“From the Lips of Children and Infants”
The elementary children of ECC are being encouraged to think of worship not as something that happens “up there” on a stage, but something they are a part of and participating in. The kids are usually given the opportunity to pray aloud for the offering, but it is often the same couple of kids who volunteer. To encourage others to lead in prayer, the kids were recently given some suggestions for wording of prayers. Also, they have started intentionally getting on their knees to pray to help them focus on their prayer. After the first day’s experiment of focused, semi-guided prayer, the kids were asked what they noticed about their prayer time. A dozen hands went up: “It hurts (to be on our knees on the hard floor)!” This provided the opportunity to talk about prayer in a new way: We often think about prayer as getting us something, but the reality is that it costs us something.
The next week, the kids read from Psalm 19: 1-6, 14. Asked “how did you feel about using the Psalm to pray?” an older girl, who had become shy about praying, said, “I like that we have the words. I don’t know the words of prayer.” Romans 8:26 says, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Hearing this verse was a “light bulb” moment for this girl, and she relaxed. Another child, a more talkative 2nd grader, said, “I noticed that because we were all praying the same thing together, I could actually listen to God.” This opened discussion about prayer as an act of listening and a conversation with God.
The elementary students of ECC are starting to think about prayer and take ownership of their prayer time. None of us has it all figured out. Even the disciples asked of Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray. (Luke 11:1)” Let us all be a student of prayer.