Monday, March 9, 2009

"And a little child shall lead them..."

I've been reading a really neat book called "Parenting in the Pew" by Robbie Castleman. I loved this section on teaching your children about prayer.

"Prayer that is specific, concrete and arising from real-life situations fosters an honesty with God that can lead to a lifetime of experiencing redemption and grace. This kind of praying by children can encourage the same kind of realness and honesty in the prayer life of our churches. Corporate prayer in the church is all too often superficial and filled with parrot like religious phrases.
"Dear God, don't let Tommy get killed in the war" was the prayer on all of our hearts but on none of our adult lips one Sunday--until a child said it for us. Sunday-school teachers and trusted friends need to pray with the child who blurts out one morning, "My daddy has a girlfriend and doesn't love us anymore." The honest prayers of children remind us that our Father knows all the details, all the struggle, all the answers."

Emma has been calling out in the night that she's scared. When I go in to her...and I ask her what she needs she says, "Pray with me." That's why I entitled this blog, "And a little child shall lead them..." because it really humbled me. I was ready to get her drink, a night light, anything...but that didn't occur to me...much to my shame. She's started praying at meals too...and that's really cute, as she pauses and opens her eyes to check who she's praying for... She sings one of her songs so sweetly, "When I am afraid I will trust in You, I will trust in You, I will trust in You..."

As Robbie points out later in the book,

"It all starts with the little things. Teaching very young children to fold their hands and close their eyes is a way to enhance their ability to concentrate on what they are doing. These gestures are not prayer in and of themselves, but a means to that end. They need to be taught, shown, retaught and explained in that context."

This has really challenged us to not just say rote prayers...for meals, etc. Do you really think about what you say at meal times? Do you explain to the kids why you are praying for so and so? Ever take the kids to visit someone sick? They remember to pray for them more than you do! It's a challenge to my heart!!

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