One way to connect children with God is through “listening prayer.”
Let me explain what it means to hear God’s voice through prayer. Jesus said in John 10:4, “the sheep will follow the shepherd because they know his voice.” If you want to help children discover how to engage in listening prayer, be ready. It takes practice, modeling, and a little explanation!
Invite the children to think about their favorite name for God. Pause a few seconds for them to think. Then ask them to think about what they most want from God. It might be something like “help me,” or “speak to me,” or “forgive me.” Invite them to take a moment to think about their desires: “Now, while we listen to God, you can say God’s name or your request as often as you want, but quietly, in your heart. God can hear you.”
Tell the children, “Now, in this Listening Prayer we’re going to let God do the talking. We’ll trust that God is in this room with us and ready to speak to each of us. I’m going to ask you to sit quietly in a comfortable position. Now take a deep breath. We will spend several minutes in absolute silence. Relax. Listen. (Allow 5-10 minutes of silence for older children; 3- 4 minutes for younger children. If you use this spiritual practice often, children will be able to sit silently and listen for longer periods of time as they become accustomed to silent prayer.)
End the prayer time by simply saying, “Amen.” An important last step is to ask the children to share with you or with another student what they heard from God. Asking this question assures them that you believe that God will speak to them. It also allows you to help children begin to discern God’s voice by asking, “Does this sound like something God would say?”
Children need us to model times where we sit still and listen to the Holy Spirit communicate God’s heart to us.
Director of Content Administration