Leading Children in Prayer
Kid’s Prayer Principles
God has placed within kids a desire to pray. It is our job to release it and mentor children in prayer. “Release” means to “set free from restraint.” “Mentor” means “to coach.”
Sometimes we “spiritually abort” a child’s desire to pray. (Who, me?)
- Have you ever acted as though you were spiritually superior to children?
- Did you ever ignore what a child was saying because you didn’t believe that God would speak through that child.
- Did you prefer to have adults pray for you rather than children?
- Did you ever exclude children from participating in prayer activities with adults.
- Did you ever view a child’s prayer as “cute,” but not as an effective means of making a difference?
- Did you ever fail to mentor children and release them to pray.
A House of Prayer
Isaiah 56:7 says that we are a house of prayer for all nations. Esther Network has a song with movements that goes with this verse (see ordering information at end).
The multiplication principle
- Deuteronomy 32:30 says that 1 will put 1,000 to flight and 2 will put 10,000 to flight.
- Tell the kids that this “alludes” to what happens when we pray.
- Act this out and see if they can do the Math.
- Pray short, simple, natural, to the point, “kid” prayers.
- Pray for one topic at a time.
- At least one person agrees with a new topic and builds on it. Silences are OK.
Praying the Scriptures
Read a Scripture and then turn it back into a prayer to God. Try praying Psalm 23.
- Using the Globall, pray for all the kids the same age, same name, same problem, etc.). The Globall is available through Esther Network.
- Kids are usually less “selfish” than adults in their prayers, but are more egocentric. They want to pray for others, but their awareness of the world is more limited. We must enlarge their worldview and give them the information they need to pray for others.
- Encourage kids to go deeper (to listen to God and be more specific in their prayers). God often speaks to children through mental pictures. He knows they are concrete thinkers.
- A child prays for a personal need.
- The same child then prays for someone with the same need in a different country.
- Tools like the prayer spinner act as “springboards” that serve to launch children into deeper prayer. They can be easily made or one can be purchased through Esther Network.
- Always encourage kids to listen to God and respond in more specific ways.
Songs as Prayers
Children could sing “Shine, Jesus, Shine” as they look at a map with the 10/40 Window.
Children could hold up signs with names of countries, cities or people groups. As the child holds up the sign he/she says a statement like “Lord send the light!” and the rest of the children say “Yes” in a loud voice.
Never underestimate the ability of children to worship or the length of time they can stay there. This is especially true when children spend extended periods of time together like a camp or retreat.
A room can be set up with prayer centers and the children would move to the next center about every 5 minutes. The THUMB people make good centers (Tribals, Hindus, Unreligious, Muslims, and Buddhists). A variation of this is setting up different rooms as centers (as different cities of the world, for example).
Weekly prayer meetings could include touching base (sharing your name and how your week went), praise and worship, prayer tools, video clips, global intercession and personal prayer needs. The prayer meeting could be one of many “kid’s ministry clubs.”
- Prep well and cover about 3 or 4 stimulating sites over a two-hour period.
- “Release” your kids and “restrain” you adult intercessors. Debrief often on the walk.
- Good sites include: schools, high buildings, city hall, prisons/jails, places where historic events took place, a local neighborhood, location of first church or missionary visit, etc.
- 7:00 PM to midnight works well.
- Plan prayer activities that change at least every hour (worship, conversational prayer, balloon launches, prayer walks, prayer tools, quietly waiting, debriefing, and refreshments).
Some other ideas:
- 24/7 Prayer: Kids sign up for a 30-minute time slot. This especially works well during camps or weekend retreats when all the children are together in one place.
- Outreach Prayer: Teach kids how to pray for others on outreach.
- Prayer Retreat: A prayer retreat allows kids to reach deeper levels of intercession.
- Debriefing: Always debrief times of prayer? What did God show you? What did you learn? How did God use you during prayer? How do you feel?