Today's children live busy lives, involving school, TV, stereo, Nintendo, computer games, sports team practices and music lessons. They need to learn how to take time to "Be still and know that He is God" (Ps 46:10a).
Prayer habits which last a lifetime are most often formed in childhood. That's why it's so critical to teach children HOW to pray. It's the most important thing you can teach boys and girls. Make it a priority in your classroom. The more children pray, the easier it is for them to pray and the more they will learn about prayer.
Prayer is the one thing a child can do that will have great impact on the extending of God's kingdom, no matter what other skills and talents he may have.
1. Be an example.
Only when you experience the reality of God in your own life can you share that reality with children. Ours is a special kind of teaching - to communicate God to children in such a way that they can also experience reality with Him.
Do you have a daily time of devotions and prayer?
Do the boys and girls in your class know that because of your daily quiet time you are able to handle the problems of life?
Do you have a prayer partner who prays daily for you and your class?
Do you pray for your children individually. Think of reach child's face and ask God to meet his specific needs.
2. Be sure children understand what prayer is.
"Stephen, would you like to thank God for making John better this week so he can be back in our class?" the teacher asks.
The children bow their heads and close their eyes. Silence. More silence.
The teacher opens her eyes to see why Stephen is not praying and finds him timidly looking at her.
"I don't know how, teacher, Stephen replies. "I don't know what to say."
There are 2 options at this point. The teacher can reply: "That, okay. We'll let someone else pray." OR the teacher can say: "that you for sharing that, Stephen. Let's talk about prayer and learn how to pray.
a. Prayer is talking to God in an ordinary manner, out of the depth of your heart. You can tell
God exactly how you feel. Can ask Him your questions; share troubles and concerns; tell Him you're angry, happy, sad. Prayer about feelings helps children develop a conversational relationship with God and they will come to know what it means to walk with Him and talk with
Him on a daily basis. As soon as they realize it's all right to talk in an ordinary manner with God, they'll participate with ease.
b. God is always listening.
c. Talking to God just like chatting with a friend.
d. Nothing is too small for prayer. (Can pray about mistakes, hurts, problems, embarrassment) Praying is not just for the big moments of life. God is in every detail and every minute and prayer is appropriate for small issues as well as large ones.
e. You can pray anytime, anywhere
3. Keep prayer a priority in your classroom each week.
Not just when you have lessons on prayer. Knowing about prayer, thinking about prayer and even thinking up prayers are not the same as actually praying. There is no substitute for praying.
Make prayers relevant to the lives of your boys and girls. What are their burdens? Worries? Fears? Concerns? Problems? Needs? Questions?
Be aware of opportunities for children to pray and accept Jesus as Savior. When 1,000 S.S. workers were asked when they prayed and accepted Jesus as savior, 500 said it was between ages 9-12