Children’s Ministry volunteer’s prayer can keep volunteers engaged, encouraged and empowered. This children’s ministry prayer highlights the preciousness of each encounter with every child. This could be the first time a child learns a new truth about God. And it could also be the last time they are with us to learn about God.
This prayer was created to be used by volunteers every time it’s their turn to help with children’s ministry. Before we prayed this Children’s Ministry Volunteer’s prayer out loud together at our Fall Children’s Ministry volunteers gathering we told them the story behind the prayer.
The story behind this Children’s Ministry Volunteer’s prayer
A month before writing this prayer I went on a mission trip to a church in Siberia, Russia where I was a children’s ministry volunteer helping with a 3 day children’s Bible school. I’d been a part of countless Bible schools over the years and at first I questioned whether the time and expense of travel was worth it just to be a helper with this seemingly ordinary ministry back in the U.S.
The first generation being raised knowing Jesus.
The church minister soon opened my eyes to the vital importance of this children’s ministry volunteer work by telling us how thrilled and excited they were because this would be the first generation of children raised knowing Jesus. The minister herself had been raised under Communism with no belief in God and an atheistic view of the world. She felt that her generation still had what she called an old mindset of still being in slavery to their upbringing that was hard to unlearn as an adult. She saw the children as the promise of the future of faith in her country. With much joy she looked forward to what these children might be able to accomplish for God given such a glorious opportunity to have their lives shaped by Christ as a child.
The first time a child heard the story of Adam and Eve.
At the end of the first day of the Bible school they asked the children to share what they had learned. One tall blonde boy who was about ten said it was the first time he had heard the story of Adam and Eve. I was extremely surprised because this story seems so well known in the U.S. Ask anyone on the street here, even those with no religious upbringing at all, and they would recognize Adam and Eve as the first two people created by God.
The first time a handicapped child felt accepted.
During Bible school a young boy from a neighboring village stood out because of his handicaps. Both of his hands were deformed, missing the middle fingers, and he only had one leg and a stiff prosthetic leg that made him walk by dragging it awkwardly along. We were told that although he attended school, he spent much of his after school time in his impoverished home doing things alone because in their culture, those who are different are not readily accepted. I became his friend and it was marvelous to see that by the last day of the Bible school he was doing an odd skip around the field outside the church having a water fight with the other children.
How love bridges the language barrier.
As part of the story, I told our children’s ministry volunteers that I didn’t speak a word of Russian, and the children didn’t speak a word of English. We had a general translator during group sessions, but they weren’t available to help us interact with the children. And so our interactions took place on a different level – a level of nonverbal smiles, encouragement and loving acceptance. I pointed out that we were shepherds, not teachers. Yet we felt profoundly moved by what this small role had enabled us to experience by being a part of God’s reaching out to these children.
The last time we’ll ever be there again?
I returned home already imagining going back the next summer to build on this wonderful ministry. Then, about 2 weeks after our return, the church in Russia and those of us in the US were shocked when a new bill was signed into law that forbids evangelism in Russia. We had travelled under a religious visa. Barring a miracle, the window of opportunity had closed. So this may have been our very first and our very last time to share the love of Jesus with the children in Siberia.
This experience became the basis of the prayer I wrote for our children’s ministry volunteers to keep them envisioning the preciousness of each moment of Christian education is in a child’s life because this could be the first time they learn something new about God and it could also be the last time they are in a setting to learn more.
Children’s Ministry Volunteer’s Vision Renewing Prayer
Dear Loving Father,
As I prepare once again to take my turn as a volunteer with children’s ministry, renew my vision of the preciousness of each moment.
This could be the first time a child hears today’s Bible story.
This could be the first time a child understands something new and amazing about God.
This could be the first time a child feels accepted and loved for who they are.
This could be the first child in their family to be brought up knowing Jesus.
This could be the first child in a neighborhood or a school who brings a friend to church.
And even if this turns out to be the last time a child is a part of our ministry, help them to never forget that they are loved and accepted by you in this place and in your Kingdom. Amen
How I used this prayer
We printed this prayer out on cardstock at the children’s ministry volunteer training session before the new school year. We told the volunteers the story behind the prayer. We suggested that the volunteers put the prayer card in their Bible or post it on their refrigerator or at their desk so they could be reminded of the importance of remembering God’s vision for their work and the importance of prayer.
We then invited those at the volunteer training session to pray the prayer out loud together. Afterwards a member of our church prayer team said a prayer of blessing over the volunteers.
Using this prayer
For copyright permission to print this prayer for your group, please send your request to [email protected]
Copyright Karen Barber 2016. All rights reserved.