Joshua Prayers–Teaching Kids to Pray Through Discouraging Times

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This week, HiSKidZ at our church will be learning from the story of God’s encouragement to Joshua that “God speaks to comfort us and encourage us.” Thank you Brian Dollar and the folks at High Voltage Kids!

In order to give our “bigs” a concrete tool to help them as they learn to pray and seek God for themselves and their friends when they are discouraged, lonely or scared, we came up with the “Joshua prayers,” a simple acrostic method for praying specifically in hard times.

SO this week HiSKidZ will be learning to pray for:

J—Joy to return in our hearts
O—Open hearts to hear God’s voice
S—Safety and Protection from the devil’s tricks
H—Humble Hearts to trust God in hard times
U—Understanding that God is faithful in trials
A—Answer God’s encouragement with obedience

Each child will be given two cards like the one in the graphic above. One is for them to take home and use to pray for themselves or their friends, and the other is to share with someone who needs to know that God is there to comfort and encourage them, too.

I’ve always loved the stories of Joshua and the thought that the guy who grew up with Moses, and scouted out the promised land and saw God ruling over all when others saw giants big and tall (10 were bad and 2 were Joshua and Caleb!), still needed God’s encouragement for the tasks that would lie ahead. Even more, I love how, of course, God knew it, too, and was there every step of the way–which is a great comfort and encouragement to me!

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Praying with Mike and Ike

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I love it when kids pray!! And I love “Mike and Ike” candies. So when the two spontaneously come together it just becomes one of the BEST DAYS EVER!!!!

This year I’ve made it one of my prayers to help HiSKidZ grow in their walk and talk with God. I’m always looking for great ways to incorporate praying into their everyday life, so no doubt I was excited when God combined one of the desires of my heart with one of the loves of my life.

Here’s the fruit-tastic story.

Sunday night we were meeting with our 6th grade Discipleship group, and that meeting involved an impromptu Wal-Mart run for some pumpkins, and added to the pumpkin run was a snack run—because who can go to Wal-Mart and get just what you came for!!

Those in charge of the all important errand, to the joy of my soul returned to the church with 3 awesome pumpkins and 6 boxes of colorful, fruity goodness also known as “Mike and Ikes.”

We opened them all up and dumped them in a bowl (the “Mike and Ikes” not the pumpkins) and began our study of the gospels.

We quickly chewed our way through Matthew and onto John while also chewing our way through the “Mike and Ikes.” My alarm went off to let me know we were almost done for the night, and reminding me that I wanted to have prayer time before heading home.

Since corporate prayer is a pretty intimidating thing to some of our kids and we didn’t have much time, I thought, “Why not use the “Mike and Ike’s” to help teach the kids about prayer.”

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So we dug into the candy bowl, and each choose one more candy, revealed its color and came up with a prayer request that coordinated with the color of Mike and Ike they had chosen.

When we invited Mike and Ike into our prayer time, our prayers went from the general, “Thank you for a great night and help us to have a good week at school,” to some more specific prayers like:

GREEN
Lord, help us grow in our faith and be strong in you.

PINK
Lord, help us to be kind to our friends and even the people who aren’t our friends.

BLUE
Lord, we want to pray that people will know you and want to be saved.

YELLOW
God, we want to live so that we can be a light for you in the world.

ORANGE
Jesus, help us to tell others about you so they can know about your love and light.

RED
Lord, help us to show your love to those around us.

Our prayer time wasn’t long, but it was focused and memorable. Using those candies helped kids to make a connection, learn to pray more specifically and gain confidence in praying aloud as the body of Christ.

Taste and See. . . .Mike and Ikes, teaching kids to pray and the Lord are all very good.

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In case you were curious about those pumpkins. . . .our service project for the night was weeding around the church sign. At the last minute we decided to go get pumpkins to add a little fall color! Little did we know we’d be adding color to spruce up more than the flower bed!

Prayer Time Shouldn’t Be a Rare Time—Helping Kids Grow in Their Prayer Life through Prayer Posters

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This month HiSKidZ at our church are learning about prayer. It seems that while we pray a lot, we haven’t done the best job of teaching about prayer, and since even the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, it’s something we should be giving some thought to as we disciple our children in their faith walks with God.

We are loosely using Discpletown’s How to Pray curriculum and tweaking it to fit our own format and structure. Each week this month we are looking at different aspects of prayer connected to the word pray—Praise, Repentance, Asking and Yielding. It’s nothing new, but it’s definitely worth bringing out to a new generation to help them grow in their conversations with the Lord.

This week, HiSKidZ in our Discovery/Sunday School hour will be making these prayer posters to help them understand each of the 4 aspects of prayer that we are teaching.

The idea is so simple.

All you need is four envelopes, a piece of poster board, some tape, some markers or crayons, a hole punch and a piece of yarn.

Tape the envelopes to the poster board. On each one write one of the aspects of prayer. Punch holes in the top corners and string some yarn through them so they can hang their poster up at home.

The idea is that children and their family can write out prayers and put them in the envelopes. Writing out prayers, even simple prayers helps us to focus and think about things like praise, repentance, what we are asking for and yielding to what God is asking us to do.

Dawn Farris is the Director of Children’s Ministries at New Testament Christian Church, Keokuk, IA. You can find out more about her at her blog http://www.whosthefarris.com or follow her on twitter @whosthefarris