Prayer is an important part of our walk with the Lord. It something we can and should start teaching our children about when they are young. And the younger we start teaching them, the better.
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. ~Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
My son is just under three years old. Before he gets tucked in bed at night, my husband and I pray with him. We ask him who he would like to pray for and he usually lists different people in our family. Sometimes he will ask to pray for things like the trash truck, because he’s connecting to what is a part of his world. So we will pray for the trash people who come to our neighborhood and thank God for the work the trash trucks do to help us. My husband and I usually do the praying, but within the last few months our son has started to show an interest in saying prayers too. He is good at the “Dear God” part, and with some guidance he will say a few additional words. He is learning how to pray and it is special to witness.
As I was thinking about how to further enrich my son’s learning about prayer, this Popsicle Stick Prayer activity came to mind. It is a simple, meaningful and tangible way to teach young children how to pray. The idea is to fill a container with prayers that are meaningful to your children and then choose a few of them to pray about with your children each day—bedtime would be a perfect time to fit this in. Whether your children are just beginning to learn about prayer, or if your children already have some prayer routines in place, this activity will get your little ones excited about praying.
You will need:
2 small containers
jumbo size craft sticks
sticky back fun foam
a good marker
The metal pails I used were leftover from my son’s 2nd birthday. They are the perfect size for this activity and they can be found for about $1 a piece at places like the dollar store. Recycled plastic containers would work just fine too. Fun foam brightens things up a little bit, but you can keep it very simple and skip that part if you want.
1. Together with your children, come up with some prayers to add to the sticks. You can focus on praying for certain people or extend it to pray for your children’s school, your church and so on. I chose to start by just focusing on people (mainly our immediate family), so our sticks got filled with names. Either way, use a permanent marker and write a name or prayer request on each stick.
2. Add the fun foam to the sticks by removing the white labels and sandwiching together 2 pieces of fun foam per stick (sticky sides facing each other).
3. Add labels to the two containers using the wording “praying for” and “prayed for.” I used Avery oval labels.
4. Add all of the sticks to the “praying for” container.
5. At bedtime or a certain time each day, have you children pick a certain amount of sticks out of the “praying for” container. Then pray for those people/requests with your children. When done, move those sticks to the “prayed for” container.
6. Once the “praying for” container is empty, take the sticks from the “prayed for” container and add them back to the original container. Having two containers rather than just one, ensures that your children make their way through all of the prayers. You can easily change things up and add new prayers along the way.
We have just started doing this activity with my son at bedtime. He picks two “prayers” each night and we pray together. It has been a fun way to see him get excited about praying!
(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood and Hannah Bollinger