Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Prayers of Children

Yesterday Levi, my three year old, prayed at supper time. As with all prayers of little children, it was precious and of great importance to God. But when Levi came to the end of the prayer, instead of saying, "Ah-Ah-men, Ah-Ah-men", he said, "Here I am, Here I am." And the Spirit of God spoke to my heart and said, "That is a true 'Amen'."

I have learned a lot simply by listening to the prayers of children. God seems to speak to me through the simplicity, the unquestioning faith, and the lack of pretense. 

Children state what they want. I can remember working with a class of three-year-olds in preschool. Every day this one child would ask us to pray for trains and Hotdog Heaven (a local business). This young boy frequented this restaurant with his dad and watched the trains go by while they were there. That was special and fun to him and he wanted to make sure we prayed about those things. So we would pray, "Thank you God for Hotdog Heaven and for trains." Simplicity.

"You have taught children and infant to tell of your strength
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you."
Psalm 8:2 (NLT)

When my older children were smaller they would ask for things that I didn't think would happen. I remember them praying over and over for another sibling. How do you tell your children that just isn't going to come to pass? Well, the joke was on me because now we have Levi! They prayed with a faith that God answers the prayers of His children. And He did. Unquestioning faith.

When I first started  working with children I could get really anxious about explaining the gospel to them. Not because I thought the gospel was confusing, but how would I know if their little minds and little hearts were ready and really understood? It seemed like an impossible task. Then I was introduced to the concept of letting the children pray to God about knowing Him. No more "repeat after me" prayers. I would tell them the good news. Answer any questions and then give them the chance to talk to God. I would be the person listening in on this conversation with God. This revolutionized my work with children. I didn't have to figure out if a boy or girl really "got it." I learned simply to listen. A child will say what he means and mean what he says. Without pretense.

"Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."
Jesus, Matthew 19:14 (NLT)

What are some cute or poignant prayers you have heard from your children or grandchildren? Please tell your story below.

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