7) Praying for
Praying for a sick child would be different from praying for a wounded/sad child who has experienced a loss. I’m also not clear if the child is with you when you are praying or if the other kids are praying for them.
Depending on the age of the child, it’s always best to be honest with everyone involved. It just depends on how deep you’d go. At the least I’d tell the others that “Susie is sad because she’s missing her mommy right now – or because her daddy is sick…even that Susie is sad because she feels sick right now and wants to be able to play. I feel sad when I feel sick, too. Jesus cares how we feel. He knows how it feels to be afraid and sad. Jesus is very close to Susie right now but Susie needs to feel it. Let’s ask Jesus to help her feel Him holding her in the palm of His hand and taking care of her.” That kind of talk gives younger children a mental picture so they are able to focus and know what they are praying for.
Even as we get older kids, that’s really what you’re praying for. As I’ve prayed with adults, I often find myself praying the same prayer because it’s all what we all want deep down inside when we’re sick and afraid – to know that God has us safely in His hand, watching over us. Adults have thanked me over and over for that prayer.
I agree that scripture is vital, just remember that when someone is hurt, they can’t focus to hear very well. They can only FEEL. When we pray with feeling words, they “get it”. Be sure you make your message clear and short. “The bible tells us that Jesus loves us enough to count the very hairs on our heads -and He loves you so much more than just your hair. He loves YOU. He leans down to see what you’ll say next. He laughs with you when you swing up high and throw back your head and laugh out loud. He sees every tear you cry. He even counts them and calls them precious.. That’s how much He loves you. He watches you sleep and thinks you’ve never looked cuter. He’s crazy about you!”
I’ve also had great success with telling kids that “the worse thing that Satan can do to you is to put you in the arms of Jesus”. Most kids will reply that they want to see Jesus…but not without Mommy. I always follow that up with: “Jesus knows that - so do you know what He does? If you get there before Mommy or Daddy, He’ll put you on His lap and start telling you the best story you’ve ever heard. Then, before the story is over, Mommy and Daddy will get there. You won’t even have time to miss them before they’ll be there.” The child will usually want to know about the rest of the story. I tell them that when their parents get there, Jesus will finish the story and then they can all go explore Heaven together.
Heaven can seem scary because all too often we never spend any time thinking of what it will be like when we get there. Spend some time with all of your kids dreaming of heaven. All the fun things you’ll do there. What it will look like, what it will smell like, what you will eat there. We know as adults that we can’t begin to touch what heaven will be like, but it needs to become a real place to us so we’ll want to go there.
No one wants to go to a place they’ve never thought of before. This is better than Disneyland. We need to be leading our students into a feeling of being aliens’ in a strange land here. We were meant for heaven. Not for earth. This isn’t home. Let’s not become so comfortable here that we don’t dream of heaven, our real home.
Director of Children's Ministry
Damascus Road Community Church
--from SSTN: Amen,
Jeannie! "Further up and further in." as C.S. Lewis writes it in the