Igniting the Engine to Revival
A Ministry Devoted to Prayer
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”-Oswald Chambers
A ministry devoted to prayer is key to transforming hearts and minds for Christ — prayer is the engine to revival! Without prayer we fool ourselves into believing we can create change. But when we dedicate ourselves to a life of prayer we are submitting to a Father who is ready and able enough to change the world!
Furthermore, we believe that children model their approach to God and prayer through the adults around them. Teaching children to pray begins with your own prayer life. Prayer habits that are formed when children are young can last a lifetime and will ignite eternal change in this world!
When working with children, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has a good approach. “There is no formula to prayer — it is simply conversing with God. It is essentially talking with God as you would talk with an earthly parent who loves you and wants the best for you. God is your heavenly Father who loves you perfectly.”
Model a simple, personal approach to prayer. Teaching children to simply talk to God at their own age-appropriate level is a great first step to introducing the concept of prayer. By making prayers relevant to what is going on in a child’s life, they will begin to see that their prayers are a direct conduit to God. Children tend to see themselves and their place in the world in relation to themselves. While this may seem like selfishness, this is a very normal stage of development. You can help them see how personal prayer is by helping them initially focus their prayer on struggles or concerns they are experiencing in their lives.
As a leader, you can look to the example of the disciples, who asked of Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11, NLT). Jesus then took the time to teach the disciples how to pray through the Lord’s Prayer, where each segment of the prayer taught them something else about how to pray. Again, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has a great approach to teaching prayer using the Lord’s Prayer as a template. They recommend something called the ACTS model, which stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. If you are using this template in your own life, it will be a natural progression to teach the children in your care once they have learned how to pray simply and personally.
Adoration is simply focusing a time of prayer on praising God and acknowledging his many wonderful qualities. For children, this can be simple praises for what God is to them — kind, loving, great, etc.
Confession for children can be simply talking to God about things that they have said, thought or done that are not pleasing to God. Confessing their sins removes any barrier that they might have in their communication with God.
Thanksgiving is just thanking God for the people and things God has provided them. This is an easy concept for children to understand.
Supplication is the last piece, and this is when you can encourage children to pray for their needs and the needs of those around them. You can come up with a list of needs that children feel comfortable sharing, and pray for them as a group.
For more steps to grow your own prayer life as you lead children in ministry, we recommend a recent blog post by OneHope leader Rob Hoskins, in which he details the 5 Powerful Prayers that have transformed OneHope’s global ministry. Each day, Rob prays through Ephesians 1 to prepare himself for tasks ahead. We also recommend an article by Intervarsity that provides encouragement for those who may have stopped praying, and need help refocusing their prayer life.
When you teach children to pray, you will be igniting the engine to your ministry’s revival! The power of a praying child cannot be underestimated. As 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (NLT)
WellConnected is an initiative of OneHope, and is a gathering place for children and youth ministers to access resources, research, and content to raise up the next generation. It’s a collaborative platform to equip leaders and influencers to effectively reach the kids in their communities. We invite churches and ministers to join one another in coming up with innovative solutions for today’s realities. We are continually learning and growing from each other — sharing knowledge, insight, and best practices.