Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Making prayer real for kids

Have you ever lived through a natural disaster?

Ten years ago in 1998, we lived in Northern NY when a dangerous ice storm hit the area. A few days into the New Year, the rain began falling and freezing on contact. By 5 AM, transformers began popping and sizzling as telephone and electrical poles toppled like rows of dominoes

Streets were dangerously impassible because of the sheen of ice as well as live power lines in some areas. To top it off, the Senior Citizen apartment complex located near the Oswegatchie River had begun to flood, necessitating the evacuation of the elderly residents. People who had no alternative way to heat their homes evacuated to shelters which were set up in churches, schools and other public buildings.

This disaster became a means to teach my children’s church students a valuable lesson on praying for others. Since all of our church families were affected in some way by the storm, the children understood how it felt to be in the dark and cold because of the disaster. It created an empathy with those in other parts of the world who were also suffering from disastrous events.

I purchased a map which I posted in our room. Each week when the children came into their class, we talked about the things that were happening around the world like floods, storms, fires and other disastrous events. We placed push pins with little flags on the map and then prayed for the boys and girls in that area who were going through difficult times. We prayed for their salvation as well as for God to help them through their difficult and scary times.

What ideas have you used to teach children to pray? I’d love to hear from you this week!

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