Friends of my family have three children (grades 1, 2 and 6) who manage to maintain an innocence and sense of wonder that so many children seem to lose early these days. They play their video games and watch Pokémon like their classmates, but their delight in the simplest of things is really striking to me.
These children appreciate so much that it’s a natural step to invite them to offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving. We need to work harder to do this with some children who come to us with the hardened shell of a sense of entitlement. It’s sad how those who have more often appreciate less.
Teaching children to pray is an important task of catechists. Prayers of praise and prayers of thanks are closely tied. Inspiring the wonder and gratitude that lead to prayers of praise and thanksgiving is vital to really teaching them to pray and develop a personal relationship with God. Once they open their minds and hearts to the wonder of God’s creation, it’s a natural next step to thank God. Other prayers—of petition, contrition, quiet, memorized, spontaneous, song, poetry, journaling—will grow from there.
A DVD resource that will help your catechists teach children (grades 1-5) to pray is Prayer With Young People
). It offers four programs: Prayer of Praise; Prayer Any Time, Any Place, About Anything; Prayer of Asking and Prayer of Quiet. These video programs, along with your catechists’ modeling and guidance, will help children make the important leap from knowing their prayers
to being pray-ers
A DVD resource for catechists, Doorway People: Prayer and Gospel Living for Catechists
, will help your catechists develop their own spirituality and prayer lives. Use it for catechist formation and retreats.