As a volunteer or a full-time children’s minister, it is important that we attend to our own spiritual lives and development in order to be able to minister to kids. One important aspect of our own spiritual lives is prayer. It is, after all, impossible to forge a relationship with someone without talking to them. Our relationship with God is no exception. A vibrant prayer life is critical to a healthy relationship with our Heavenly Father.
What happens when children pray?
Each Sunday morning I stand before the most gorgeous group of children and ask who wants to say our prayer today. Wow! Do the hands go up! It is extremely hard to pick just one child to pray when each of them wants to do it. Why do they want to pray? That is the real question. Is it because of peer pressure or because they think it will give them bonus points? I doubt either of those is the case. So why? Our children understand that God is present, God will provide, and God loves them. They understand that he will answer their prayers no matter how long it takes. But more than anything they have witnessed him working in there lives.
What happens when adults pray?
How much time do we, as adults, spend praying? Do our hands shoot up when someone ask us to do it? Why not? Many adults fell like praying is a very uncomfortable thing to do both publicly and within our homes. We often put prayer on the back burner because we have not recognized that our prayers are being answered. Maybe we just think our prayer is silly. Oftentimes, we don’t even think about prayer until it’s too late. When you don’t make prayer a priority in your life, things don’t happen. You don’t recognize that God is present, and we forget that if we have prayer and faith – he will provide.
Let me give you an example I was privileged enough to see firsthand. This awesome church that my family is members of had the chance to witness this first hand. We had to come to the realization as a congregation that we loved the church more than God. Everything we were doing was for the church. The programs were awesome, the people are awesome, the kids were awesome, but behind the scenes things were slowly taking a turn for the worse. Finances, key leaders, attitudes, relationship, egos, etc. were slowly becoming mouting problems. Through many days of phone calls and emails about what was and wasn’t working, not my Senior Pastor finally said:
“Ok enough!. We can talk and talk until we are all blue in the face, we can point fingers, and we can spend weeks trying to figure it ou,t but where will that really get us?”
So what he did was one of implement one of the most intentional plans that I have ever witnessed. He called a meeting with those of us at the church who desired to see this church do the incredible things it was meant to do. This was not a a gathering intended to achieve a meeting of the minds or determine how to fix it! No, this meeting had one and only one purpose – we were going to nothing but pray. Prayer had not been a priority in our church! We had not involved God! We had done and done and achieved and achieved so much that we have missed the most important thing. We had missed God’s plan! We resolved to meet at the Pastor’s house every Sunday night to pray and to begin studying prater in the Bible. We wanted to go back to the basics of praying and then move deep into scripture as we grew spiritually. God has made it very clear that he wants us to meet with each other one on one and pray as well. We call each other on the phone and pray. We email each other and pray. We pray as families, and we pray as an individuals.
This is what we’ve seen since we, as a community, began to be very intentional about spending time in prayer:
- People are growing spiritually.
- People are recognizing that prayers are being answered.
- Our Senior and Executive Pastors have grown closer in their relationship.
- Our Senior and Executive Pastors are spending more time with families on Sunday morning.
- Attitudes have changed.
- The environment has changed.
- Couples are praying together.
- Sunday night bible study has been consistent.
- We are experiencing more, and more genuine, community.
- Closer relationships are being built.
- Worship music is exceeding expectations.
- Offering has grown and sometimes doubled.
- Finances are continuing to get better.
- We, as a church, are making ourselves more available.
- Our congregations has nearly doubled.
- New families are coming in.
- Families that we haven’t seen in a while are coming back.
- The Donations for creating food baskets for needy doubled.
- Our Linus blanket project with the public school doubled.
- Prayer requests are being answered.
- The children’s ministry environment has changed dramatically.
- The children are stronger and so excited to be with us on Sunday morning.
- Letters to God has changed lives.
- Parents are growing, participating and using the resources made available to them.
This list continues to grow daily! If your church has been where our church was then I beg you to pull together and pray. Watch God work within your church and within your hearts. Let him reveal himself! Unless you involve God in your labors, your labors are in vain.
Do you pray as a community? Do you pray with those you do children’s ministry with? Are you intentional about finding times to pray? Do you pray with your children? Do you pray with your spouse? Do you keep a record of answered prayer?
If God has worked in your life through the power of prayer, please leave a comment and tell us your story!