From the lips of infants and children
You have ordained praise. (Psalm 8:2)
I have two children, both girls, and they like to pray. Well, my older one who’s
almost ten is leaning more towards rote prayers lately, but as long as she’s praying, I’m fine with that. My younger daughter who’s almost four, though, modifies our rote prayers in delightful ways. I’ve learned so much just from listening to her pray.
One, I learned she pays attention when I pray. Last week I was leading her naptime prayers, got to “Help me take a good nap so I can get the rest that I need,” and she threw herself backwards across my arm, dramatically flinging her arm across her eyes and huffing. Then she said slowly and concisely (so I’d be sure to get it, I guess), “You forgot to pray for Jake’s boo-boo.” I had forgotten to pray for my cousin (who was in a BMX accident last month and is now a person with quadriplegia). Instead of whispering back, “I wasn’t done,” I backed up and prayed for him before continuing the prayer.
Two, I’ve learned I shouldn’t care how trivial my conversations with God are. Today she took over the naptime prayer at “Please help me take a good nap…,” and she continued by telling God, “Please bless Sassy who wants to be in my room and playing in the closet.” Sometimes she’ll still say, “Please bless Octavia who died.” (Sassy is the girls’ cat; Octavia was my cat who died in February.) Whatever is on her heart and mind, she shares with God.
Why don’t we do that? What holds us back from speaking so openly? Do we think our prayers aren’t “holy enough” or that God couldn’t possibly care about that? Why don’t we just say, “God, I’m feeling really down today”? Or, “God, I am so happy that we got the house cleaned!”
- Prayer of intercession: Lord, teach us to pray (wonderingpreacher.wordpress.com)