“when was the last time when praying you just spent time bragging on God and praising Him for who He is?” that was the question i asked my YUCs last night while beginning our prayer series on praise. wow! it is as if when those words came from my mouth they did an instant u-turn and came back to pierce my own heart. as is often the case when teaching children, the question and lesson i had for them seemed to be one God wanted to remind me of as well.
i love this prayer series with kids. while it serves as a great reminder for me, it is also a challenge to my prayer life as i watch children passionately go before the Father in prayer. their authentic response to the offer to communicate with the Creator is so refreshing. we will spend four weeks working through the ACTS strategy of prayer, but i think the first lesson will always grip my heart the most!
we begin talking about the A-adore. when we adore God in prayer, we are praising Him for WHO HE IS! this has such a great way of taking our eyes off ourselves and placing our gaze on the One that can handle any need, problem, or concern we bring to Him. He is able! after spending time in popcorn praise circles we do an activity that helps illustrate the point and power of praise – the chalk wall.
the sad truth is kids have difficult worlds. they have deep hurts, aggressive temptations, confusion, disappointments and more. just like adults, as children walk their faith journey they are often trying to stay afloat in the storms.
so that is what we begin with, life’s storms. the kids get chalk and spend time drawing symbols for all the storms they are facing in their lives! as a ministry leader it is so eye-opening and humbling to see the pictures drawn and the hurt that you know is attached to each stroke of the chalk. their storm drawings are a stark reminder of how we often come to God in prayer. we come burdened and broken and only able to see the struggles we long for Him to meet us in and bring us hope. so it is there, with the storms staring us in the face, we begin to review the names of God and see Him for all He is and how He can personally meet us in each difficulty! and we start to praise!
as children praise Him using His different names they begin to write those names over their storms and struggles until the storms fade to the background and who He is remains for the eye to behold. we talk about how the storms don’t suddenly disappear and life magically gets easy. we intentionally focus on the One who can reign, offer safety, comfort, and bring peace in the middle of life’s battles.
if we will take the precious time to adore God in prayer and praise Him for who He is, our eyes will focus on Him and not on our storms. that is why we begin with praise. that is why today as i came to Him with worry in my hands, i sat back and bragged on Him. then like a child, i am reminded there is nothing i hold He can’t handle. and so with praise my heart floods with peace.