Prayer: Talking to God with Your Hands
This children’s message was originally written for a Christian School chapel of 1st – 6th graders. It teaches the basic elements of prayer and encourages children to establish prayer as a habit in their own lives. What I’ve written below would be a 15-20 minute presentation, but you can extract the main points for a children’s sermon on Sunday morning. You could also add some additional content for a children’s church lesson.
We’ve also posted some prayer coloring pages for kids. That might be a good activity to add to this Bible lesson.
(Ask the following questions):
- Does anyone here like to talk on the phone?
- Do any of you talk on the computer with emails, IM, or Skype?
- Who do you like to talk to and what about?
- How many of you have cell phones?
- How many of your parents have cell phones? Do they get upset if they lose their phones?
Talking with people is important to us! We make sure that we can call others whenever we want. We also make sure people can reach us wherever we are.
So if talking to people is easy and we do it all the time, why is it so hard to spend time talking with God?
(Invite responses such as: We get busy. We don’t see Him all the time so we forget. We don’t know how. We might question whether God is really listening. We might think our problems are too small.)
Why is it important to talk with God?
- God wants us to know Him.
- God really does answer prayer.
- God loves us through prayer.
- We love God through prayer.
Today we’re going to learn how to pray. Remember that it’s as simple as talking to someone you love. (Write out the word TALK as an acrostic on a whiteboard/chalkboard.)
T: TAKE the TIME: (Have children point to a pretend watch on their wrist.)
Find time in your day to talk to God. Pray at the same time each day. Make it a habit, like brushing your teeth. Ya’ll brush your teeth, right?
A: AHHHHHH…. Quiet: (Have children take a deep breath with you.)
Find a quiet place in your home. Turn the TV off, your music off, and find a way to escape from your little brother. Sit under a table, go in your closet if it’s big enough, make a fort, whatever!
L: LEARN from God’s Word. (Have children place hands palm side up as if holding a Bible.)
Read one verse a day. If you’re up for the challenge, read one chapter a day. Try to understand what God is saying to you. Ask a grown-up who knows Jesus for help if you need it.
K: KEEP a Prayer Plan. (Have children pretend like they are writing.)
Write down how to pray. Pray that way. Write down praises, prayer requests, and verses that mean a lot to you. Keep it simple or else you won’t keep doing it.
(Repeat each component at least once, if not twice to ensure retention.)
Do any of you like to talk with your hands? (Mimic people who talk with their hands: chefs, airline stewardesses, tour guides, photographers, pastors, etc.)
Today our hands are going to help us learn how to pray. As long as your hands go home with you today (please tell me they will!) you should remember our lesson. You’ve got five fingers and we’ve got five parts of prayer. You ready?
1. PRAISE: Praise is saying what you love about someone. It’s saying, “God, I love that you are good. I love how you made the ocean. I love that you sent Jesus for our sins.” (As you list each example, number them with your fingers and invite the children to do the same.)
2. CONFESS: Confession is a big word for spit up. It means to get the junk out of your life. It’s when you ask for forgiveness of your sins. It’s saying, “I’m sorry that I lied. Forgive me for getting in a fight with my brother. I’m sorry for not loving you like I should.” (As you list each, use your hands to mimic throwing up.)
3. READ: Reading God’s word helps us see ourselves as in a mirror. It helps us understand who God is and who we are. It helps us to pray because we know who we’re praying to. (Mimic turning pages or holding up a mirror.)
4. ASK: God says in Matthew 21:22 that, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Pray for others. Pray for yourself. Ask for people to be saved, for God to provide, for wisdom to understand, for help in temptation, for people to be healed. (Invite children to fold their hands as in prayer.)
5. THANKS: God has done so much for us. What can you be thankful for today? (Invite children to list items. Lead the children in a lively worship song of praise/thanksgiving such as “He has made me glad.” Have them clap their hands in thanks.)
(Review each of the parts of the Prayer Plan with the hand motions to cue the students’ memory. Review a second time with only the bolded words. Have students demonstrate the hand motions for each. Close the lesson in prayer. Follow the prayer plan, keeping it brief to hold students’ attention.)