Learning the language of prayer is not easy for some kids. Talking to “someone” you can’t see may be uncomfortable and isn’t as natural as a teacher would expect. Most kids just don’t know what to say or what they should say.
Praying is a natural activity once that connection is established but getting there can be a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, the ability to talk to God privately and with a corporate church body is important to teach young Christians.
Teaching kids how to pray while they are young will keep them connected throughout their adult life. Provide children with honest demonstrations and visual lessons. Talking to God will become a joy, not just something parents do.
Object Lesson #1: Can You Hear Me Now?
Remember the commercials that a popular cell phone company rolled out a few years ago? Every few steps the spokesperson asked the caller, “Can you hear me now?” This cute commercial was meant to assure the potential customers that their calls wouldn’t be dropped or lost with XYZ company. Kids need to know that God can hear them anywhere, anytime.
Use your cell phone and walk around the room pretending to talk on the phone. Make the cell phone conversation interesting to kids. Talk about a current movie, or upcoming children’s church events. As you drop tidbits in your conversation pretend that your call got dropped. Dial the number again and continue your conversation.
During your call, tell kids how frustrating it is to have your chat interrupted. Tell them that God’s phone line never gets dropped. He hears every word clearly. There are no missed calls or lost messages with God. Lead kids in prayer.
Object Lesson #2: Know His Voice
Praying to God works both ways. Not only does He get to know our voice, we learn to identify His. Tell kids about this hidden benefit. Explain that if they want to know God’s voice better, they should talk to Him. He loves to talk back.
Before class, choose a volunteer to help you. Without letting the child know the parent is coming, ask the child’s parent to visit children’s church to help you with this object lesson.
Blindfold the child and place him or her in the center of the room. Have another child call his name. They should say, “John (or the child’s name) can you hear me?” Tell the child to only answer his Mom or Dad. Get a grown up volunteer to call him too. Finally ask the Mom or Dad to say the phrase. The child will respond!
Explain to kids how John knew his parent’s voice because he had heard it before. He talks to his parents every day and they talk to him. Kids should understand that they need to exchange talks with God every day so they can hear like John.
For more from Mimi, visit her new blog Encouragement for Christians.