Chicken Nuggets, Toy Rotation, and Prayer
You may have noticed that the prayer activities we post are divided into three categories: prayer games, focused prayers, and contemplative prayers.
We will continue to dive into more of those later, but for now, we want to explain why we have these categories.
Everyone is on a faith journey and we are all at different points in our relationship with God. It doesn't matter where we are though, we all get to work together to grow the Kingdom of God. This is great news! God calls us to start where we are right now. He doesn't call us to figure it out, get it right, and then follow Him, He calls us to follow Him and then grow.
One of my friends, who is a newer believer, once came to me and said, "my daughter keeps asking me to pray, but I don't know how." My heart broke for her as I knew she felt overwhelmed by the pressure to "get it right." Later, when Sarah told me about playing the Grateful Game with her kids, I immediately thought of my friend. She needed to know that prayer could be that simple and fun. She didn't need to start with an eloquent prayer, she could start with a simple "thank you God" and then grow comfortable praying out loud.
At the same time, I shared with Sarah about doing imaginative prayers with my kids (more on that later). She couldn't believe that my kids responded so well to it. We went on to discuss all the forms of contemplative prayer that parents, including us, could do with their kids if they only had the tools.
Parents need a variety of tools to teach their children about God, whether they have been Christians their entire lives or for one month. We're all on the same team and have the same goal: to help our kids grow their hearts for Jesus and His Kingdom.
When we were looking for resources to help us teach our kids to pray, we found a lot of books with prayers for kids to memorize. Memorization is great, we will provide some of that here, but it's not everything. Our search for something different came up dry, so we decided to create our own resource.
In his new book, "The Eternal Current" (read it!) Aaron Niequist talks about how incorporating spiritual practices into traditional evangelical worship makes for a "well-balanced meal." Think of it this way: when you first give your baby solid foods, you introduce them to a large variety of vegetables, fruits, and proteins. You include different tastes, smells, and textures. Because you know that a body can not healthily live on the same three foods.
I fully recognize that sometimes kids go through phases where they live on chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. Teaching your child to try and enjoy a variety of foods takes time and a lot of patience. The end goal is that you raise your tiny human into an adult who can eat a wide variety of healthy foods.
Similarly, our end goal should be to raise our tiny humans into adults who can use a wide variety of prayer to communicate with their Creator.
Variety is the key to life. Toy rotation works because the variety of toys keeps kids interested. We hope that a variety of prayer activities will keep your kids interested too.
We hope you find some things that work for you in all three categories. Things that are easy as well as things that challenge you. Find a few that work for your family, we don't expect anyone to do every single thing we post every week. We sure don't. We have each tried everything we share, and we each have our favorites that work well for our respective families. We can't wait to hear what your favorites become as you journey along with us!