I love prayer time with students. I love the honest, raw, simple prayers young hearts pour out. Concerns for their puppy or gratitude for a new toy, they have so much they want to share. What an amazing opportunity to be able to teach the youngest believers that their hearts matter to God.
Modeling a healthy prayer life is one of the greatest gifts we can give children. So often prayer is something we as adults often shy away from demonstrating because we don’t feel like we are “good” at it. Yet it is such an instrumental part of a rich relationship with God. A reminder for grown-ups: Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated, dripping in theology, or perfect with eloquent words. Prayer is simply a conversation with your Creator – speaking to God and allowing the space in your heart and mind for him to speak to you.
Building our relationship with God through prayer is something we can teach from the beginning with our children. Lifting our voices to God creates an intimacy and connection to our loving Father that young eyes and ears can mimic and eventually begin to do themselves.
Here are three truths you can introduce through prayer; it’s never too early to begin planting these seeds.
God created each of us with the intention of having a relationship with us. We are all so important to him! This is a truth you can share with the youngest hearts to help them understand how much it delights God when we talk to him. And not just when we need something… God loves to hear from us when we’re happy, excited, thankful, sad, disappointed, anxious, or afraid. The basis of any healthy relationship is good communication, and this is the same for our relationship with God. Kids understand relationships. They all have relationships with their parents, family members, and friends. Teaching children that God is someone who loves us and wants to have a relationship with us is such an important piece of a firm foundation for faith.
One of my favorite conversations starters with kids is, “Did you know there is NOWHERE you can be where God won’t see you or hear you?” Kids love to try to outsmart the question: “What if I fell out of a rocket and was lost in space?” “What if I was lost on a pirate ship in the middle of the ocean?” Let them have fun with the question! What an awesome opportunity to engage their brains and help firmly root that amazing truth that they will never be left alone. David asks the question, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7), and he follows with the answer, “You are there,” to every place he feels he may not be able to be seen by God. God is everywhere all at once. You will never be out of his reach.
This is a tough one, but so important in a healthy relationship with our good and loving Creator. God’s sovereignty is so challenging for us to comprehend and trust. But it is such an essential foundation of faith. Helping children build a strong prayer life allows the opportunity to teach them that God is sovereign and works all things for his purpose, not ours. Conversations about the attributes of God and his goodness, praising and thanking him for who he is and what he has done, help build a confidence that doesn’t rely on God granting every prayer request the way we feel would be best. Instead, we can help young hearts learn to focus on where we do see God in our lives and thank him for opportunities to grow, learn, and become more like him. This helps kids see beyond their requests and recognize God’s sovereignty and faithfulness.
Next time you have the opportunity, engage the kids in your life or ministry in a conversation about prayer. Remind them how much God loves them and wants to be a part of their daily life. Teach them that God will never leave them and hears each prayer they offer. Encourage them to see the ways that God is good and faithful in their lives. These are just a few ways that you can help young hearts grow in relationship with God and build their faith through prayer.
Our Hearts Alive Children's Curriculum network contains more ideas and advice for children's ministers and leaders! We would love to send you a free sample of our curriculum! Read more and check out our network at the link below.
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