Back to School Psalm

Still
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Kids have asked me to pray about death, cancer, natural disasters, living in foster care, violence, a parent in jail, divorce, and bullies. I’ve also been asked to talk to God about goldfish, bulldozers, and fried chicken.

One of the best parts of my week is the time I spend praying for the children and volunteers in the children’s worship program I run. After I’ve set up each room, made sure the stories are complete, and accounted for the snacks and cups, then I get to pray. I like it best when nobody else is at church, so the building is quiet while I walk slowly from room to room praying for the following Sunday.

In each worship center I take the nametags off the wall and lift up to the Lord every child who has come through our program. Sometimes I ask for something specific, but most often I ask that they will know, way deep down, that God loves them and that they can be secure in God’s love.

We like to think of childhood as a carefree time, but often it isn’t. Kids have asked me to pray about death, cancer, natural disasters, living in foster care, violence, a parent in jail, divorce, and bullies. Of course, I’ve also been asked to talk to God about goldfish, bulldozers, and fried chicken.

I want the kids to be so secure in God’s love that they will come to God with everything, whether silly or serious. To help them do this, we write psalms together—after all, many psalms are about what someone is experiencing at a specific moment.

We use these prompts: What’s happening in your life? How do you feel about it? What do you want help with? What do you know about God? What are you going to do now?

Whether they are proud or would rather have been playing with dinosaurs, I pray that this practice plants the seed of turning to the Lord with whatever is going on, with whatever they are feeling. That’s what I’m doing when I pray for them. I am reminded of God’s love for them and for me, and it brings me peace.

Back to School Psalm (by 3- to 7-year-olds)

This week some kids went to school for the very first time
and some kids had their eighth day of first grade.
We played with dinosaurs and we got tattoos.
Some of us are excited to have some days off school, and others are sad.
Some of us are happy about school; others are nervous and sad.
We need your help with singing when it’s superfast.
We need your help with school and especially with sharing.
We know that you made all natural things
and you provided materials and made people who can make things like this table.
We know that you are here, here, here, here, and everywhere!
We know that you love us.
You love us so much that you know all our prayers—
there are no prayers where you say, “Nah, I don’t want to look at them.”
Because of that, I’m going to give hugs. I’m going to say “I love you” to people.
I will always say, “DONUT forget that God loves me!”

About the Author

Natalie Hart is a freelance writer and editor as well as the director of children’s ministries at Grace Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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