“Prayer Chicken”

~By Julie Chatfield, Peace Children’s Ministry Director
One of the best ways to connect with God is through prayer.  It is fascinating that in spite of this, prayer is one of the hardest things to encourage children to do.  During our 45s pre-youth group, we have a long standing tradition of praying while holding a rubber chicken, because sometimes we feel “chicken” to pray.  The hope is that while holding this silly thing, kids will find the courage to lift up a prayer.  Prayers don’t have have to be long winded.  There are not “right” words.  They don’t even have to be inspirational.  Prayers are simply an expression of the heart. 
We have recently started a new prayer tradition during our Kids’ Own Worship during the 9:30 a.m. service.  At the end of class, one at at time each child is encouraged to look into a mirror.  As they gaze at themselves, I pronounce their names and state they are a special child of God.  The group at large then in unison repeats the said child’s name, speaking the blessing again.  In this scenario, children relish the opportunity to gaze into the mirror, hear their names, and be reminded they are special.  
Affirming your children is a simple and easy way to build their confidence and remind them of their worth.  It may seem hard at first, but there is no need to feel ‘chicken.” Your words don’t have to be long winded, and they don’t even have to be inspirational.  They simply need to be an expression of your heart.   Spend a moment this week,  look your children in the eyes and say one or two things about them you find special. 
1 Thessalonians 5:11  So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already.