Praying for Missions

A preschooler came home from church with a prayer reminder he made in Mission Friends®. His mother told me that when she put him to bed that night, she heard him pray the sweetest prayer for the missionary family. God is working in the lives of preschoolers as we teach them to pray for missions. As preschoolers learn about missions, one of their responses is to pray for the missions work they are learning about.

In my experiences of hearing missionaries speak and reading their newsletter updates, the missionaries say that the most important thing we can do for them is to pray for them. Even the New Testament missionary, Paul, asked for prayer by writing in Ephesians 6:19, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Praying for missions is a way that we can lead preschoolers to be involved in the work of missionaries as they share about God’s love.

Part of the joy of teaching preschoolers to pray for missions is in teaching them about prayer itself. We are discipling preschoolers as we teach them that prayer is talking to God, and we can pray to God at any time and any place. Preschoolers learn about prayer as we use the Bible thoughts, Pray for one another (see James 5:16) and God hears our prayers (see 1 John 5:14). We give preschoolers examples of prayer as we say thank-you prayers during an activity and as we voice prayers during Group Time. We teach them about prayer as we tell of ways they can pray for the missionary we are learning about this month. We also give preschoolers opportunities to pray when we encourage them voice their own prayers. Robin McCall says in Always Remember to Pray, “The more that preschoolers pray, the more secure they will be in talking to God.”

In helping preschoolers learn how to pray for missions, use the conversations about the missionaries suggested with activities in Mission Friends Leader. After making a statement such as, “The Douglases teach Bible stories in sign language so the Deaf can learn about Jesus,” ask preschoolers how they could pray for Mr. and Mrs. Douglas. Use the prayer prompts that are included in each session for Prayertime on the Group Time page. Read Always Remember to Pray with preschoolers and include the book on your classroom bookshelf for preschoolers to picture-read to you. Use the prayers in the book to talk with preschoolers about ways they can pray. These are all tools to help you in leading preschoolers to grow toward God as they pray for missions.

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