last updated August 16, 2019
I was surprised to learn from a parent in my congregation that sometimes her young children would repeat phrases from my prayers at church in their own prayers before bed. On Sunday mornings when we thought they weren’t paying attention to worship–when they were looking at a kids’ book, or reaching for more Cheerios–they had actually been listening and learning some of my language of prayer.
For teaching older children to pray, I’m happy to recommend The Prayer Experiment Notebook by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes and Mina Munns (SPCK, 2018).
When parish priest Miranda Threlfall-Holmes couldn’t find resources on prayer suitable for her young teenage son, she decided to experiment. Each week she would design a creative prayer practice for her son to try, and he would rate the exercise and write a review. Their experiment together became a blog, then a book, and now it’s inspired this series of prayer experiments for children ages 8 to 12 years old.
As a former primary school teacher and now an Anglican priest, Mina Munns has a special interest in children and spiritual formation. She does a wonderful job over at Flame Creative Children’s Ministry with many imaginative ideas for children and families, for use at home and in church settings.
Together, Threlfall-Holmes and Munns have crafted 20 prayer exercises for children–from play dough prayers, to Lego Bible modelling, to rough times sandpaper prayers, to making your own prayer den. Instructions are given clearly and simply, with plenty of illustrations by Patrick Laurent, plus space for notes on “When I tried this,” “Things I found most helpful,” and “Things I might do differently next time.” The authors also include ratings and reviews written by children about their experience with each exercise.
So if you’re interested in teaching children to pray, if you’re a parent or grandparent of children ages 8-12 years old, if you’re a Sunday school teacher or children’s ministry worker or pastor, I’m happy to recommend this book.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: In the section on “Praying with your body,” children experiment with different postures of prayer–standing, sitting, kneeling, lying down, with arms outstretched, etc. How does your posture affect your praying?
Disclosure: SPCK books are distributed in North America by InterVarsity Press, and I received a complimentary copy for review. As always, the choice to review and the opinions expressed are my own.
If you’re interested in more writing-related and faith-focused articles,
and you’ll also receive a copy of my newest e-book.