Here are some ideas for each page of the book:
1. God wants me to talk to him. I can’t see him but he can hear me.
- Two sentences which say a lot. It’s amazing that God, our Creator, wants us to talk to him. It’s great if you can communicate this precious truth to your child through things you say and how you approach prayer.
- Perhaps on some readings, you could add something like, “I’m so pleased that God wants us to talk to him.” or "Isn’t it wonderful that God can hear us when we talk to him.”
- Little ones are concrete thinkers. At first they learn that you see people when you talk to them, and conversely, you talk to people you can see (I realise that the phone is an exception here). But it’s different with God. We can’t see him and yet he can hear us and we can talk to him (but just remember that we don’t audibly hear God). It would be helpful for you to add to this page, when your child is old enough, that God can see us as well as hear us.
- It’s intentional that on this page, and many following pages, we read “talk to him” or “talk to God” instead of the word ‘prayer’. It’s easier for little ones to understand and we are giving the definition of prayer before introducing the word ‘prayer’. We want our little ones to learn lots of things about talking to God before we have an extra thing they need to learn (i.e. the meaning of the word ‘prayer’).
2. I can talk to God in the daytime and he hears me.
- On page one we read that God “can hear me”. We also read that God wants us to talk to him. We now introduce the phrase “I can talk to God”. This is the first of a number of statements beginning with these words.
- Help your little one to understand ‘daytime’ (morning and afternoon, when it’s light)—perhaps by mentioning the things you do in the ‘daytime’ (i.e. concrete things that a child can relate to) rather than an explanation of the sun’s position in the sky. Thus talking about getting up out of bed, breakfast, morning tea, playtime, walking to the park, lunch, are all things we do in the daytime.
- Then connect this with prayer. You could say something like “We can talk to God in the daytime before we eat lunch”.
- This page introduces a phrase that will be repeated over the following pages, namely “and he hears me”. Little ones learn through repetition, and indeed thrive on repetition. At some point your child could join with you in saying “and he hears me”. Sometimes you could ask (before you turn the page) “Who hears you?”. If they haven’t the language to answer, you can say yourself “God hears you” or “God hears you when you talk to him in the daytime.”
3. I can talk to God in the nighttime. I can talk to God anytime and he hears me.
- A common time to pray is before children go to bed. It’s a time when you can thank God for the day, and maybe what you did, and also ask for God to look after us through the night. We only have ‘today’ because of God, so we end ‘today’ with thanks.
- As your little ones grow, they can learn that they can talk to God by themselves at night. An anxious child can be reminded that they can talk to God (e.g. when they feel afraid at night).
- Depending on the age of your child, it can be helpful to say that God doesn’t sleep. So he is awake ‘all night’ while we are asleep. We don’t have to wait for ‘God to wake up’ before we can talk to him.
- We can talk to God ‘anytime’ can be made more specific. When reading this page you could talk about a different time in the day when you can talk to God, e.g. at lunchtime, bedtime etc. We’re not saying that a child needs to talk to God at all those times, but they can talk to God at any of those times. Talking to God before we eat is a helpful habit to begin so your child is reminded to be thankful to God for food.
- My last point from the previous page about asking questions can be extended here. So for this page you could ask “Who hears you?” and then “When can you talk to God?” (two answers—nighttime and then anytime). And then you can reinforce it by saying “Yes! You can talk to God anytime! And God can hear you.” Also, on another reading, you could point to the pictures on either side of the page saying, “We can talk to God in the daytime” and “We can talk to God in the nighttime” and then “We can talk to God anytime! And God hears us.”
4. I can talk to God when I’m inside and he hears me.
- It’s possible for a child to think that when they are indoors, surrounded by walls, God might not be able to hear them. Also they would probably most often pray indoors.
- You can make this page specific for your child, by noting the room that you are in and that “We can talk to God in this room and God hears us.” Or even “God can hear us when we talk to him in this room and that room (name the different rooms where you live)”.
- In the original photo it’s more obvious that there’s a wall and floor behind the boy, but it needed to be cropped to fit on the page. Point behind the boy and say that it’s a wall.
- Here we have a child looking like they are praying, but we’re not saying that this is ‘how you are supposed to talk to God’. Putting hands together and/or closing eyes is helpful to do when you pray with a little one. It’s a cue that what you are about to do is talk to God (we don’t close our eyes when we talk to other people). It also communicates that this is something to be serious about—we close our eyes so that we’re not distracted, we treat God with respect (e.g. not praying while we are in the middle of eating) and we perhaps put our hands together so that we’re not playing with things. But we’re not saying that you have to close eyes or put hands together for God to hear you. And we’re not saying that you have to close eyes or put hands together to be able to talk to God.
5. I can talk to God outside and he hears me. I can talk to God wherever I am.
- You will need to make this specific for your child. Firstly, what is outside to a young child? When you are outside in different places, say something like, “We are outside. We are… in the park, next to a tree, on the grass…” etc.
- While you are outside it’s helpful to remind your child of all the things that God has made. So God is integral to the world around them. You can say things like, “God made the grass that we are walking on”, “God made this rock that we are sitting on”
- Then you can go on to say that we can talk to God when we sit on the grass, on the rock, etc. You could thank God for the flowers you can see, for the leaves in the trees, for the grass to sit on etc.
- Then you move to the generalisation that “I can talk to God wherever I am”. You can help this to be meaningful to your child by referring to different places your child might go to. You can then say “You can talk to God when you are… at the park, at Grandad’s house (etc) and God can hear you”.
6. I can talk to God quietly by myself and he hears me.
- Your child will probably most often pray with other people. But we don’t want a child to think that God only hears them, or they can only talk to God, when they are with others. So this page is reminding children that they can talk to God by themselves and God will hear them.
- We also want children to know that God can hear us no matter how quietly we talk. We can whisper as quietly as we can and God can still hear us.
- How well your child understands praying by themselves will depend on your child’s age and their stage of development. For little ones, prayer begins with an adult modelling to them how to pray and praying alongside them. Here are some points to give you an idea of how a child might develop in prayer (please note, the following is just a brief explanation to give you some ideas):
- At first they can listen to you. Remember to pray very short and simple prayers. They might be only one or two sentences long. Use words that your child will understand and pray for people and things your child knows.
- Then your child might join you in saying “Amen”.
- Talk to your child before you pray and say that “we are going to thank God for (or ask God to help)” and name a person your child knows. Your child can join you in praying by saying their name after you pray “Thank you God for…” (or “Please God help…”. If you have a mini photo album with photos of family and friends (see the suggestion for making a pictorial prayer diary in the online notes for Please God), you could turn to a photo and begin the prayer and your child can name the person in the photo.
- From saying people’s names, a child might be able to contribute to prayer in the following way: You first ask, “What could we say thank you to God for?” Your child might answer “Oranges”. You can then pray, “Thank you God for…” and your child could say the word “oranges”.
- You could have a thank you book with photos, pictures or drawings of things that you and your child could thank God for. When you ask “What could we say thank you to God for?”, your child could look in the Thank you God book and point to something, or point and say what it is.
- Over time you and your child could pray where your child says a sentence by themselves. Talk together about what they could pray for before they pray.
- Then you can encourage your child to pray by themselves.
7. I can talk to God with my family and with my friends. God always hears us.
- It’s most likely that if your child is with others praying they will be either family members or friends (e.g. at Sunday School or Kids church or creche). So you can make this personal to your child by talking to them about the times when they are with others talking to God (e.g. “At creche with your friends”, “when praying with family”).
- Here we move to a generalisation. In previous pages: God can hear us any time of day and wherever we are. God can hear us whether we talk to him alone or with others. God can hear us whether we’re whispering by ourselves or talking out loud. So we then say that “God always hears us”. We’ve been talking in specifics so that they can understand this generalisation.
- In this photo we see the child and parents with eyes closed and hands together or holding hands. You might want to refer to notes for the first page of this book, talking about things like holding hands. This photo is clearly showing them talking to God—that’s what I needed the photo to illustrate. However, it’s showing how we could talk to God (with eyes closed and hands together or holding hands) not what we have to do every time we talk to God and certainly not what we have to do for God to hear us. We’re not trying to push a legalism here.
8. I can talk to God when I’m happy and he hears me.
- It’s often when we are happy that we (both adults and children alike) can forget to talk to God. We pray to him when things are going wrong, or when we feel sad or sick, yet we can forget when we are happy and things are going well.
- It’s helpful to remind a child how you/they can talk to God in the happy times. Encourage thankfulness. Remember to thank him for the happy times.
- Another side to this, is to help your child learn that happiness shouldn’t be an expectation as if it’s a right. It’s a wonderful blessing when we are happy but children need to learn as they grow that life isn’t all about them being happy.
9. I can talk to God when I’m sad or when I’m sick. God always hears me.
- It’s really helpful for your child to learn that they can talk to God when they are sad or sick. All of our life should be lived in dependence on God. During the sad times and when we are sick, it’s a great comfort to know that we can talk to God.
- Talking to God at these times might be asking for his help. There’s more about this in the book Please help. Remember to model to your child the appropriate way to pray to him at these times. We are not treating God like someone who gives us whatever we ask for. We are not making demands of God. But rather, we are asking for his help. We as adults need to learn from Jesus when he prayed that God’s will might be done (Matthew 6:9-10), and we then need to think how we can communicate and model this to our child. God is God and we need to treat him as such.
- We have another generalisation here in “God always hears me”. This gives you the opportunity to make this generalisation applicable to your child’s life. There are many times and emotions that are not mentioned in this book. You can think about how to relate this to your child’s life.
- Also look out for times when it’s appropriate to talk to God and model to your child how to talk to God in a specific circumstance (maybe in response to something, or perhaps when you are about to go somewhere or do something).
10. I can say ‘Thank you God’. I can say ‘Please God help me’. I can say ‘Please God help my family and my friends’.
- For more about thanking God see the book called Thank you God.
- It’s good to be encouraging your child to be thankful to God in everyday life. Children can look at the world with an appreciation and wonder which can be lacking in adults. We can encourage our child to keep being thankful to God through their lives.
- For more about saying “Please God help” see the book called Please God. In that book children will be encouraged to be saying “Please God help me” rather than just “Please God”.
- It’s important for a child to remember that talking to God isn’t just about us. We can talk to God (i.e. pray) for other people.
- You can talk to your child about how they can pray for other people. When you say “Please God help my family” what could you say to God? Perhaps “Please God help my family to love you”.
- You can also talk to your child about how they can pray for themselves, eg “Please God help me when I’m&hellips;” or &ldqo;Please God help me to be kind”.
11. I can also say ‘Sorry God’.
- Here we introduce saying sorry to God. There is another book in this series called Sorry God which goes into more depth, so I will be brief here.
- It’s helpful to have three components when talking to God: thanks (and praise), asking God to help us, and saying sorry (confession). We might pray just one of these at a time when praying with a young child.
- It’s helpful for us to model confession to a child at a young age. Just a simple sentence or two like “Sorry God for…”. If your child has done something wrong you can encourage your child to say, for example, “Sorry God for not sharing”.
12. God’s book, the Bible, says God hears me when I talk to him. Talking to God is called prayer.
- Here we introduce the word ‘prayer’. All through this book we have referred to prayer as talking to God. So now our little ones learn that ‘talking to God’ is called ‘prayer’. It’s been deliberate, to help children know what prayer actually is and by the end of the book they can have a better understanding of what the word ‘prayer’ means.
13. “I love the Lord, because he hears me; he listens to my prayers.” Psalm 116 verse 1
- Explain that ‘Lord’ means God, and ‘listen’ means ‘hears’.
- “he hears me” is the phrase we have been repeating all through the book (so they have heard that before many times).
- To “love the Lord” means to love God. We don’t love God like we love people (whether it be hugging or being kind or helping). To love God means to want to please him, to want to listen to the Bible, to want to talk to him (i.e. in adult terms it’s to have a relationship with God). We love God by living the way he wants us to live—to treat God as God (to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” Deuteronomy 6:5 GNT)
- Little ones are concrete thinkers. It’s quite an abstract concept to love someone you can’t see. Remind your little one that God loves them (see God loves me in this series). Part of loving God is being thankful for what he has done for us—saying thank you for Jesus, thank you for God’s book the Bible. It’s about wanting to live the way he wants us to (and learning this from the Bible).
- You could also read Ps 116:2, “He listens to me every time I call to him.” If you read it, I would tell your child that here ‘call’ means to ‘talk to’.
14. Thank you God that you want me to talk to you. Thank you that you always hear me.
- We have so much to thank God for. The fact that God wants us to talk to him, and he hears us, is amazing. Help your child to see the privilege that it is (e.g. by expressing your own personal amazement).
- Saying ‘thank you’ to God isn’t just thanking him for things but it’s very much thanking God for who he is and what he does.
- And saying “Thank you” to God is one of the ways we talk to him. It’s important to remember to thank God.
Back to top