fall or what bad things we do, God is there to catch us and lift us up. All we need to do is pray to Him, and He will change our outlook.
Purchase inexpensive notebooks, one for each child. Give them glitter paint and colorful stickers so they can decorate the front of each book. Then encourage the child to write a prayer each day in their book. Prayer journaling is a wonderful, lifechanging habit. If the child is too young to write, let them draw pictures that remind them what to pray for. If they can’t talk yet, encourage the parents to write their own prayers for their child. This will become a cherished keepsake in years to come.
Provide magazines and newspapers that the children can cut up. Ask them to make a prayer using pictures or words to represent what they are praying for. When they are done, they can take their “prayers” home and hang them on their wall to remind them to pray every day for their request.
Invite the adults in your church to partner with a child as a prayer partner. Send a note home with each child one week and ask the parent’s permission.
The following week, introduce the concept to your church at large during the children’s story. Have the child and adult exchange pictures and send each other encouraging notes. They will build a unique relationship as they pray for and with each other. This is a precious activity that will bond the young and old in your church.
Purchase a small bottle of perfumed lotion and put a little in each child’s hand. Then you can either talk with them about how our prayers are sweet incense to God—just as we enjoy nice-smelling lotion that makes our hands smell good and keeps them from being dry, God enjoys our prayers.
Another application is to go to each child and put a little lotion on their hands. As you gently massage the lotion in, pray a special prayer just for them.
Bring silk flower petals or autumn leaves to class. Let the kids write prayer requests or names of people they want to pray for on the leaves or petals. You can then use them on a bulletin board or glue them to a tree branch in your classroom. This serves as a prayer reminder and a room decoration.
TEXT MESSAGE PRAYER CHAINS—WHEN APPLICABLE
If your children are old enough to have phones and text each other, you should be texting them too. Encourage them to text each other when they have prayer requests, or take requests in class and then text all the kids during the coming week. This is a wonderful way to connect with your older kids.
Get to your room early each week and sit in the chairs your children will occupy. Pray for them by name. Pray for any visitors that may arrive. This activity will draw you to even the most unlovely child—it is impossible to pray for someone without changing your heart