Prayer

By Karla Schettenhelm, Children's Ministry
This past week, March 15, the lesson in Sunday school was A Prayer Lesson. With the current world situation this lesson seems a good place to start my “at home” communication with you.

God wants us to pray. He wants us to talk to Him. We do not need to go anywhere special; we do not need anything, not even a phone, to do that. Wherever we are we can just start talking to God. We can do that out loud or in our heads – He hears us both ways. He is always listening to us; He wants to hear what we have to say because He loves and cares for us.

It is so important for adults and children to know that God is with us and listening to us. Right now many of us are in our homes and not venturing out. It might be a little bit of a novelty so far, but after several days, or weeks, or now, we might begin to feel lonely and isolated.

Because of Jesus, we are never alone! And we can talk to Him anywhere, any time!

When beginning to talk to children about prayer, you can ask them:
  • When you need or want something from your parents, what is the best way to get it?
  • What happens if you never ask for things?
It works the same way with Jesus. He wants us to ask Him for things. He wants us to express our needs and wants to Him.
  • Do you always get what you ask for when you ask your parents?
Jesus always answers our prayers, but we do not always get what we are asking for. Jesus knows what is best for us and answers prayers accordingly.
 
Some of your children may have learned the acronym ACTS when talking about praying this past Sunday. This is a way for us to categorize our prayers.
A is for Adoration – we tell God how much we love Him and how great He is. 
C is for Confession – we tell God what we are sorry for and ask for His forgiveness.
T is for Thanksgiving – we thank God for His blessings. We can thank Him generally or for specific things He has given us.
S is for Supplication – we ask God for what we need/want for others and for ourselves.
It is good to have all of these different categories in our prayers.
For younger children I have seen ACTS demonstrated with a hand print.
The thumb is for praising God.
The first finger is for confessing our sins.
The middle finger is for thanking God.
The ring finger is for praying for others. 
The pinky is for praying for self.  
You can have children draw out a hand print and write different prayers in the different places, or you can physically use children’s hands and say prayers while holding onto the different fingers.
God gave us a prayer that we call the Lord’s Prayer.  
The Lord’s Prayer covers the categories of ACTS and of the hand print prayer.
Below is an activity from our Sunday school materials that shows how different colors go with the different parts of the prayer. The actual directions say to use beads and a pipe cleaner to go through the prayer. You could also use markers or crayons to draw lines, circles, or words to go with the prayer. This is a jumping off point – you can use the colors however they work for you!
Directions: Thread a blue, white, purple, green, brown, red, yellow and gold (or silver) pony bead on a pipe cleaner, and twist ends to make a bracelet. These beads remind us of things we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer. Relate the colors to the petitions of the prayer.

Blue reminds us of heaven and the New Creation. God is our Father and because we are God’s forgiven children, we live with Him now and forever.

White is for God’s holy and pure name. It is special to us.

Purple is a kingly color. God is ruler over all. We want His kingdom to spread so everyone believes in Jesus.

Green reminds us of growing things on earth. We pray God’s will be done on earth.

Brown reminds us of the ground. We pray for food (grown in the ground), clothes, and other things we need.

Red reminds us of Jesus’ blood, which He shed on the cross to pay for our sins. We confess we’ve messed up and ask God to forgive us for Jesus’ sake.

Yellow reminds us of warning signs and danger. God is in charge. He protects us from temptation, danger, and evil.

Gold (or silver) is precious. God is the best and always will be!

You can look up the Lord’s Prayer on Youtube. Here is one recording from HillSong.
You can also find sign language of the Lord’s Prayer on Youtube. Here is one that explains each sign.
This could be a great thing to learn while everyone is learning at home.  

Another way to experience the Lord’s Prayer is through a Lord’s Prayer coloring sheet. Visual Faith Ministry has put together some wonderful resources for this and many other topics and lessons. All of the things they offer on their site are free to download and print.

Perhaps you could use the different colors above to color the parts of the prayer, or just color it to make it pretty while you are thinking about the words. Children who are older or who like to draw might enjoy illustrating the words to the Lord’s Prayer.

Because I am sure many of you are looking for concrete activities to do with your children during this “at home” learning time, the above are some things you might enjoy doing together centered around talking to Jesus.

The important thing is that you do talk to Jesus. He wants to hear from us. I have a lot of feelings right now with everything going on. I am sure you have a lot of feelings too. Share them with Jesus; He wants to hear them. Talk to Jesus in front of and with your children so that they know it is important, and they can see how it is done. Use this “bonus” family time to grow your relationships with each other and with Jesus! The easiest way to start building relationships is to simply talk – make it a priority to talk to each other and talk (pray) to Jesus!    

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