Kindergarteners and 1st graders are very image-led so it seemed the perfect age to learn to pray and practice praying with visual prompts with their families. When we set the date for this Faith Milestone, we chose a few months after school began so we could use centers and circle time spaces the children had grown familiar with at school.
We announced it in the bulletin, sent personal emails, and a formal invitation. We set up the room with several round tables as centers, a place to eat cheese, crackers, and grapes, and a circle time space to begin filling “Prayer Kits.” The students gathered first at the circle time space to get their red bags to fill as they moved from center to center with their parents. I asked them “Do you pray?”, “Where do you pray?”, “Who do we pray to?”, “Why do we pray?” which made for precious conversation.
I read the first few pages of The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers and invited them to pick up a yellow clothespin to be clipped at home near their toothbrushes so they are reminded to pray when they brush their teeth. Then we sent them on to the prayer centers with their parents. This first I Can Pray event proved especially delightful to me as my students were all boys and it was their dads who participated. Pure sweetness!
We ended at the snack table where the students prepared a snack for each member of their families and prayed with their dads. After a few minutes, I joined the table as we enjoyed an echo prayer that I found from Mark Burrow’s ‘Children In Worship’ listing of action prayers and closed it out with elbow prayers (we touch elbows and echo a short prayer of thanksgiving.)
They brought home their prayer kits that included a bottle of bubbles, a silly putty egg, a Berenstain Bears book, a starter journal with hands traced, a yellow clothespin, and a glory bell. It took all of about 45 minutes immediately following the 11 o’clock service.
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'” Luke 11:1