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There is a spiritual center in each and every one of us. Isn’t that remarkable? We’re not just a mechanical arrangement of chemicals destined one day to disintegrate. We all intensely yearn for the indescribable and enduring love that lives inside. This is true of children as well.
How do we know this?
First, the saints and sages of every spiritual path, for thousands of years, have proclaimed it and drew their daily practices from it. And second, over the last few decades, a steadily growing corpus of scientific research has documented the same fact. This research has been presented in a recent book, The Spiritual Child, by Lisa Miller, a Colombia University psychologist.
What does this mean today for a parent of a young child? It means that a child’s spirituality needs to be intentionally nurtured and developed.
Let’s nurture our children’s spirituality by inviting them to the spiritual practices. The practices are the foundation of the spiritual journey. There are several practices. The two we are currently focusing on are prayer and the study of the saints and sages.
nnnnnnnnnnPrayer Can Be Fun
This website begins with prayer, but not the formalized prayer we immediately think of. It introduces the child to the prayers that already lay inside. How can the child access these prayers? First, they have a model in Amy, the young girl of our book, Amy’s Best Friend, Prayers of a Child. And second, this same book includes a simple, bedtime technique that stimulates these non-formalized prayers. It is all non-denominational and fully illustrated for children 3-9 years old.
Click here to learn more about Amy’s Best Friend.
nnnnnGetting To Know the Saints
The second focus of this website is the study of the lives of the saints and sages. We have chosen six saints; three are still with us, three have passed away; three are male and three are female. They each come from one of our major spiritual traditions. They are all present in the book, Amy Meets the Saints and Sages, A Young Person’s Adventures in Spirituality. Amy Meets the Saints and Sages is fully illustrated and for children 7-12 years old.
A saint, in Amy Meets the Saints and Sages, is introduced with a short and reverent biography providing necessary conceptual material. Then a story is told of each saint, Saint Francis and the Wolf, for example. Finally Amy, now quite a bit older, has time with each saint to respond to the story. Sometimes she just disputes the saint’s view and doesn’t hesitate to express her disagreement. It’s all fun and stimulating.
This familiarity with the saints and sages of major traditions is armor to dispel religious intolerance, and thus combat terrorism. Mahatma Gandhi has said “It is a sacred duty of every individual to have an appreciative understanding of other religions” ( in The Fragrance of Faith by Jamal Rahman).
Click here to learn more about Amy Meets the Saints and Sages.
Copyright 2012-2016 Ernest Rosenberg All Rights Reserved
This first Sunday school lesson of a series that will introduce children to the importance of prayer in their daily lives.
Christian Living, Knowing God, Listening, Prayer, Relationships
AS KIDS ARRIVE (10 minutes)
Display the following items on a table:
Telephone Newspaper Letters & Envelopes Road Map Radio
As the children arrive, give them a sheet of paper and ask them to list what they think the items on the table have in common. Just before class starts let the kids know that all the things displayed on the table are used to communicate with each other. Today our lesson is about another way we communicate. More specifically, it is about how we communicate with God.
OPENING PRAYER AND PRAISE (5 minutes)
Further info? Click here
MEMORY WORK (12 minutes)
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
Write the verse on the board. Say the verse together as a group several times. Then erase one word. Have the kids say the verse correctly again with the missing word. Then erase another word and say the verse again. Continue erasing words until the kids can say the entire verse without seeing the words.
SCRIPTURE READING AND DISCUSSION (15 minutes)
Today we will learn that prayer is communicating or talking with God. We may not be able to call God on the telephone or send Him a letter, but prayer is just as real as e-mail or newspapers. Why should we pray? Because it makes our relationship with God stronger. Could you imagine trying to have a best friend without communicating with them? Prayer is seeking God and His direction for our lives. Praying also helps keep us out of trouble. Jesus told us to pray, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41)
Read James 5:13-16 (The Prayer of Faith)
Have the kids find James 5:13-16 in their Bibles. Ask for a volunteer to read the passage, or if you prefer, read the passage to the children yourself.
1. What is prayer? (Prayer is spiritual communication between ourselves and God.)
2. Can you pray when you are in trouble? (Yes.)
3. Can you pray when you are happy? (Yes.)
4. What is another name for happy prayers? (Praises.)
5. What are some of the examples of why to pray mentioned in James 5:13-16? (When you are in trouble, when you are happy, when you are sick, to show faith, for confession of sin, and to pray for others.)
6. What else can we pray for? (Some examples include: Guidance, Protection, Strength, Wisdom.)
7. Is the prayer of a righteous man powerful? Is it effective? (Yes the Bible tells us in James 5:16b that the prayers of the righteous are both powerful and effective.)
CLASS EXERCISE (5 minutes)
Answers Without Speaking (Activity) Click here
ALTERNATE CLASS EXERCISE (20 minutes)
Jesus Pillow (Craft) Click here
APPLICATION (2 minutes)
Why pray? It’s simple, to talk with God and to get His direction for our lives. God is so good and will help us when we are happy, sad, sick or even when we’re in trouble. God will give us wisdom, strength and understanding if we only ask Him. In fact God is willing to give us many good things as long as we ask for them in accordance to His Will. God answers our prayers with signs, the Holy Spirit and His Word, the Bible. When we pray our relationship with God grows.
Did you ever see a human that thought he was a robot? If not, be sure to come back next week.
CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)
Further info? Click here
TAKE HOME PAGE
Give one copy to each child at the end of the class to take home. Click here for NIV or KJV
This is a daily prayer is for all married couples who long for a child. Husband and wife may hold hands while reciting this prayer.
God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; God who created the universe and sustains it every moment, we praise you, we thank you and we glorify you.
Lord, you who gave a child to Abraham, we thank you, we praise you. Seeing the tears of Hanna, Lord you gave her a child. Elizabeth who was barren in her old age, you blessed her with a child.
You who are the giver of all perfect gifts, we ask you to bless us with wonderful children, who will be your chosen instruments to spread your love. The days/months/years of our sorrow and pain for not having a child, we surrender it to you.
We forgive every person who has insulted us or made fun of us because we were not blessed with a child. Jesus, our Lord and Master, bless whose who have hurt us. Fill them with your Holy Spirit.
Lord, whatever be the obstacle to have a child, let it be taken away from us right now with the power of Your precious blood and precious name.
Praise You Jesus. Thank You Jesus. Amen