What is so scary about prayer? Really…nothing. It is simply talking to God, but it seems when we get together to pray out loud, we can be pretty timid about sharing our concerns and desires in the hearing of others. Praying aloud often and about many issues daily, however, seems to take some of the scariness out of prayer, especially for kids.
Recently over a thousand delegates from nearly 90 countries gathered in New York for a conference focused on the best practices in ministry to children ages 4-14 years old. If you are discussing best things to consider when ministering to children, you can’t go wrong involving them in prayer!
Children who came to the conference with their parents gathered each day for four hours to learn more about prayer and, of course, to pray. Some adults were skeptical about children being involved in prayer for such a long time. But we prayed in color, practiced listening to God, discovered “soaking prayer,” interceded for others in “rescue praying” and by praying for children at risk, then learned to pray through a 40-day prayer covenant. Murals were created as children drew pictures and wrote down the things God had placed on their hearts as they waited on Him and prayed.
In that room, prayers were offered up in Polish, Spanish, Korean, Russian and English and nothing seemed scary about it. We all joined in bringing a world full of needs to the God we all loved. And we all went home to our own countries, ready to pray more.
Raising a generation of children who pray is a pretty good idea for any time, but especially in the world in which we are living. Consider these ways to engage your children in prayer:
- Let your children pray their own prayers. As adults, we jump in and pray many times for children, sending an unspoken message that perhaps they don’t pray well enough.
- Stretch your children’s prayer borders. Children are most familiar with their own “selfie” world. Help them see beyond their borders and pray as a family for different community or world issues.
- Train your children to listen to God…not always just talk to God. God’s Word tells us many times to wait, be still and listen. They can ask God, “Show me what to pray about, God,” and listen for what He places in their hearts and minds to pray about.
What have you learned about children and prayer? Share those discoveries with us!