Hi, Parents! I want to continue this month on the subject of prayer as I share another article from the book Teaching Children How to Pray. Last month we touched on Parents as Teachers and this month we will look at Teaching Our Children Why We Pray.
We pray because God commands and desires that we pray. For children, why we pray can be summed up in a sentence: Prayer is how we talk with God. Prayer helps us to develop a personal relationship with Him. The Old Testament is filled with illustrations of God’s people speaking to God through prayer. The New Testament shows Jesus, the Son Of God, speaking to God through prayer. Throughout the Bible prayer is lifted up as our personal means of communicating with God.
The young David is a good example of a person of prayer. In him we see a young person in a grown-up world who is able to defeat a giant because of his faith. The same God who looked after David looks after the children of today, and their faith will help them meet their own challenges and fears.
David is also an excellent example because he left us a firsthand look at his prayer life: the Psalms. These songs and prayers include the entire spectrum of feeling, from fear and anger to love, adoration, and faith. David spoke what was on his mind and heart to God.
Though the Psalms have become a formal part of most worship services, there is no escaping the fact that the Psalms are often radical revelations of a passionate, spontaneous child of God at prayer. David spoke to God as a child might: He was unafraid of expressing his anger and fear, yet he fully trusted in the power and promises of God.
Readers of the Bible know David through his prayers. Psalm 3, for example, concerns a rebellion against David by his own son, Absalom. After stating that God was his security, David asked for His protection.
Just as God answered David’s prayer by protecting him, God could be called upon to forgive him. Psalm 51 is a result of David’s sin with a married woman and his role in her husband’s death. This Psalm is David’s prayer for forgiveness. Though God punished him severely, He did forgive him.
David’s prayers are excellent examples, therefore, for children learning to pray. His prayers testify to the fact that there are many reasons why we pray to God:
To Praise God
Like David the shepherd marveling in the fields, we acknowledge the magnificence of creation as being an act of God. We also praise God for our victories and deeds, which are because of Him.
To Thank God
Like David after battle, we are grateful to the source of our fortune.
To Confess Our Sins
Like David in his sin with Bathsheba, none of us is without sin. Bringing our sins to God in Prayer is a step toward reconciliation.
To Request God’s Assistance in Our Lives
Like David before battle, we are filled with concern about hurdles and challenges we cannot overcome without God’s strength.
To Request His Assistance for Others
Like David praying for his people, we too are to pray for people who need God’s help.
We pray for all these reasons and more. But we pray especially because, as David believed, ‘The Lord will hear when I call to Him.’ Psalm 4:3
This month in Promiseland our 3-5 year-old kids will hear the story of Joseph choosing to be kind to his brothers even though they had tried to hurt him. They will learn God wants us to be kind to others. They will hear the story of how Jonathan helped David and that God wants us to help others. Next they will hear the story of Noah obeying God, followed by Jonah obeying God, and that He wants us to obey. The last story they will hear is of Matthew throwing a party for his friends to learn that Jesus wants us to tell others about Him.
This Spring Quarter our K-1st graders will continue looking at the pieces of God’s amazing story with four lessons that teach about the Sermon on the Mount. Kids will learn Jesus gave us directions for living our lives, directions on praying, giving to others, and not worrying, and when we follow these directions we shine for Him and people can tell we follow Jesus. Two fun experts on each of these topics will be joining the class to give the kids a chance to discern which kind of actions follow Jesus’ directions and which ones do not.
The 2nd-3rd grade kids will examine the life-changing principles Jesus taught during his ministry on earth. They will learn how Jesus healed the blind man and the Story of the Good Samaritan. A drama will teach the kids about the Poor Widow and the last lesson will be about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
The 4th-5th graders will open up the New Testament and explore incredible stories during Jesus’ ministry. Through creative dramas and teaching, kids will be shown what being a Real Superhero is all about. Barrier Breakers teaches kids that God loves them no matter what and wants them to accept others by breaking down barriers. Beating the Greed teaches kids that God is generous so they can joyfully give with a generous attitude. Pure in Heart teaches kids that Jesus desires for them to be pure and gives them the power they need to conquer the battle.
Don’t forget Friday the 7th, at 7pm, is Family Movie Night at Riverside. Come eat some popcorn and watch Babe with us!
Blessings to all of you,