How to Pray

We are starting a unit on prayer this week and are starting out with a discussion on how the Bible tells us to pray. We’ll look at Matthew 6:5-8 to first see how Jesus says not to pray, then look at the Lord’s Prayer and other scriptures to see what we should do instead.

I found a neat little game to get our class time started in a lesson on prayer. I wrote Scripture verses about prayer in white crayon on white index cards and will hide them around the room. However, several cards have pictures or random words on them. The kids can color over the index card with a marker to reveal what is written in white crayon. We’ll use these verses in our discussion, writing our findings up on the white board. Then we will transition into some discussion.

I enjoyed this brief article on some things to emphasize when discussing prayer with older kids, like I will be doing this Sunday. It has some really great thoughts in a concise way of stating them. I’ll definitely be talking about this with my 4th & 5th graders.

Prayer does not come easy for me, and I’m sure it doesn’t come easy for a lot of kids. We live in such a busy world, with so many distractions constantly bombarding us. It’s hard to find peace in such a crazy life. That’s when we need to remember that communication is how we build any relationship, especially our relationship with God. Just like I need to be intentional to stay in touch with friends and calendar time to get together and enjoy each other, we need to be intentional about making time for God. Yes, prayer is something we can do anytime, anywhere, and God wants us to “pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)” but we also need to put forth an effort. God wants to be close to us. God wants to answer our prayers. We have to give him that opportunity.
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Prayer

This week was the 1st Sunday of the month, which for us means switching it up. We take a break from our normal curriculum and format. The kids worship upstairs with their families and take communion with them. The kids sang a song from our upcoming VBS on stage, which the congregation always loves.

So we decided to talk to the kids about prayer.

Chris asked three questions and wrote their answers on the board. One interesting thing that we’ve found is that as long as you ask a lot of questions and keep it very interactive, kids don’t mind sitting still for a lesson for about 20 minutes. You don’t always have to have games and object lessons and videos, though those are all very good and have their place.

Anyway. Chris first asked the kids: Who do you like to talk to? We got lots of answers like friends, family, and a few funny ones like, “Siri” and “myself.” Then we asked the kids What do you like to talk about? We received answers like food, video games, movies, Minecraft, pizza, sports, that sort of thing.

Then we asked the kids What do you talk to God about? And we got a lot more serious answers, like asking for healing, safe travel, praying for food, help on tests, etc. So Chris asked the kids if they talk to their friends about the things they talk to God about, and most said no, because friends can’t heal someone or help you on a test. Then he asked do you talk to God about the things you talk to friends about? We got a resounding No! So we asked why? They didn’t really have an answer. I was expecting them to say that “God doesn’t care” but they just didn’t seem to know why. So we told them that you can talk to God about anything and everything, because he loves us and cares about us and cares about what we care about.

Finally, we asked the kids How do you pray? One kid said, “You have to fold your hands, close your eyes, say ‘Dear God’ at the beginning and ‘Amen’ at the end.” So we said that’s a good way to start, and read Matthew 6:5-13, talking about how God doesn’t want us to be showy, he just wants us to be honest with him. We talked about five things to do when you pray: Praise God for who he is, Read the Bible prayerfully, Ask for things we need, Confess things we have done wrong and ask for forgiveness, and Thank God for what he has given us.

At the end of class, we divided the kids into groups of 5-6 kids with a leader, and had the kids say something they were thankful for and something they want to pray to God about. Then we had each kid pray that out loud in their group. It was a good time having an intimate setting and getting kids to start praying out loud and just praying honestly.