Kids are the church of today and if we give them a chance to actively participate in prayer we may just be blown away.
Last night our church hosted a night of dedicated prayer to take place in over 40-50 homes all over the city of Birmingham, Alabama.
While prayer is probably my weakest spiritual discipline, I was so looking forward to this night for several reasons. The first is that the night was all about prayer; not fellowship and food, which are two things Baptist churches have seemed to master. Secondly, these groups were a great mix of people from all ages and walks of life. Lastly, the kids weren’t dropped off at a nursery or childcare, they were invited to the night of prayer. It was quite a night. Let me just say, we had church!
We Set the Bar Too Low for Kids and Prayer
As a ministry leader, I learned that we are setting the bar too low for kids and prayer. Oh I get it and I understand the questions. Several people asked me for confirmation that kids were really invited. I immediately exclaimed, “Yes, we are having church like in Jesus’ day—gathering together to hear and seek him and not divide into age groups scattered all over buildings.”
Kids Praying for an Hour Straight!
Then there were those who doubted kids would be able to focus on prayer for a whole hour. To be honest, I wondered that myself. (I don’t sit still well, and let’s just say I may have wiggled more than the kids at my designated home.) Then next was the question we all knew was coming (this time from a child, but we can imagine some adults were thinking it, too) “Do we have to pray out loud?”
After a solid hour of praising God for who He is, thanking him for all He has done, silent confession and intercession for others, I was reminded that I would take a house of praying kids over an adult house any day. Here are just a couple of things I heard from the mouths of babes…
Prayers From Kids:
- “God let the lost look to You and bow down to You.”
- “May the adults in this room be as bold about sharing Jesus as kids are.” (That one stung a little, but I knew it to be true with the crowd of kids that surrounded me in prayer.)
- “Thank you for Jesus.” (amen.)
- “Thank you for butter.” (I mean really, I loved this and wondered when was the last time I thanked God for butter.)
- “God help me have the courage to share my faith at school even when others make fun of me.”
- “Thank you for our Sunday school teachers.”
- “Thank you for clean water.” (Obviously they have been listening, as we partner with countries to bring clean water to those in need.)
- “Help me be kind to others even when they are not nice back.”
- Prayers for the homeless in need of shelter.
- Prayers for our new pastor (we are in the search process) and the search team.
Lessons to Remember About Prayer Time for Kids
- Prayer shouldn’t just be something we use as a transition piece in our lesson/classes. Prayer can be the lesson.
- We underestimate and often undervalue kids when we limit prayer to a short amount of time because we think kids can’t handle long periods.
- Kids pray as Jesus taught, to the point without a lot of show for attention. So, how can we intentionally guide them in more prayer times?
- Kid’s get it. They can boldly and transparently lay their requests before a loving Savior. Instead of taking so long for prayer requests, why don’t we simply teach them to pray?
- Kids are listening to what is being taught. Let’s make time for intentional prayer after the lesson and allow kids to talk it over with the Father.
I am done with expecting less of kids because they are younger. Really, in my experiences, we should expect more. So no more settling, I am setting the bar high for kids and prayer and I am going to sit back and watch the Lord work.
This article originally appeared here.