over a year-and-a-half ago, the dawson kids team began to contact and pray through our kids ministry investors and families. the truth this, we can only connect so much in a hallway on a sunday morning or at an event. our goal was to reach people where they are (whether they are consistently attending or haven’t been in a while) and ask “how can our staff lift up your family?” it’s a simple question. not all respond, but when they do we are allowed an opportunity for greater impact.

in our weekly dawson kids staff meeting we share the prayer requests and then pause to specifically pray for each of them. we follow up each prayer time with a hand -written note.

i understand this isn’t revolutionary, but it has greatly deepened the conversations we have with parents and volunteers in our busy hallways. i would love to hear how you surround your families and leaders in prayer. share ideas in the comment section.

keeping with our tradition this year, we are bringing back prayer stations. our theme this year is rooted and we are focusing on God’s Word. we only have five stations this year because we are encouraging them to spend at least 10 minutes at each station. here they are:

Leader instructions: Please divide your Bible study groups into smaller groups and guide your smaller group through these five prayer stations. (You can move in any order, but please watch your time and try not to spend more than 10 minutes at each station.) Even though these prayer experiences are hands-on, please make sure they are approaching it with the attitude and respect our great God deserves. Before you begin, pray as a small group asking God to help you focus during this time.

Words That Encourage Station: 
Read this Scripture to your group – “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Prayer experience – Share with your group that they are going to get to use God’s Word to encourage our leaders in the church. Hold up one of the encouraging scripture sheets and explain how God’s Word can comfort and encourage others. Explain to the kids that they will each get a sheet and a marker and will be given several minutes to spread out along the staff hall and write scriptures on staff member’s sheets, located on their doors. (Please instruct them to write neatly so that the scriptures can be read. Also, tell them not to sign their names and only draw symbols that go with the scripture – no Alabama or Auburn signs on the doors.) They will have time to write on two or three doors, but make sure they spread out to all the offices and are not waiting on a door.
Prayer Time – As a small group, pick a staff member to pray for and gather in front of their door. Pray “popcorn style” for this church leader allowing each child to say a sentence prayer for them in any order. The adult leader will close this time in prayer.
Location – begins in the gathering room across from Mrs. Alice’s desk, but you will travel to staff office area and return supplies back to the gathering room.
Supplies – encouraging scripture sheet, marker, and white sheets on staff doors

Scripture Path Station:
Prayer experience – Give each child a piece of sidewalk chalk and a scripture sheets. Explain that each one of them will have their own sidewalk square to decorate with these scriptures. Instruct them to take their time and write a scripture large and decorate it. After 10 minutes give them a cue that time is up. Then have them pray silently over their square.
Prayer Time – As a small group pray for all the runners, walker, and church people that will walk over these scriptures. Ask God to give them eyes to see what He would have for them.
Location – This station begins in the area right outside the back doors of the Chapel. Kids will decorate sidewalks down Manhattan street and Evergreen. smasH will decorate the sidewalk leading into the main welcome center from Oxmoor.
Supplies – sidewalk chalk, scripture sheet.

Hidden Name Rocks Station:
Prayer experience – Review the names of God you studied in session two: MIGHTY, CREATOR, HEALER, SHEPHERD, EVERLASTING, MOST HIGH, LORD OF LORDS. Ask kids to share which name means the most to them at this time in their life and why. (Give them time to share.) Instruct them to decorate one side of their rock with the name and put the scripture reference on the other side of the rock.
Prayer Time – Once they have completed their rocks, have them hold it tightly in their hands asking God to reveal Himself to them in a new way. Close this time in prayer.
Prayer experience – Hiding Ricks Escort your small group to the area of their grade’s assigned location. Instruct them to hide their rocks. Explain that we will share with the church that these rocks are hidden all over campus. Ask a child to pray out loud for those that might find their rocks.
Location – This prayer station begins in the Manhattan Atrium lobby, but kids will be able to hide their rocks at designated places around the church property. (1st grade – around the entrance to the FRC, 2nd grade around the entrance to the sanctuary off Oxmoor, 3rd grade around the welcome center entrance off Oxmoor, 4th grade in FRC family parking lot, 5th-grade smasH around the outside of the parking building – PLEASE USE CAUTION CROSSING THE STREET.)
Supplies – Names of God sheet, rocks and sharpies

Psalm Tree Station:
Prayer experience – Give each child a Psalm 1:1-3 card. As a small group read this passage out loud. Discuss what this scripture means and how it encourages us to be rooted in God’s Word. Invite children to color the front and the back of their card. When complete, direct them to tie it to one of the branches on one of the three threes on the right outside the Arendall Welcome Center doors. (These threes are near the steps down to the Fellowship Hall and will be labeled with Psalm Tree signs.) Please make sure kids respect the landscaping and tie their string in a bow so people will be able to take one on Sunday.
Prayer Time – After everyone has attached their Psalm to the tree, circle around the tree and ask each child to pray a one-sentence prayer asking God to help them delight in His Word.
Location – This begins in the Arendall Welcome Center lobby.
Supplies – Psalm 1:1-3 card, ribbon, markers

Hands of Prayer Station:
Prayer experience – In our country we are blessed to be able to freely own a Bible. How many of you own more than one Bible? In some countries it is very dangerous to own a copy of God’s Word. Gather around a country poster (either North Korea, Somalia, Maldives, Libya, or Uzbekistan.) Read the information about why it is dangerous to own a Bible in this country. Discuss with the children ways they can pray for the believers and nonbelievers in this country. Guide kids to place their hand on the poster of the country and trace their hand. After they have traced their hand, have them pray silently for the people in that country.
Prayer Time – After everyone has had a moment to pray silently gather together as a group and ask a member of your small group to pray out loud over this country.
Location – sidewalk out back of north building
Supplies – 5 different outlines of countries with an information sheet on each country.

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

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