Prayer is simply one of the most crucial disciplines for any Christian’s life.
Here is a series of prayer exercises designed to equip families to pray together. This is a good example of what it means for a church to partner with parents to disciple children. The hour-long meeting time equips the parents to pray with their children for the rest of the week.
The family prayer evening is a series of 7 prayer exercises. Families should spend around 7 minutes per station.
- Pin-the-Tail on the Map- Blindfold the children and give them either tacks or sticky notes. Spin them around and then they go to a map of the world mounted on a wall. The child “pins” a country and then prays for that country. Parents help the children understand more about the country that she or he “pinned.”
- Lectio Divina- Have grapes in a big bowl. Have the family sit down together on the floor. An adult reader instructs everyone to close their eyes and be still. The reader reads from John 15:1-4. Then the reader tells the family to listen to the words again and think of their favorite word in the passage. Read John 15:1-4 again. The children share their favorite word first and then the parents share. The passage is read one last time. The family then prays a prayer about being connected to Jesus. Afterwards, they can eat a grape.
- Prayer Books- Have the pages copied and ready to assemble a prayer book that the children can take and use. The prayers to put in the book are The Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 8, Psalm 23, St. Francis’ Prayer, (an abbreviated) Shield of St. Patrick, and the Jesus Prayer. The children can take this home and the family can use this for prayers.
- Whiteboard Worship- Take a dry-erase marker and write on a whiteboard a word or phrase to praise God. Simply complete the phrase “God, You are…”
- Paper Prayerplanes-This is a prayer exercise to help families to pray for one another. Everyone takes a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. Write out prayer needs on the paper. After prayer needs are written out, fold and make a paper airplane out of the paper. At the end of the time, gather together and throw the paper airplanes out. Pick up someone else’s airplane and commit to praying for those needs this week.
- Roll-A-Prayer-Have each family member take the die and roll it. Compare the number that is rolled paper and direct the family member to pray to God about that specific thing.
If you roll a: Pray For 1 Deployed Soldiers and their families 2 Children who don’t have enough to eat 3 Our church leaders (elders and ministers) 4 Your mom, dad or guardian. 5 Friends to know Jesus 6 Children living in disaster areas
- Prayer Balloons- (Need helium tank, balloons, ribbon, sharpie markers) Each family member can take 1 balloon to inflate with the helium. After inflating the balloon, tie the balloon and then put a ribbon on the balloon. Use the markers to write prayer needs on the balloon. These are prayers that you want God to hear and answer. To conclude the evening everyone goes outside together and releases the balloons as a sign we can release our burdens to God.
The best thing about this evening is equipping families to pray together and to explore different ways to pray. The boys loved the prayerplanes and the girls loved the balloons. The families prayed together at roll-a-prayer and discussed faith issues at the lectio station. The map station gave the parents a good opportunity to explain mission to the children.
How have you taught your children to pray?