Putting Prayer on the Calendar
Prayer experiences: the perfect method to help kids learn how to pray
by John Hailes / November 21, 2017
Just like many other Kidmin leaders around the country, I’m frantically trying to finalize my different ministry dates for next year’s church calendar. As I reflected on the number of kids and team events I had listed, I’m ashamed to admit that I had not prioritized the topic of prayer.
My calendar was booked full of fun activities, but not one prayer meeting. I began to ask myself: What does my calendar tell me about the kinds of kids I’m hoping to develop? I’m challenging myself this year to make prayer a part of the foundation of our kids’ ministry. I intend to do this with my volunteer team and my kids with something called “prayer experiences.” This is something I learned about at the AGKidmin17 Conference, and it has been developed from the Tru Fire curriculum’s response stations.
Our volunteers constantly pour into our kids, yet we rarely take time to spiritually pour into them. Then with our children, it is so easy for Sunday services to turn into performances instead of opportunities for them to experience and spend time with God.
“Prayer experiences” are simply dedicated times of prayer using different interactive prayer stations around the Kidmin room. Beginning with a time of worship, explain the different prayer experiences and then release those in attendance to allow the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts as you lead them to different stations.
Below are some suggestions for prayer experiences for your team and for your kids:
Kids: Prayer experiences are perfect for kids to begin to learn how to pray. You can use video worship and just play music in the background during the prayer time. Ensure that you have some leaders at the different stations to help explain things for kids, and sometimes write down their thoughts. It is best to have more stations for the kids because they generally move through each station a little faster.
Volunteer Team: There is nothing better you can do for your volunteers than to provide a space where they can experience God together and then wait on Him for an extended period. I think simple, acoustic, live worship is best for this group. Tailor each station to the general needs of your volunteers. Use prayer stations that encourage rest, purpose, listening to God’s voice, etc.
It’s a risk the first time you do a prayer experience because you wonder what all may go wrong. BUT I challenge you to make space for God to meet with your kids and team. He will show up every time!
Tips for Hosting a Prayer Experience:
Plan the prayer stations. Make sure they complement each other or build upon one another.
Put explanations at each station. It might seem obvious to you, but each prayer station won’t be for everyone! Keep leaders at stations when doing this for kids.
Create an intimate environment. If you want people to really seek God, then dim the lights and play some acoustic music. This gives people a sense of privacy and helps them pray out loud.
Light up some of the stations. If people need to write, read, or do something, then they probably need some light. Provide appropriate lighting for those stations.
Don’t give too much direction. Take yourself out of the equation and let God lead His people. We are so quick to control a meeting, but this event isn’t about our being in the limelight.
The Sum Total: If we want our kids and leaders to grow in their relationship with God, then we need to provide avenues by which they can connect with God for extended periods of time. Prayer experiences allow everyone to meet with God no matter how developed or confident they are in their prayer life.