Back in September I wrote a post on Prayer with a few opportunities to engage in prayer as well as asking the question, what is your battle plan for prayer? I would love to hear your thoughts on that! If you have not read the post, you can do so here.
In this post, I would like to highlight some more ideas and resources for engaging kids in prayer! If you have not already done so, you can also watch the 10 Minute Training (2 parts) where I shared some thoughts!
Part 1 is focused on the sunday school setting.
Part 2 is focused on the home for families.
We are currently in the midst of the season of Lent and one aspect of this season is the opportunity to engage or deepen our lives of prayer. So this is a great time to begin or bring new ideas into your prayer life with kids.
I am going to list a few additional prayer ideas that I did not cover in the videos above. All the links/ideas I shared in the video will be listed at the end of this post.
If you are leading a sunday school class I encourage you to develop a routine/plan for prayer. There are all kinds of ideas and ways you could do this but here is a simple outline that I believe could be incorporated into any class regardless of the structure or curriculum that is utilised.
Opening/Welcoming Prayer: Prayed at the beginning of the class time, when you have gathered everyone. It could be a simple prayer such as, “Lord, we are grateful we are here together today and want to acknowledge that you are present with us.”
Prayer Before the Bible Story: A short prayer before you dig into God’s Word. I like to encourage kids, particularly younger kids to take the posture of hands palm up as if they are receiving something as a way to gesture openness to learning. A simple prayer such as, “God may you give us open ears to hear from your Word today. Help us to receive the gift you want to give us.”
Prayers of Thanksgiving: I believe it is important to always have a time of giving thanks to God. If you have a snack time during your class I have found this to be a good time to have conversation around thankfulness. It is also helpful to record these in a book! I suggest asking kids the question, ‘What are you thankful to God for this week?’
Prayer Requests: Similar to above it is important to give kids an opportunity to share the things they would like to pray about. Again, if you have snack time, I have found this to be a good time to have this conversation. My suggestion is to begin with the thankfulness section and then move to the requests. And again, record requests in a book so you can follow up with kids on how God responded to prayers!
Prayer Response: Include an opportunity after the Bible story or teaching time for kids to creatively respond in prayer. Check out this website for lots of creative ideas!
Listening Prayer: It is important for kids to learn that prayer is not just about us speaking to God, but about learning to listen to God’s voice too. Previously I wrote a review of a book called Eyes That See & Ears that Hear (you can read it here) that is one helpful resource both in a sunday school setting and also for parents to use at home. I also have highlighted another resource called Playtime With Jesus that you can read here. There is a booklet as well as a colouring book that I think is a great way to engage kids in the practise of listening prayer. This particular resource is great with younger kids especially! I personally have used it in a sunday school class with kids as young as 3-5 years old.
Blessing Prayer: It is important to include a prayer of blessing over each child at the end of the class or as they are being picked up by parents. This short prayer could be a sentence prayer based on the theme of the day or even praying a Scripture blessing such as Numbers 6:24-26. And this is a prayer I suggest saying individually for each child by name, while you are eye level with them. It is a powerful way to send a child off.
I believe every Sunday school class should include the Opening Prayer, Prayer before the bible story, thanksgiving and requests prayers and either a prayer response activity or a time of listening prayer and the blessing prayer. Reading this might sound like a lot but it actually is a very simple structure to put in place and I am confidant that even if children do not remember all the specifics of a lesson or bible story they will remember this routine of prayer!
Other suggestions/ideas in the sunday school setting or even for families is to stop whatever is happening and pray if a child shares a concern or something happens or to give thanks. Teaching kids to immediately turn to God in everything is one of the most important lessons you can communicate! For example, if a child shares about a sick or hurting family member in the midst of conversation, stop and pray for that person. If a child comes into class excited about something that has happened, immediately give a short prayer of thanks to God.
Similarly, I think families would benefit from developing a routine of prayer and also engaging some practises of prayer responses, or as I share in the 10 Minute Training “prayer prompts”. I am not going to suggest a particular routine like I did for the sunday school class setting because every family is unique and there are so many different ways this routine could be developed in a way that is best for a particular family. The important thing is to spend some time developing an intentional routine of daily prayer!
I highly recommend checking out this page for some great free resources for learning a variety of different ways to pray with and for your kids!
One more idea I will share that could be utilised both within the sunday school setting or within families is a prayer walk. You can check out this idea and this idea. Check out an idea for prayer walks in your home here and here.
There are so many ideas for engaging kids in prayer and developing a lifelong habit of a deep, prayerful life! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas too. Comment below or email me!
You can also visit our Pinterest board for more ideas!
Suggestions posted on the 10 Minute Training videos: