Dr. Tim D. Turner @2012
My academic degrees and university teaching experience are in the field of communications. From this background I am trained to consider the validity of Christian resources for children with effect of content and context. There are many books and curriculum in the market place meant to speak to children on Christian themes and values. Many of these are very good at communicating biblical stories, principles, and truths at the level that children can comprehend. These works have strong consistent message content. They are often clear, well organized, and written to the child’s intellectual and psychological development. Content wise, they seem solid. Unfortunately, they seem to achieve only a level of mental passive response. This is where Dr. Sunflower’s three books on teaching children to pray are separated from the others. The interactive nature of her prayer-times challenges the child to a “heart encounter”. She uses the four well-known styles of instruction identified in Jesus’ teaching methods (teachable moments, scripture, questions and modeling).
Prayers from the Heart actually provide a step-by-step developmental path for both the child and that child’s parent/facilitator/teacher. However, where Dr. Sunflower’s work surpasses the other books intended to teach children to pray, is her use of questioning, responsive reflection and shared planning in which the child is led to actively participate. In this process the parent/facilitator/teacher leads the child to pray, which ends with the child’s own personal prayer. Both the child and the parent/facilitator/teacher learn how express their thoughts and feelings and develop a relationship to personally communicate with God.
I heartily recommend you consider Prayers from the Heart.