Whirlwind Mission in Watonga applied for a $500 experimental grant from the Diocese to try a pillowcase prayer ministry as a way to connect with the children in their community. While almost every child is comfortable in a conversation, they might feel like they don’t have the right words to talk to God. It is so important that we encourage kids to pray.
For Darrel James, a Whirlwind Oakerhater Episcopal Church member in Watonga, he hoped a Pillowcase Prayer will give them tools and language for prayer to help ease the awkwardness.
“I want our congregation, and particularly the kids, to understand the importance of prayer,” said James. “This project will help them share what they have learned with family and friends, where they can help create a prayerful tribal community.”
The pillowcases were distributed on Sunday, December 18 during its Christmas program. It has a prayer and song printed in both English and Cheyenne language, including the church logo. The church is mostly composed of Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members.The project goal is a yearly effort that aims to increase children and youth awareness of the importance of personal prayer.
“The Whirlwind Mission is a praying church,” said James, who assists Deacon Rev. Pat Gonzales in morning worship. “Our pastor always encourages the church to pray. If we as believers want to see the move of God that the early church saw, we must pray just as they did.”
The pillowcase contains four lines of prayer and song: God our Father, We thank you, For the many Blessings, Amen! It is followed in Cheyenne tribal language: he’o ma’heo’ ne’a’ seh’ mene’ tse nae setse mene he’h ‘na hae neh .
James also believes kids may not understand that prayer is simply a conversation with God – just like their daily conversation with parents.Building prayerful skills in home, whether at the dinner table or bedside is another goal of the project. Church members also received a fridge magnet that could be a reminder every time they went for a snack break and several bookmarks to remind them of God’s love even when they’re stuck in a book.
1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
“I want the kids to start praying or deepen their prayer life. To pray with their families. Show me a praying Christian and church, and I will show you a victorious Christian and church,” he said.