There are so many things you want to do in the short amount of time you are given to teach your students during Bible class. You feel rushed and may even forget to have the simplest of class prayers. How much time do you have to devote to helping your students develop an independent prayer life? Yet praying is one of the most important and helpful things a Christian can do.
You may be tempted to give an occasional lecture or even a lesson on prayer. The reality though is that for many of your students, the point of the lesson will be forgotten as soon as they leave the building. What if you could send something fun home to remind them to pray every time they saw it? Could those little reminders encourage them to pray independently and more frequently than they do currently?
There is no scientific study to prove it will help, but I know often a visual reminder will help me remember to do something I wanted to do. Otherwise my intentions of establishing a new spiritual habit can get lost in the craziness of real life. Here are a few of my favorite prayer reminders:
- Prayer Piñata. Does your church sponsor a missionary in Latin America? Have a lesson from Acts on one of the missionary experiences of early Christians. Share with students what your missionaries are doing in the country where they live. Introduce students to other aspects of the country like foods and language. Then at the end of class have a piñata the students can break open. Instead of just candy, tape a specific prayer request from the missionaries to each piece. Students are given a specific number of pieces of candy/prayer requests they can have. Taking them means they also promise to pray for those prayer requests. If your missionaries live in a different culture, adapt the activity to something appropriate for that culture.
- Prayer Plastic Figures. I originally saw this idea online. Someone filled a container with toy plastic soldiers and encouraged everyone to take one as a reminder to pray for service people and their families. You can also find other plastic figures and if necessary, tape a piece of paper including a specific prayer request. For example: A toy fire person “Please pray for wisdom and safety for fire people.” Make sure students understand they are praying for these people, not to them.
- Give God Your Worries Box. Children can get anxious about things, just like adults. Teaching them to pray about their anxieties and give them to God is an important Christian Life Skill. Cover empty mint tins or jewelry gift boxes. Have students decorate the boxes and add a scripture that reminds them to give their worries to God or pray about everything. Have them cut small slips of paper to place next to their box with a small pencil (we used golf pencils). Encourage students to write their concerns on slips of paper, pray to God about them and then put the paper worry into the box to remind them God is in control of their worry.
- Prayer Rock. Have students decorate a large rock with the word prayer and a design. Explain that the rock should be placed on their bed pillow. When they go to bed each night the rock will remind them to pray. After they pray, they should place the rock on the floor where they will see it the next morning. As soon as they wake up and see the rock, they should pray. The rock goes back on their pillow for the next night.
Taking the time to help your students have prayer reminders at home can encourage them to develop a strong prayer life. It’s worth the time and effort.