let’s face it, praying can be hard. then, when we are faced with trials, storms, circumstances, and struggles we don’t really know how or what we should pray. if it is hard for us adults, it can be equally hard for kids. that is why when i teach a prayer series to kids, i always end with teaching them how to pray God’s character back to Him in their tough situations. this can be quite an abstract concept so that is why i make it as concrete as possible so they see it in black and white, literally.
we begin with children spread out around black (or dark) butcher paper with colored chalk. i tell them to take some time to think of some struggles in their lives and in other’s lives that need prayer. then i give them time to draw. they are encouraged to use symbols or words, but only enough that they feel conformable sharing and that also gives them a little privacy. i try to encourage them to fill up their space. many are slow to start, but sadly have quite a few drawings when time is up.
as we sit and look at their prayers drawn before them, we talk about how many times it can be hard to know exactly what to pray. that’s when i give them a sheet of the names of God. (my examples below) i tell them to quietly read through these names and allow God reveal which of His names speaks to their situation. we discuss how while praying the names of God doesn’t remind God of who He is, He has not forgotten, praying His name reminds us of who He is.
after they have found some names, i then have them switch their color chalk to white chalk. i instruct them to write the names of God boldly over their symbols and situations. (again, i encourage them to fill up their space.) sometimes i play a song like “praise you in this storm” or “come to Jesus” during this time. after they are finished, we look back at the dark butcher paper. what was once full drawings representing needs is now covered in the names of God. we discuss how sometimes we get so fixated on our situations, we can’t see anything but them. that is when we need to be reminded who our mighty God is and see all our prayers through the mighty lens of who He is.
i know for me it is always a reminder that there is nothing i can carry, draw, mourn or worry about that the God of our universe can’t handle. my hope and prayer is that these kids begin to understand this as well and are constantly encouraged to bring whatever they have, big or small, to His feet in prayer and leave it in His capable hands.
below are downloads to two different names sheets i have used. i found these online many years ago.
100 names of Jesus
names of God – source: christianity.about.com by mary fairchild