The lesson cycle in LWGFC includes a prayer practice. In order for prayer to become a part of the lives of children we not only teach about prayer but we open the space for children to experience a conversational relationship with God.
The prayer rhythm in LWGFC includes a space for requests and a space for making the request. Most of us first begin to pray when we are in need. While it may make adults uncomfortable, children have needs as well. They have wounds and worries. Making time for the prayer practice is a rhythmic reminder that God is near, God is listening, acting and cares about and for them.
Taking time for sharing and making requests teaches children listening skills and empathy. Both of which are much needed in our day of rabid talking and judging.
You don’t have to follow the rhythm of requests clockwise and prayer counter clockwise, but have a rhythm. Rhythm helps children to know what to expect. Children who struggle socially find safety in a rhythm. They may not share immediately, but will open up after several weeks of the same rhythm.
Don’t worry about time. While it may be wise to help summarize the boy who talks too long about his dog, be sure everyone has a chance to share. If the children are sincerely engaged in sharing their needs and then praying about them, rest in that. Remember we are teaching children, not curriculum. Go with the flow of the Spirit.
The teacher should share requests and pray as well. Vulnerability breeds vulnerability. There is no way around it. It goes without saying that adults need to be mindful of what they share; making sure it is appropriate for children. However, sharing a request and an expectation that God will answer not only helps children to share, but it will build their trust in God. It will build yours too.
This is a discipleship community and you are learning together. Conversation with God is the goal. Let the rest go.
Always invite. Never force. What God is doing in the life of children is often hidden. Trust that God is at work.
A child may share something with you that requires action. Talk of abuse should be taken seriously and shared immediately with your pastor or the child abuse hotline.
God has been in pursuit of these children since their creation. Prayer together will give them language to enter into a conversation with God. It will remind them that they are never alone, that God is near and eager to respond in love.