By Cherie Werner
God has given us the privilege to come to him in any and every situation. He has also given us the responsibility to teach our children to pray. The National Day of Prayer (Thursday, May 3) is an excellent day to focus on prayer in your classroom. Here are some ideas to help you.
Begin with the Lord’s Prayer
Most children know this prayer by heart at a very young age, but have they been given the chance to really think about it and know what it means? Go through the Lord’s Prayer together phrase by phrase and talk about each one. Ask the children to tell you what they think and then give them added explanation. After your discussion, pray the prayer together, slowly. Encourage the students to really think about it as they say it.
Pray Every Hour
Before the day begins, make a list of important things to remember in prayer. You might include our president, the pastors at your church, missionaries, hungry children, those who don’t know Jesus, any recent news story, and those who are sick or in the hospital. Take some time each hour during the day (or between classes) to stop and pray for one of these items.
Take your children out of your classroom and around your school and church. Stop at different rooms and pray for the people who are inside. Walk to the playground. Thank God for healthy bodies that can run and jump. Ask him to keep the children safe as they play. Go to the sanctuary and ask God to bless all who enter each week. Pray that his Word will touch the hearts of all who hear it and that he will draw them closer to him.
Invite People In
Invite your pastor, music director, youth worker, other teachers, secretaries, and anyone with special needs into your classroom at different times during the day. Pray for them individually.
Make a Prayer Chain
Give children strips of paper to write personal requests. Make a chain with those strips. Encourage children to take those requests home and keep praying for them. As requests are answered, children can remove them from the chain and form a new chain of answered prayers.
Give Children a Model
Help children understand different forms of prayer. Use and explain acronyms like ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) or PRAY (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield).
Help Children Get Started
Give students several prayer sentences to help them start. They can write their responses or just pray with those guides. Some examples could include:
- Thank you, God, for . . .
- I am happy that you helped me with . . .
- I love you, Jesus, because . . .
- Please help me with . . .
- Please watch over . . .
- Dear Jesus, I am so glad you . . .
- Heavenly Father, will you please . . .
Collect Prayer Requests
Create a prayer bulletin board somewhere in your school. Invite children, teachers, support staff, and other visitors to write prayer requests on a certain color of sticky note. Take time to pray for several requests throughout each week. Ask that those who write requests would also print out answered prayers on a different color of sticky note so that everyone can see how God is working.
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