Educating children in religion can be a challenging task, especially when looking for ways to help small children remember big lessons or practice major skills. One of these big skills is prayer, and as with other biblical topics, it often is easiest to instruct children through fun.
Set up chairs for an old-fashioned game of musical chairs. Tape to the back of each chair a picture of something or someone for which Christians should routinely pray. These topics/pictures might include soldiers, the sick, family members, daily needs, the church and all the needy. Play musical chairs by traditional rules except that you do not remove chairs after each round. Instead, when the music stops, have each child offer a brief prayer for the topic taped to his chair. The longer you play, the more practice children get in offering prayers and the more you reinforce the kinds of things which should be prayed for.
Prayer Volleyball or Hot Potato
After studying the examples of prayer in the Bible, place summaries of these stories in a goldfish bowl, hat, wastebasket or anything from which you can draw. Have students play hot potato with a ball or try to keep a balloon in the air with volleyball-type hits. When the music stops or the balloon falls, the person holding the balloon or ball should draw a story from the basket and read it aloud, then offer a similar prayer to show how the lesson learned in the story can be applied to Christian life today.
Have children sit in a duck-duck-goose circle. Select a child and have him go around the circle using the phrase “sinner-sinner-sinner-blessed.” The child who is selected to be “blessed” moves to the teacher's lap, and the child who selected her sits in the seat left vacant. Have the child on your lap tell what she wants to be prayed for. She may say, “I fell and scraped my knee. Pray for me” or she may have more serious concerns. No matter what her prayer request, she will feel her concerns are legitimate. Have the child who selected her offer the prayer she requested. The child on your lap then becomes the selector/prayer and the process is repeated. Holding children in your lap gives you an opportunity to give each child in your class individual affection.
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