1. I didn’t pray aloud enough. Ever been in a room full of toddlers? Then you know how easy it is to spend an entire hour comforting separation anxiety, changing diapers, and picking up toys. It is so easy to forget to pray with the kids and for the kids. Now I try to say a little prayer while comforting, “God, please help Jeremiah feel better. Thank you for creating Jeremiah.” Simple sentences will mold a child’s view of prayer.
2. I rushed through prayer requests or forgot to allow the kids to share them at all. Patiently listening to requests for sick puppies is not easy for me. I am not an animal person. Yet, kids need to know that God cares about all of their concerns. Jack Klumpenhower expresses this best in his book, Show Them Jesus,
I want to build a habit of coming to the Father with any need at all or any bit of thanks, unfiltered, whether or not it makes a kid look mature or spiritual … I want him constantly turning to his Father with life’s cares, both big and small, both mature and childlike …
3. I didn’t teach kids how to praise God through prayer. By the time we get through all the prayer requests, it seemed that we were going to barely have time for the next activity. So I would quickly pray for as many requests as I could remember and hustle the kids on to the next thing. I didn’t teach them that prayer was more than simply presenting requests to God. Yes, teaching kids to praise God takes time, but it’s worth it.
4. I didn’t pray often enough. Why do we save prayer for the last thing? Parents are lining up at the door and we rush to end the day with a prayer. Why? I don’t know. And I confess that this is one mistake I still make. In the future, I hope to cultivate an environment of praying often. At times, spontaneously shouting praise. Other times, whispering a thank you. Pausing in the middle of a Bible story to talk to God.
5. I didn’t point them to Jesus’ example again and again. Yes, Jesus gave us the Model Prayer, but more than that—Jesus lived a life of prayer. Over and over in Scripture we see Jesus step away from the crowds to pray. Time alone with His Father God. It was a huge priority for Him. It wasn’t a side note tacked on to the end of a sermon or a miracle. Prayer was central to Jesus’ life.
This week as you prepare to teach your group of kids, plan how you will teach them about prayer.