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iPray

object lessons to help you teach children to pray
 

Summer is beginning to wind down. There are only a few weeks left for Kids Camps, more about Family Camps or a community centered VBS and Outreaches to impact our communities and children’s lives. 

This summer for me has been one that I will always treasure.Wayne and I check off some things on our bucket list. We explored 14 states and absolutely fell in love with the cities and people of Montana. We prayed over churches, schools and truck drivers everywhere we went. We prayed over 4 state capitols and got to chat with one State Senator. I plan to share some of
I wanted to follow up primarily because of the Challenge that God poured through me to you on Sunday morning. That challenge was “Pray for these kids!” I want to share with you what I think that looks like. But I need to use a story. (Of course I’m going to use a story. It’s the best tool in my toolbox.)

Watch over the seed that was planted.
We finally planted a garden. I had talked about it for years. Bought the seed. Put it in a drawer. But finally, Wayne and I tilled the ground, pulled the weeds and planted the seeds. It was so exciting.

After the initial excitement of seeing it sprout, we got back to normal, which did not include caring for a garden.

I don’t know who planted the weeds, but within a very short period of time, the garden was overgrown with weeds. And then the bugs arrived and did their thing. A tomato plant or two managed to struggle high enough above the weeds to grow a gnarly tomato or two. Which the squirrels stole, before we could harvest our ruby from the weeds. Our garden was a total bust! So we never tried to garden again.

Our mistakes were obvious.
Gardens must be cared for. Weeds are terrible thieves. They gobble the nutrients from the ground. And they drink the precious water from the soil, while polite vegetables seem to wait saintly for their turn to drink and wilt in the process.

You know what we did wrong.
It wasn’t the seeds fault. It wasn’t the soils fault. It wasn’t even the weeds fault. We failed to watch over our seeds.

The truth is…gardens are work.
If you neglect them the weeds will show up.

I don’t have to tell you how much work kids are.
We realize the critical nature of meeting children’s physical, developmental and mental needs. Yet we can’t forget their spiritual needs either. (I know you know that. Only a reminder.)

You can’t let their spiritual development shift into autopilot or the weeds seem to grow. The garden of their heart has to be nurtured and cultivated.

God has assigned that job to parents. The church can assist, but it is the job of parents to garden the soil of their child’s heart. There is no doubt the Word of God was planted in the hearts of children this past week.

I am looking for more than seeds…
More than little sprouts peeking their heads into the sunshine
I am looking for the fruit…
of the Spirit.

So what is next?

I don’t want to speak Christianese, because I am a very simple person. So let me share one very important way to nurture the heart (garden) of your child…
PRAY for them.

Pray?
As a young mother, way before books with prayers for everybody and everything arrived, I stumbled on… (Yeah. Right? Like stumbling on something in God’s Word EVER just happens! LOL) I stumbled on Paul’s Prayers in Ephesians and Colossians. I turned his prayers into prayers for my husband and children. And yes, I included myself as well. I thought it might be helpful for you to see how one of my Paul prayers looked after I got through with it.

Colossians 1:9-11 NIV
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12and giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified youf to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

(I turned it into a prayer this way…)

We continually ask God to:
1. fill (Myself, my husband’s name and my children’s names) with the knowledge of (Your) will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,

2. so that (they/we) may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way:
3. (bear) fruit in every good work,
4. (grow) in the knowledge of God,
5. strengthened (them/us) with all power according to his glorious might
6. so that (they/we) may have
1) great endurance
2) patience, (Yes! Of course we need to pray for patience!)
3) joyful thanks. Father, I pray that they will give You joyful thanks.
7. Father, it is you, who has qualified (us) to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

My Challenge on Sunday
 

Summer is beginning to wind down. There are only a few weeks left for Kids Camps, website Family Camps or a community centered VBS and Outreaches to impact our communities and children’s lives. 

This summer for me has been one that I will always treasure.Wayne and I check off some things on our bucket list. We explored 14 states and absolutely fell in love with the cities and people of Montana. We prayed over churches, schools and truck drivers everywhere we went. We prayed over 4 state capitols and got to chat with one State Senator. I plan to share some of
I wanted to follow up primarily because of the Challenge that God poured through me to you on Sunday morning. That challenge was “Pray for these kids!” I want to share with you what I think that looks like. But I need to use a story. (Of course I’m going to use a story. It’s the best tool in my toolbox.)

Watch over the seed that was planted.
We finally planted a garden. I had talked about it for years. Bought the seed. Put it in a drawer. But finally, Wayne and I tilled the ground, pulled the weeds and planted the seeds. It was so exciting.

After the initial excitement of seeing it sprout, we got back to normal, which did not include caring for a garden.

I don’t know who planted the weeds, but within a very short period of time, the garden was overgrown with weeds. And then the bugs arrived and did their thing. A tomato plant or two managed to struggle high enough above the weeds to grow a gnarly tomato or two. Which the squirrels stole, before we could harvest our ruby from the weeds. Our garden was a total bust! So we never tried to garden again.

Our mistakes were obvious.
Gardens must be cared for. Weeds are terrible thieves. They gobble the nutrients from the ground. And they drink the precious water from the soil, while polite vegetables seem to wait saintly for their turn to drink and wilt in the process.

You know what we did wrong.
It wasn’t the seeds fault. It wasn’t the soils fault. It wasn’t even the weeds fault. We failed to watch over our seeds.

The truth is…gardens are work.
If you neglect them the weeds will show up.

I don’t have to tell you how much work kids are.
We realize the critical nature of meeting children’s physical, developmental and mental needs. Yet we can’t forget their spiritual needs either. (I know you know that. Only a reminder.)

You can’t let their spiritual development shift into autopilot or the weeds seem to grow. The garden of their heart has to be nurtured and cultivated.

God has assigned that job to parents. The church can assist, but it is the job of parents to garden the soil of their child’s heart. There is no doubt the Word of God was planted in the hearts of children this past week.

I am looking for more than seeds…
More than little sprouts peeking their heads into the sunshine
I am looking for the fruit…
of the Spirit.

So what is next?

I don’t want to speak Christianese, because I am a very simple person. So let me share one very important way to nurture the heart (garden) of your child…
PRAY for them.

Pray?
As a young mother, way before books with prayers for everybody and everything arrived, I stumbled on… (Yeah. Right? Like stumbling on something in God’s Word EVER just happens! LOL) I stumbled on Paul’s Prayers in Ephesians and Colossians. I turned his prayers into prayers for my husband and children. And yes, I included myself as well. I thought it might be helpful for you to see how one of my Paul prayers looked after I got through with it.

Colossians 1:9-11 NIV
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12and giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified youf to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

(I turned it into a prayer this way…)

We continually ask God to:
1. fill (Myself, my husband’s name and my children’s names) with the knowledge of (Your) will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,

2. so that (they/we) may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way:
3. (bear) fruit in every good work,
4. (grow) in the knowledge of God,
5. strengthened (them/us) with all power according to his glorious might
6. so that (they/we) may have
1) great endurance
2) patience, (Yes! Of course we need to pray for patience!)
3) joyful thanks. Father, I pray that they will give You joyful thanks.
7. Father, it is you, who has qualified (us) to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

My Challenge on Sunday
Kids continue to amaze me when it comes to spiritual things!
They have the innate ability to cut through the fluff and get to the heart of prayer. That is one of the things that I absolutely love about children’s ministry!

But one of the challenges of children’s ministry, cure not just for ministry leaders, sildenafil but parents as well, is how to help them focus their attention long enough to develop a prayer habit. Children aren’t the only ones that struggle to focus in prayer. It happens to us all. There are so many things competing for our attention. So we have more things than ever to distract us.

Help them establish a time,

First thing in the morning or just before they go to bed works best for most folks.

Not a ritual.

There is no life in rituals. But a prayer habit that puts priority on spending time with God is life giving.

What do I say to God?

Then the struggle becomes, what do I say? The repetitive, “God bless Mommy!” is a great beginning place, but kids are ready at a young age for much more meaningful prayer times.

Jesus gave His disciples a pattern, called the Lord’s Prayer. We often use it as a prayer, which is fine. But when used as a pattern, the prayer becomes even more personal and meaningful to us.

I have taught children a simple prayer pattern for years.

While it is not unique to me, it is a great prayer guide.

I like to add an “i” before the acrostic “PRAY” because I must choose to pray. I must make spending time with God a priority. Then the word “PRAY” is broken down into four components of prayer.

Praise

Repent

Ask

Yield.

In the yield portion of the prayer. We simply ask God, “For whom or about what” do you want me to pray? I have been blown away by kids responding to this, “listen and pray” time with God. God speaks to children. But they must learn to listen.

The acrostic is explained fully on the sheet below. It is taken from my Object Lesson Book “Teach Us to Pray.”

 

praying-hand-from-teach-us-to-pray

Copyright 2010 Patricia Holland

 

Click here to purchase Teach Us to Pray 52 Object Lessons Download for $4.99.

Print out a copy of the Prayer Journal page below. Maybe it will jump start your children in beginning their own prayer journal.

Prayer Journel ipray page

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