Praying for children and praying with children gives you the opportunity to serve and to build a relationship with them. By modeling how to pray, you can remind them that Jesus is their friend and will guide them as they spend time in prayer.
Sometimes I step back and watch the people at my church and think about all of the stories present there at once. It amazes me when I think of the life events, the joys, and the heartaches that people carry through our facility’s hallways. What great love we can share when we care for one another’s stories!
It’s the same with children at church. Children from all walks and backgrounds carry their stories with them every place they go. It is incredibly meaningful when you make it a point to know their stories. I am more likely to have an open faith conversation with someone who puts in the time and effort to get to know me than with an acquaintance I see only occasionally. This is true, too, of children. What are you doing to create a comfortable environment for faith talk when working with children? Are you working to know their stories? It means the world to children when they know and believe that adults care about them. Here are some tips to help you build those relationships:
Pray with Children
I strongly urge you to plan on a prayer time with children. Prayer is an incredible gift. How miraculous that our God hears us–our concerns, our joys, our desires, our confessions. Praying together is also a powerful event. A great way to get to know the hearts you are working with is to take prayer requests. I even do this with my three- and four-year-olds. It inspires great faith talk.
A child may say, "I want to pray for my grandma who is in heaven.”
And I can respond with, “God is taking good care of her. He assures us of that in the Bible. Can I pray for God to comfort you and your family since you are sad?”
We just had a powerful talk–including end of life, heaven, God’s promises, and God’s care for His people–in a matter of a few seconds.
Here are some additional tips for getting started:
- Set aside a special time during every event to hear prayer requests. Be sure to do it every time you meet with the children. This can help show them how important it is.
- Have kids write their requests on papers or share them out loud. This may help identify things you could check in on with an email, phone call, or visit.
- Bring some of your own prayer requests forward as well. Then they can see adults praying too. You are modeling how to bring our concerns to the Lord–the greatest habit to build!
If you listen to children, remember what they tell you. Otherwise, you may come across as inauthentic, and that could damage your efforts to build an atmosphere of welcome and comfort. Keep a journal or a memo on your phone, and jot down prayer requests in it every time. You can also jot down things they said in general. If a child wants to use this time as a “wish list” and you see a pattern, maybe plan on a time to talk about prayer with that child or as a group. If you utilize this note-taking advice, the next step is to follow up.
If a child had a prayer request or told you about something cool or sad, follow up with them. Check your notes the morning before you work with them. Remember the ones you need to ask “How is grandma doing? Is her car fixed?” or “How was Disney on Ice last week? I know you were SO excited.” It will make a huge impact that you cared enough to remember (they don’t need to know you took notes). It will be much more likely that children will feel an integral part of the church when people treat them that way. Following up on conversations and prayer requests can also be a wonderful opportunity to see how God has answered prayers. Children (and adults) can often forget the prayers we bring to the Lord in hard moments. Reviewing these notes can reveal the wonder God works in lives. This can lead to wonderful conversations with the children.
You are teaching children the Word of God with what you say and how you show love for them. Don’t dismiss these little moments. They can be powerful moments of ministry. Our God does incredible things through the relationships we form! Praying honestly together to our Lord can be very bonding. May this be a blessing to your time with His children!
Looking for more ways to support kids at your church through prayer?
Our VBS Prayer Calendar has ninety-three prayer suggestions for VBS! Click the button below to download it today, and share at your church.