Teaching Children to Pray

teaching children to pray

Teaching children to pray is a topic I’ve not approached on the blog, because frankly I’m still trying to figure it out. Any time I write from a parenting view, I must preface it with “Work In Progress.” But I love to share the ideas I’ve found that work for an area of teaching children, as well as maybe a few that don’t. I can always rely on you, my awesome readers, to share your ideas for a topic and that is what makes a community. So today, let’s chat about prayer and more specifically, teaching children to pray.

Many times over I’ve told you that my husband and I pray with each of our children each night individually. Our children also pray alone in their beds and this was not something we prompted. The habit just naturally happened as a result of praying with each of them at night from the time they were born. We are working on their ability/boldness to pray aloud in front of others and sometimes it is tough. I never want to push my faith on them, but provide them with the opportunity to discover the beauty of a true relationship with Jesus.

Having a model or guide for prayer can assist anyone to learn to pray. Here on the blog, there are two well-loved prayer tools available:

1. The CH@T prayer bookmark comes in all different colors and can also be printed to use as a prayer journaling page. This tool is fabulous for adults and children alike; my kiddos use this simple guide for their prayer journals.

2. The Prayer by Color guide is an easy way to remember prayer goals also. Available in bookmark form, this guide uses the 8 basic colors of a crayon box as reminders to pray for the needs of a child. This particular guide could also be used to teach children how to pray through their own needs.

Most Bible teaching I’ve heard on prayer begins with the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus himself taught the disciples to pray. Can you imagine what that must have been like? To have the Son of God stand before you and say these words:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13

I can’t imagine what must have been going through their minds as their senses took in this scene. If you’d like to learn more about what Jesus spoke to the disciples on the subject of prayer in addition to the verses above, Matthew 6 is the chapter you’ll want to read.

And for us today, the Lord’s Prayer is still used as a model to learn to speak to God, our heavenly Father, who loves us so very much.

book giveaway

To help your child memorize this prayer is truly special and I’ve found a sweet book that will serve as your tool to do just that! Take a peek at this simple, yet colorful and engaging board book:

If you’d like to order this book, you can do so right here.

And I’m excited to be giving away a copy of this awesome children’s book on prayer! Follow the Rafflecopter and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Rachel

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Product provided by publisher for review; all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links. Site may be compensated if purchase is made. See full disclosure policy here.

Experiencing True Hospitality

what I learned sidebar

This week in the Lessons in Hope series, I couldn’t wait to share the lesson I learned from the Kenyan people while travelling with the AWANA global team a few weeks back!

From the moment that the team arrived in Kenya, I noticed the graciousness of our host, the AWANA local missionary, Benard. Benard has a great smile and you can just tell that he loves his job of ministering to the local AWANA clubs. As he began to take us to schools, churches, and orphanages where God’s Word is reaching the hearts of children,  I noticed a common thread between the many different locations.

Each church pastor or principal kindly and warmly welcomed each of the team members individually. Each visit, there were chairs set up for our group, even when there weren’t enough chairs for all the people in the room to sit in. The nine of us introduced ourselves and each time, all eyes intentionally looked at the person speaking. Time after time, we were told how wonderful it was that we came to visit, how blessed they felt to have us visit, and how they could not wait to have us return.

hospitality

Honestly, I was in tears several times over experiencing true hospitality from these dear brothers and sisters in Christ. One time in particular, that I could hardly control a threatening sob, was when the dear woman in charge of the poorest orphanage prayed and said these words:

Lord, we know it was difficult for our visitors to come here, but we are so thankful for them….

Difficult for us to come?

Yes, we experienced flight delays and yes, travelling can be hard at times. Yes, we had to jump through a few extra hoops, but what we encountered to arrive at her school that day to visit was far, far less difficult than what she does each day in feeding and educating a school of 200 children in the Kibera slums. In fact, I wouldn’t put the two in the same category.

What I experienced in Kenya through the words and deeds of Christians was true hospitality.

They had “nothing” to give and yet they were incredibly gracious.

When I spoke with one of the missionaries, I asked if he had visited America. And he had. So I asked him what he thought. He began to compliment the roads and means of communication. We discussed environment and culture for a few minutes and then he looked thoughtfully and said, “There was one thing I noticed. Americans seem to keep to themselves.”

Honestly, I believe that was a word for me. Essentially the Holy Spirit was whispering to me that hospitality is not about the food or how clean your house is or isn’t… it isn’t necessarily about giving gifts either. True hospitality is about how you make a person feel inside.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Rom. 12:13 NIV

AWANA reaches more than 127,000 children with the gospel in Kenya. And one way that I found I could help them reach one more child or two or three is through the purchase of beautiful global bags handmade by the Kenyan women. Each handbag is made by women who in exchange for their labor, receive training to begin their own business and fair wages to feed their families and send their children to school.

Through purchasing global bags through AWANA, more children are reached with the gospel of Jesus.

After seeing all the incredible difference that the Word of God is making in Kenya, I could hardly wait to order a couple bags when I arrived back in the states!  Want a peek?

awana handbag small

 

This is the size small. I think my daughter has claimed it. We both loved the print!

large handbag

 

And this is the medium size. Bright and bold!

After being in Kenya and seeing the impact this purchase makes on so many levels, I am so excited to purchase more bags in the future to use as gifts. If you’d like to order one or for more information, click here.

You can find the entire Lessons in Hope: What I Learned in Kenya right HERE.

new whimsical wed

Bloggers- thanks for being here and taking part in Whimsical Wednesday each week. Looking forward to checking out the links you bring to the Christian encouragement party this week!

Have a wonderful AND whimsical Wednesday!

Rachel



Following God’s Will when I don’t understand it

following gods will

One of the most difficult concepts I’ve encountered in my walk with the Lord is following God’s Will when I don’t understand it. Logically speaking, shouldn’t life make sense? I mean, our brains are wired with a system of checks and balances. We are physically created with lefts and rights. Symmetry makes the world go round and yet…

What happens when I believe God is whispering to my heart to do something that I can’t wrap my head around?

The gap between my head and heart is much more than 12 inches in this case; it seems they exist an eternity away from each other.

And they do.

You see, God did not give us the ability to understand everything He does. Isaiah tells us that His ways are higher than our ways. We cannot physically comprehend all that God does and why He does things the way He does them. Yet often, we live in a frustrated state of asking God why and arguing with him about the means.

Since the spring, I’ve had three words floating around in my mind regarding my obedience on his path. This path to trusting Him fully is back to the basics- the 3 R’s, if you will. No, they are not reading, writing and arithmetic. 

The first stage I’ve encountered in trying to follow what I believe God would have me to do is not easy. In fact, many Christians don’t make it past this step because it doesn’t feel safe and we can’t see what things look like up ahead. This stage is one called:

RISKING

That’s right, to trust someone, anyone, even God, you are taking a risk. You are risking that this whisper of the Holy Spirit to your heart is real. That God is alive and at work in your life even though you can’t see him. That He is everywhere and everything, but you cannot touch him. That by faith, you have trusted him for salvation and by faith, you are believing that he is leading you to do something.

I don’t know what your “something” is. But  I certainly know what mine has been and what it is currently. Risk requires placing all your security and faith somewhere other than yourself. And this is where the risk is totally worth it. Because the risk you are taking is not a risk after all. You are placing your security and faith in the God of universe who loves everything about you. He created you and his relationship with you is the safest one you could ever have.

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:4

The second phase of believing God has a plan for your life and is guiding you each step of the way is:

RELEASING

This is the letting go phase. I decide, you decide, we decide that not only are we going to take the risk and make the move we feel impressed to make, but we are going to risk it all. Maybe we’ve had enough of what the world is offering and the decision to place everything in his hands is the only choice left other than continuing to bear the burden alone.  This point of following God is giving God the last dollar in the bank when we don’t know where the next one is coming from. Or laying a child on the altar as Abraham did. Maybe it’s moving to another city, far away from homeland, as Joseph was required to do. Perhaps the release is a relationship gone sour, a broken heart, or an incurable disease. No matter the item or issue, the release is giving to the Almighty. It’s a stance with open palms before the Savior indicating that my hands no longer grasp for what cannot satisfy.

Releasing my grasp of all that appears logical allows the grip of God to become most real to me.

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

And that is when I am blessed to enter the third phase of following His plan and process.

REJOICING

You see, if we never take the risk, if we never consider that He who saved us wants to redeem us, if we never release our lives to him and obey him, then we miss the rejoicing phase. The opportunity of joy flooding our souls that began with a small step of obedience is never ours. The overflowing happiness is enjoyed when we simply trust and believe that God is who He says He is and He is going to keep his word because he has never failed to do so.

The God who is taking us to Heaven wants to use us on this earth.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil 2:13

No, it is not logical.
It is love.

 

Rachel