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Amen!

Susan Sorenson


PRAYER-DRIVEN KIDS
Blue eyes peered out from beneath the bill of a painter's cap. Twyla moved like a hummingbird from person to person, stopping to place her hand on a shoulder, bow her head, and whisper a prayer of blessing, of comfort, or of healing. When she finished, she'd give the adult a quick pat on the forearm for encouragement and move on to the next person. Twyla was only 8 years old.

I wanted what Twyla had for the kids in our ministry. I wanted what she had for myself. That fall, our children's ministry began its transformation.

It Started With Me. The first thing I had to come to terms with was my own prayerlessness. Did I truly believe in prayer? I determined that, in all honesty, I really hadn't experienced the power of prayer, but I wanted to. That decision propelled my prayer life. As I learned from faithful people such as Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, Dutch Sheets, and people in my church, I developed a greater admiration for this vehicle that delivered my heart into the hands of God.

It Spread to Our Team. At our annual volunteer luncheon, our children's ministry volunteers walked into an "explosive" situation decorated with reds and golds. Our centerpieces were stacks of giant, red construction paper firecrackers with metallic tinsel spraying from the ends. Each firecracker had a PrayKids magazine, a "Let Us Pray" lapel pin, a handful of Red Hots candies, and a laminated copy of our children's ministry prayer card.

I shared my vision for allowing our kids to pray, and we agreed to intentionally allow more times and situations for the kids to pray. After that commitment, we were able to focus on ways to equip kids to pray.

After our event, I approached a few people who have a heart for prayer. I asked these folks to be my Children's Ministry Prayer Leadership Team. They agreed to identify and implement new praying ideas and processes as well as evaluate and maintain a prayer focus throughout our ministry.

The Kids Got It. We implemented prayer tools right away. A mom created a blanket made with all the countries of the world on one side and many different-colored hands on the other side. When children pray for a specific country, they touch the country. Or when we have children pray for another child in the room, they drape the blanket over the child and lay their hands on top of the hands on the fabric.

In our elementary room, we started a Kids' Prayer Team. The Kids' Prayer Team receives a list of prayer needs of the children's ministry volunteers every two weeks and prays for those needs. This prayer activity brought our volunteers and kids closer while funneling more of God's involvement into their lives.

Meanwhile, the Children's Ministry Prayer Leadership Team was busy helping the teachers incorporate new prayer activities into their classrooms, evaluating new programs, and creating new ideas. Based on Prayer Point Press' "Keys to the Kingdom: Prayers for my Children" cards (www.renewalministries.com), we created prayer cards each week for the babies and toddlers in our nursery. We pray the verse from the card over each child, place a sticker that reads, "I was prayed for" on each child's back, and give the card to the parents when they come to pick up their child. This process gets our volunteers praying, blesses the child, and encourages the parents.

Throughout this adventure, I've been witness to many amazing moments. A military surgeon came as a guest speaker, and our kids gathered around her and prayed for her and the soldiers overseas just weeks before the war with Iraq began. And I've walked down the halls of our ministry dozens of times to see classroom after classroom full of children of all ages praying for their relatives, their world, and themselves. God is definitely answering my prayer to have prayer-driven kids.
Scott Whaley
Las Vegas, Nevada

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