Stewardship of Prayer

"I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live." (Psalm 116:1-2)

In this Scripture, the Psalmist tells of answered prayer. We spend great effort teaching our children how to pray. We spend much effort learning about prayer. Many of us spend a lot of time praying. Children have difficulty understanding answered prayers. Actually, adults have difficulty recognizing answered prayers. Children will be more likely to understand and to recognize answered prayers if we begin teaching them at a young age.

I had a friend who always pointed out, "Well, wasn't that an answer to prayers?" Initially, I was suspicious of this response that was a part of her natural conversation. In fact, it even annoyed me. I was uncomfortable thinking about answered prayer.

In time, I did not mind hearing my friend's comment. I even realized that answered prayers are part of life. I later found myself saying, "I guess that was an answer to prayer." This comment is now a part of my natural conversation! If we start at an early age talking about answered prayers, then our children will recognize them and find them a natural part of Christian experience.

Activity

Construct and decorate a prayer box or can. If you want to be fancy, go to a craft store and purchase a papier-mché chest with a clasp, some fast drying paints, jewels, stickers, and glitter glue. For a more basic version, children may decorate a peanut can with a plastic lid.

Each night encourage the children to talk about their prayer requests. Write the prayer requests on a piece of paper. Ask younger children to draw a picture of their prayer request. You may also need to write the prayer requests on the pieces of paper for the children. Do not forget to talk about your own prayer requests with the children. Write your prayer requests on slips of paper and place them inside the box or can, too.

After one month, remove each slip from the container and reread the request. Discuss if the request was or was not answered. For those prayers that were answered, the children may write "ANSWERED" across the papers and place them in another container marked "ANSWERED PRAYERS."

If a request was not answered, return the paper to the prayer box or container and continue praying about it. Revisit the requests next month.

Prayer

Prayerfully recite Psalm 116:1-2 together while holding the container of answered prayers.

Discussion Questions

  • Does the number of answered prayers surprise you?
  • Were all your prayer requests answered in the way that you had anticipated? How were they answered similarly or differently?
  • Does God answer all our prayers?

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Posted in2005.

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