A Hands-on Approach to Get Kids Engaged in Prayer
Recently I read, “Children tend to be egocentric in their prayers, but not selfish. Egocentric means their world is small. Their prayers are limited to pets, family, and friends. It is our job to enlarge their world and also mentor children how to pray. Without this coaching, the prayers of children remain the typical bedtime prayers that never change until eventually, the desire itself to pray is lost” (Hohman, Kids Making a Difference).
How do we expand the prayer list of the children in our ministries? By putting ideas in their hands, literally. One way to do this is through prayer cards. Another way is with a prayer mural or prayer wall.
How to Make a Prayer Mural
- Encourage parents and congregation members to save their magazines and newspapers for about a month.
- Browse through magazines as a small group, discussing things the pictures might represent. Missions magazines might be especially helpful for this (you can get a free subscription to Alliance Life here).
- Additionally, you might want to draft up a list of prayer ideas such as military personal, national leaders, healthy food for kids, quality time for families, safety for missionaries, housing for the homeless, etc and have kids find matching pictures in magazines.
- Look over the headlines in the newspaper and cut out ones the kids can pray about.
- Take some pictures of the leaders in your church, such as the pastor, children’s ministry director, music director, etc and add it to the collection.
- When you have enough pictures gathered up, glue them to a giant sheet of butcher or mural paper. Make sure to label each picture with an appropriate prayer request.
- During prayer time, have kids walk along the prayer mural, touching each picture and praying for the request that accompanies it. Kids can take turns praying, pray silently, or whatever is appropriate for your group.
- As the weeks progress, you can add more prayer requests to the mural or add praises to it as well. If your church has a congregational prayer request list (for weekly prayer meeting), be sure to add some of those requests as well.
- If your mural is looking a little sparse, browse through Scripture for ideas. Some key passages might include Matthew 6, James 1:5, Philippians 4:6 or whatever you are currently studying in your ministry.
Above all, keep practicing prayer, no matter what method you use. The more you practice, the more it will become a habit for both the kids and the volunteers in your ministry. What method have you found especially effective in engaging kids in prayer?