When most people think of challenges, they think of marathons, read-athons, fundraisers–anything to help a good cause, especially one that has to do with healthy minds or bodies.
Another kind of “getting fit” introduces kids to the healthy practice of praying regularly and creatively. Prayer is powerful! (James 5:16-18 ).
Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.Ephesians 6:18
Next Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, a great opportunity to encourage kids to get “prayer-fit” and introduce them to out-of-the-ordinary ideas on how to pray. So beginning this Sunday, I challenge you to lead up to that day by taking the 5-day prayer challenge with your kids.
Sun, Day 1 – Headline prayers
Open any newspaper or a magazine and circle a headline. What prayer need does it remind you of?
One day my niece was over. We opened up the newspaper and saw the obituaries. Ten minutes later, we’d read through every name and prayed that 1) God would bring comfort to the families 2) use the circumstances to bring those families close to him.
Use headlines for prayer ideas. Pray for leaders of church, school or country. Pray for workers who might be laid off.
Mon, Day 2 – Sensory prayers
Think back over your day and thank God for something you can see, smell, touch, hear and taste. What is it?
For example, last week I thanked God for the crunching of leaves as I walked out to the campfire behind our house. I thank him for the salty food I ate and the sound of frogs croaking in the pond. I thanked him for the smell of spring and the sight of wood ducks hanging out on the pond.
What did you do today and how can you use it to thank the Lord.
Tues, Day 3 – Lollipop prayers
At the beginning of the day, put a jar of lollipops (pixie sticks, licorice work too) on your kitchen island or table. Attach a small piece of paper with a prayer request to each one. Or set a few prayer requests next to it. Let your family know that they can grab a lollipop any time during the day along with a prayer request.
This takes prayer from being abstract to concrete and something that can be done in bite-size pieces (pun intended).
Wed, Day 4 – Coloring prayer
Most kids think praying means closing your eyes and folding your hands. But their hands can be busy creating—words of praise to God, names of God, pictures of those they’re praying for–while their thoughts are busy talking to God.
Thurs, Day 5 – Scripture prayers
Some kids have no idea what to pray. In some ways that’s the biggest prayer challenge. They’re stuck. I think God knew we’d all be at loss for words sometimes, so he gives us the gift of prayers in Scripture. David in the Bible wrote psalms out of sadness, fear, frustration, anger, and happiness. You can encourage your kids to use the psalms to pray too.
Sad you did something wrong – Psalm 51 • Happiness – Psalm 100 • Fear – Psalm 27:1-2 • Reassurance – Psalm 23
A simple prayer kids can use just by filling in the blanks is based on Ephesians 3:17-19.
I pray that ____ (fill in the blank with the name of the person you’re praying for) would have power to understand how wide and long and high and deep God’s love is.
May _______ know God’s love, that’s so huge it’s beyond understanding.
That’s definitely a prayer I wouldn’t mind anyone praying for me!
To wrap up the 5-day prayer challenge consider giving kids their choice of a devotional. (Check out these resources from prayershop or christianbook. Or, celebrate with a family walk around the neighborhood as you pray for family and friends.
Cultivating a desire and an understanding to pray equips your kids with the tools for a lasting relationship with God.
2020 © Carol Garborg