The Opening Prayer is an important part of every lesson for several reasons. First, it signals that it is time to start the class. The opening activities used while waiting for kids to arrive allow the children to converse and catch up on week long activities. When it is time to get serious, a prayer works great to facilitate this action. Also, an Opening Prayer will set the mood for the lesson while inviting the Holy Spirit to be in control.
The Opening Prayer should always include the following:
1. Praise to God for the opportunity to meet and for the attendance of everyone present.
2. A request for guidance, especially for the teacher so that the Word of God can be shared in a meaningful way.
3. Asking the children to be open to learning the Word of God and to invite the Holy Spirit to be present in both everyone's heart and in the classroom.
Because you are not as restricted to how much time you have left, the Opening Prayer works best for including prayer request and praises. With a new class, the children may not feel comfortable speaking up, but as they get to know each other they will be more open to sharing praises and prayer requests. Sharing like this can take a while, so it is important to make sure the kids stay focused on giving only a praise or a prayer request and not to become side-tracked on other issues. If the class size is very large, you may also want to consider dividing the kids into smaller groups and have prayer led by more than one adult leader or helper.
When including prayer request and praises, always consider the following:
1. Ensure everyone has a chance to contribute.
2. Rather then trusting your memory, be prepared to jot down what is said.
3. Be sure to touch on each child's requests. It is important to them to know that you care about them and that their prayers are important.
4. Make sure special needs of your church or church members are also mentioned.