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Making Room for Kids

(published in the Christian Educator  magazine)

Jesus said, “My house will be called an house of prayer…” Making room for kids in His house of prayer is not only possible, but there is a simple plan your church can follow.

Step One: Make room by changing the way you pray. There is a dynamic that comes when children pray in earnest with simple faith…and simple words. Kids’ prayers will not be long, but direct and to the point unless they are intercessors. Kids say they are intimidated at times by long, boring prayers and the sounds of “cattle lowing in the prayer barn.” They don’t need all the verbiage nor the noise to touch Jesus. So to make room, begin praying out loud in simple sentences to address specific needs. Learn to become comfortable praying one at a time in corporate settings. Kids will have an easier time participating and fitting in if they don’t have to compete with adults who “know how to touch God.” As you make these changes, kids will notice and respond with a little training and encouragement.

Step Two: Make room by making time for them. For those wanting to start a prayer class, there is a relatively new curriculum available from www.shekinahkids.com or the General Sunday School Division that will assist in teaching kids from grades 3-5 prayer leadership skills and Scripture prayer techniques. The cost for everything needed is only $60. Regardless of the curriculum, the class will require a few key ingredients.

  • Commitment of the mentor to be faithful to the class, even when he is tired, uninspired, and unnoticed.  It is not necessary to be a “prayer warrior” to teach kids to pray. It is going to be important however, that the mentor is also an advocate for the children’s prayer class.
  • Curriculum that works. Ask anyone who has been brave enough to begin teaching kids to pray his number one frustration and it will be finding a good curriculum. What to look for? Something that is low maintenance, high motivation, lively, and FUN! The best we’ve found so far is “The Shekinah Kids Revolution.” Pepper whatever curriculum you use with prayer projects for needs in missions, neighborhoods, and prayer walks, etc.
  • Kids who want to learn to pray. No matter the age grouping or curriculum, only kids who want to learn to pray should be involved. It is a good idea to do a promotion for the class and have students sign up once a year.
  • A sense of adventure and wonder. This is an uncharted area in many of our churches, isn’t it? There is adventure in discovering a curriculum that actually works (or making up a new one). There is a challenge in “reprogramming” adults to think differently about kids prayer (including the mentor). And oh, the satisfaction of seeing results and the excitement of it all when God starts answering their eight-word wonders.

Step Three: Make room by giving kids opportunities to pray. All the teaching in the world and all the training they can handle won’t mean much until they begin to use it. Where could they use what they learn? At home, school, church, class…even the car. One first grader, after only 3 days of training, made up a game of praying for people who passed her van on the road if their car was a certain color. Here are a few good questions to get you started.

  • How can children’s prayer be integrated into every ministry of my church? Praying for offerings, nursery kids and their parents, Sunday school classes, children’s church meetings, altar services and special events.
  • Where can children pray in a group? Playgrounds, shopping malls, police and fire stations, hospitals (outside) and a friend’s house.

In the area of “giving opportunities,” please be aware of something important. According to recent studies, the generation known as “Millenials” (those born after 1982) have a propensity toward involvement and action. After 9-11 this was obvious to many who noticed it was the young kids and teenagers who organized prayer vigils and collected items for victims in their neighborhoods. This same thirst for involvement will go unquenched in the Body unless we begin making room now for kids who can lead in prayer.

Make room…make way. It’s His house and He wants it this way.

 

UPDATE: For those starting or wishing to provide training on kids prayer, please check out our 7 Esssentials of Kid’s Prayer. It’s a great resource with concepts, implementation help, and creative ideas.

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