My friend’s son is having a hard time with this unique time of isolation. He’s frustrated, angry, sad, and scared. He misses his friends, his school, his Sunday School teachers, and going to the park. Every day in the morning, at meals, and before bed, his mother encourages him to pray for the emotions he is having and for the struggles going on in his little mind. Children are called to participate in the kingdom of God. They are not excluded from Jesus and His ministry.
God does not shy away from our emotions. We’re allowed to come to Him with whatever we’re feeling. Children need to know that they are allowed to bring their frustration, anger, sadness, and anxieties to the heavenly throne. Prayer is a way to remind ourselves and our children that God’s promises are true, that we need not fear, because Jesus has overcome it all. Your children may need to run to their heavenly Father with their fears, frustrations, and anxieties.
There are many ways you can help develop and teach healthy spiritual practices. The best way is to just start. We know that children imitate behavior, so it is important that your children see you praying. However, don’t neglect initiating and finding activities that remind children their heavenly Father is there for them in prayer.
Reminding That God Answers Prayer
In Psalm 18, David recognizes that God hears our prayer. He says in verse 6, “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.” David goes on to remind himself how the Lord delivered him from all of his enemies, as he recounts a specific time when he experienced deliverance.
Have your children imitate David’s prayer. Ask them to give thanks to God by recounting a time that one of their prayers was answered. This not only helps children learn to speak prayers of thanksgiving but it also works to help them notice all that God has done for them.
God Fixes Bad Feelings
We also see over and over again throughout Scripture that people cry out to the Lord with all of their emotions and feelings. They pray out of frustration (“How long, O Lord”; Psalm 13:1), sadness (“For these things I weep”; Lamentations 1:16), and every emotion in between. But that’s not how the story ends. God promises to wipe away all tears. In Psalm 51, David calls on the Lord, asking for forgiveness from a sin he had committed. In doing so, He also prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (v. 10).
Take a play from David and encourage your children to pray for God to not only cover their sins but to also fix the “bad feelings” and return them to a right spirit.
Prayer throughout the Day
While we often remember to pray before meals or at bedtime, we sometimes forget that we can and should pray throughout the day. Unlike the two other ideas in this post, this is more of a direct activity. In my elementary school, to count down the days until the end of the school year, we’d make a paper chain and mark each link with the number of days left. This activity is similar to that. Instead of numbers, however, you’ll write different topics to pray about. Once an hour, remove a link and pray with your child. You could do this out loud together or silently. We’ve provided instructions and a printable sample in the PDF linked below. National Day of Prayer is coming up (next Thursday, May 7)! This activity could be a great way to join our nation in prayer over that day!
I hope that these prayer prompts and the activity help remind you and your children of God’s faithfulness and His promise to hear us in prayer. I pray that God would give your family the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Get ready to pray throughout the day.