talk.pray.do: Teaching our kids to pray

By | February 26, 2014

How can we learn to pray?   Instruction helps, but example is the key.  We learn to pray by hearing other people’s prayers. The same goes for the children we are charged with the responsibility of leading.  Earlier this month we shared the P-R-A-Y acrostic as a method to encourage your children to pray.

P- Praise “Dear God, I praise you because you are___________!”

R- Repent “I am sorry for ___________! Please forgive me.”

A- Ask  “Please be with __________!” or “Please help ___________!”

Y- Thank YOU! “Thank-you, God, for _________!”

Scripture supports the idea of learning to pray. The disciples said in Luke 11:1b, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciple.  Jesus then proceeded to teach them the Lord’s prayer. This model prayer includes several elements.

The A-C-T-S model involves four steps: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Most young children won’t understand what each letter of the ACTS acronym means, so instead, use it as a guide to take them through the prayer time as follows, pausing after each step for a minute or so to allow time for prayer

Adoration: To avoid praising God each day in a way that would get rote or mechanical,  spend some time  brainstorming things about God that were good, powerful, loving, awesome, holy. Find some of the names for God found in the Bible: Rock, Shepherd, Jesus, and King of Kings, Father.

Confession: You may have to remind them, as this doesn’t always come easy.  For example: “What about hitting your sister today?” Then on to the next child, “Remember how you threw that fit and got in trouble this morning?”  “What about those mean words you said to your brother?”  Once reminded, they willing confess their sins to God and even excited that they had something for this part of prayer. They just needed some training and direction.

Thanksgiving: This step comes most naturally when children pray. My children are always grateful for a “wonderful day.” But now we encourage them to be more specific. What are we thankful for? Yes, we had trips to the park, friends over, and new toys to thank God for; however, we also talk about some basic things that we often take for granted: freedom to worship, our own copy of God’s Word, clean water, food, eyes to see, legs to run. They don’t always remember these blessings in day-to-day life when surrounded by ads and commercials tempting them to want more.

Supplication:  We can ask for things we need or want, but we also want to pray for others.

 

Another method to teach your child is the Five Finger Prayer model.

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Thumbs represent: PRAISE GOD
Pointer fingers represents: CONFESS YOUR SINS
Middle fingers represents: THANK GOD
Ring fingers represent: PRAY FOR OTHERS
Pinky fingers represent: PRAY FOR YOURSELF

Regardless of which model you use we encourage you to start right now! Pray together. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just talk to God! He promises that He’s listening!

How do you carve out time for your family to pray together?

Family Devotion: The Passover

By | February 24, 2014

This session of The Gospel Project for Kids dealt with the final plague God brought upon the Egyptians. This story has a clear message regarding the importance of Christ and His presence with people. Talk with your kids about the events of the Passover. Ask them to think about how they might have felt if they were living in Egypt during that time. Moses led the people to honor God, and by so doing, the people of Israel were saved from the hand of the Egyptians.

This week your kids learned that God rescued His people from the hands of the Egyptians by the shedding of blood. The sacrifice of a lamb for the blood to go over the doorpost was the only thing that kept the family inside safe from the wrath of God. God provided a much more important lamb for us, Himself—the Lamb of God. Through the shedding of Jesus’ blood, we no longer have to face the punishment of eternal separation from God because of our sin. Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to.

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Family Devotion:

Supplies Needed: Bible, large blanket or sheet (a red one is best)

Set the blanket on the floor. Have each family member stand at the end and jump from the longest end of the blanket to the other side, making sure no one can jump over the blanket from a standing position. Now place the blanket over your family as a tent.

Ask: How many plagues happened in our last Bible lesson? How many more are there?

Read Exodus 11:1-5.

Say: All people sin and need of God’s grace. None of us could jump all the way over the blanket. In the same way, none of us can have a relationship with a Holy God except through Jesus. No matter how hard we try, we can’t “get” to God because of our sin.

Read Exodus 12:21-30.

Say: God protected the Israelites that night by passing over them. When the Lord saw the blood over the doorframes of their houses He passed over and saved them. This was not true for the Egyptians. They received God’s discipline and all their firstborn children died. In John 1:36 Jesus is called the Lamb of God. It is Jesus’ blood that cover us now so we can receive God’s grace.

Lead your family in a prayer of confession. Thank God for sending Jesus, the Lamb of God, who covers our sins with His blood.

Family Devotion: Moses Confronted Pharaoh

By | February 17, 2014

The Gospel Project for Kids journeyed back to Egypt last Sunday. This thrilling story led Moses back to Egypt to confront Pharaoh, who was unwilling to bow to the request that Moses made on behalf of God. Do you think it is likely that Moses knew the Pharaoh who was ruling since he grew up in the household some 40 years earlier? How would that change this story? Can you help your kids see how God is using the little baby from last week’s story in a new way?

Moses confronted Pharaoh but met strong, hard-headed opposition. God, however, had prepared Moses for this encounter with Pharaoh, and Moses knew the outcome. Moses continued to move forward despite the opposition. Share with your kids a time where you faced opposition in your life but you remained faithful to God. Did it work out for His glory?

This week, help your child identify times it may be difficult to be completely obedient to God. Through Moses’ obedience, God saved the Israelites from slavery. Read Hebrews 3:3. Jesus is greater than Moses, and Jesus’ perfect submission to God’s will provided the salvation that we needed.

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Family Devotion:

Supplies Needed: Bible

Ask your family what they think a servant is and does. Challenge them to think of a time this past week where they served someone or someone served them. Allow each member of the family to share her servant story.

Read Exodus 5:1-2; 7:6.

Say: Moses did what God asked him to do. He sometimes lacked confidence and even questioned God, but he kept going back to Pharaoh, telling Pharaoh what God said. However, Moses was not perfect. He sinned like every other man/woman on earth.

Read Leviticus 19:1; Hebrews 3:3.

Say: God is holy and our sin separates us from Him. Since all of us sin, none of us are holy—not even God’s great servant, Moses. Only one man never sinned and that God- man is Jesus. Because He was sinless He provided a way for us to have a relationship with a Holy God.

Ask: Who remembers the first 9 plagues God sent on the Egyptians? (Skim Exodus 7:14–10:29.)

Act out a few of the plagues and then thank God for making a way through Jesus Christ to Him, our Holy God.

February talk.pray.do. Prayer

By | February 16, 2014


Prayer is having a conversation with God!

Isn’t it incredible that we can actually talk to God? The God who made the world and the God who made us, wants to talk to us.

God says: “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

I don’t know what you think about when you think of “family prayer”, but growing up in my house it was something that was rarely talked about, much less put into practice. It was rarely modeled, except for maybe at Thanksgiving.

Our hope this month is that you will start praying together as a family. That you will carve out time in your normal routine to gather up your family and pray. It could be at the dinner table, or it could be at bedtime. Pick a time that works best for you.

The talk.pray.do kit we sent home is a great tool to help you establish this practice of praying as a family. As you get your family into the habit of praising, thanking, and asking God for help, we hope this will truly impact their hearts and attitudes.

Imagine if we taught our children to pray, and they grew up trusting God with everything in their life. What if they truly believed that the God who made the whole world really cares about what’s happening in their life? He does!

The truth is we all need to be turning to God no matter what we’re facing. Big or small, He cares about what’s going on in our lives. When we pray it changes us! It causes us to trust in God and believe He’s listening and cares, and it motivates us to care about others. Prayer is powerful.

Start right now! Pray together. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just talk to God! He promises that He’s listening!

How do you carve out time for your family to pray together?

February talk.pray.do. Prayer Pail

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TALK  with  your children for 15 minutes a day. PRAY at least twice a week in meaningful time together as a family.  Then we simply ask that you DO one family night a month.

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These conversation starters will help your family begin discussing our topic of prayer.

  • What is prayer?
  • How can we pray together as a family?
  • What should we pray for?
  • Do you think God hears every prayer?

 

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Praying as a family is wonderful and rewarding.  Teaching our children to pray is one way to help lead their little hearts to God! Remembering the acronym P.R.A.Y. is a great start.  Throughout this month we will share other tips for teaching your child to pray.  

P- Praise “Dear God, I praise you because you are___________!”

R- Repent “I am sorry for ___________! Please forgive me.”

A- Ask  “Please be with __________!” or “Please help ___________!”

Y- Thank YOU! “Thank-you, God, for _________!”

 

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We encourage  you to have a family night this month and make a prayer pail with the materials provided in your take home kit.

Be creative and personalize it!  On the craft sticks you can write names of family, friends, specific prayers or even cut out pictures and glue to the sticks. Draw a stick and pray for the specific person or request. This is a tool to help your family be intentional in your time together. Place the pail on your table, night stand or wherever your family will gather to pray together.

And 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

Connect with us: Share your Family Night photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @vistachurches @vistadublin @vistaworthingtn  #talkpraydo #vistakids  #vistafamilies

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