One bright Sunday morning, I heard the voice of my grandmother. I was five years old and was enjoying spending the weekend with her. On Sunday mornings my grandmother would make homemade biscuits and fresh orange juice and then lay everything out on her glass table in the kitchen. My cousin and I could smell the aroma and we hurried downstairs. Before we could eat, my grandmother would ask each person at the table to say a prayer.
I remember the first Sunday I was able to say my prayer, and I was so nervous! My grandmother looked at me with reassuring eyes and said “Honey, prayer is just you talking to God like you are sitting on his lap. You don’t have to impress us, just say what’s on your heart to Him.” When my grandmother said that to me, all the nervousness left and it was just me and God. That one quote radically transformed the way I viewed prayer. No one to impress, no fancy words. Just me and God!
Prayer is essential for the believer. It’s an opportunity to spend time with God and to understand the heart of God. United States President Harry S. Truman considered prayer to be so vital that he proclaimed a National Day of Prayer. Officially signed into law in 1952, the National Day of Prayer is a day when people of all faiths are asked to pray for our nation.
Here are some of the resources we’ve compiled to help you and your children observe this special holiday.
Ways Your Family Can Join the National Day of Prayer
Using arts and crafts is a fun way to teach children the importance of prayer, who and what they should pray for, and how they should pray. Below are some creative and crafty ideas!
Praying Hands Activity
The Five Finger Prayer is a fun and visual, and simple way to teach children what and who to pray for. It helps to remind children that prayer is, as my grandmother taught me, a conversation with God like you would have as a friend. Each finger on a hand signifies a person to pray for.
Make Your Own Prayer Box
A prayer box can be a wonderful way to introduce and incorporate prayer into your home. Prayer boxes can be used to keep prayers that you and your family write down and then store inside the box. Pick an easily accessible and common space where everyone in your family is able to readily access it. Here are some ideas on how your family can use the prayer box:
- Pick a day to set aside with your family where everyone grabs a prayer out of the prayer box and then dedicates the next 5 days to praying for the need on that list.
- Start a new morning ritual, before you grab your bagel or cereal for your breakfast grab a prayer out of the prayer box and pray for that need before you eat!
- Before you go to bed, take time as a family to write down your prayers together and place them in the prayer box.
Want to get started on designing, creating, and decorating your prayer box with your family? Find some ideas here.
Utilize Prayer Resources
Prayer can sometimes be intimidating for children. Introducing them to the concept of prayer is important even at an early age for children to become more comfortable with praying. We have listed some of our favorite resources to help teach your children more about prayer and to spark dialogue and conversation with your family:
Prayer: The Practice of Talking To God offers practical help for teaching kids the sacred art of communicating with their heavenly Father. This guide will help to open the door for your family to grow in the practice of prayer. One of my favorite resources that I’ve used with my family, this mini ebook is full of simple ideas and biblical truth that guides adults on how to lead children to cultivate a vibrant prayer life.
Prayer is conversation with God, we can come to God with all of our prayers and frustrations and we trust and believe that he will help us and direct us. But why would you talk to God about a sardine sandwich? In this funny and entertaining vlog, Gabe finds out how easy it is to pray with the help of his friends.
This episode of the Jungle Beat 5 Minute Family Devotional encourages your kids to think about praying first thing in the morning. Using scripture and interactive questions, this video helps to facilitate conversations about prayer in just 5-10 minutes at the dinner table, at bedtime, or on go.
We hope the resources we have listed for you give you ideas on how to commemorate the National Day of Prayer with your family. The focus of these activities is to help your family cultivate and develop a culture of prayer- beyond the National Day of Prayer. Praying with your family helps to strengthen the bond between family members, strengthen your faith as a family, and ultimately strengthen your walk with God as a family. The best way to begin teaching your children about prayer is to pray around them. Take every opportunity to pray in front of them and with them.