Last week, during National WMU’s all employee meeting, our executive director, Sandy Wisdom-Martin, shared excerpts of her prayer journal with us. She emphasized that prayer should not be assigned to specific times or places. Sandy’s words created a beautiful picture, "When prayer occurs with frequency and passion, communication transforms into communion. When people pray together, it creates a climate for God’s Spirit to dwell in our midst. If we lead with prayer, God can do immeasurably more in and through us."
What if our preschoolers caught this vision? Preschoolers are ripe for learning about prayer. They accept matters of faith that our jaded adult minds may not accept. From birth, we can pray with our children. As you pray with your little ones, you are building a foundation for deeper, more fervent and faithful communion with God.
Use these suggestions to help your preschoolers understand the significance of prayer for followers of Jesus:
Emphasize that our missionaries pray wherever they go and whatever they do. The missionaries pray because they love God and know that He is real. They know that they need His help to tell others about His love.
Look for opportunities to tell preschoolers that Jesus prayed. Remind them that we all want to be more like Jesus.
Assure preschoolers that although they cannot see God, He is always with us and He cares for us (see 1 Peter 5:7). They can talk to God anytime, just like they talk to their friends.
Grab teachable moments for prayer. When preschoolers are enjoying a game, stop and thank God for friends. As preschoolers solve puzzles, thank God for helping us to think. When preschoolers argue, stop and pray with them, asking God to help them to love each other and to work together.
Pray with all of your preschoolers during your sessions. Even babies can understand “Thank You, God,” and “We love You, God.”
Be patient as preschoolers speak their own prayers. Give them time to process their thoughts. Encourage them that God always hears them when they pray. Help them understand that prayer is not a set of “special words” that we speak at certain times.
Involve families by telling them how you’ve prayed with their preschoolers. Talk to them about teaching their preschoolers to pray throughout the day. As they leave for preschool, they can pray together for their day. During bathtime, they can thank God for clean water and warm homes. While reading together, they can thank God for their books and their Bibles. At the grocery story, they can thank God for food and pray for the cashier who helps them.
By involving your preschoolers’ parents or guardians, you are leading families into corporate prayer, you are increasing their awareness that prayer is not something that we do at a set time or place each day, but that it should be an ongoing communication with God. As you demonstrate the significance of prayer for preschoolers and their families, ask God to use your efforts to raise up the foundations of generations beyond us.
For a read-aloud resource on prayer, consider reading Always Remember to Pray with your preschooler.
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