I am currently reading a Sheila Walsh book called “Get Off Your Knees and Pray”. I’m not too far into it yet (because I have been reading too many other books), but there is a chapter early on where she asks some of her 10 year old sons friends what the Bible says about prayer. A few of their responses were:
“Don’t even try it if you’re mad with your dad–God won’t be listening.”
“Remember to say amen or everyone’s food will get cold.”
“Just concentrate on God and try not to fall asleep.”
She goes on to say that when she asked the question, their tone of voice and animation changed and they became quiet, gentle, and reverent (just during this part of the conversation then things were crazy as usual). This really hit an old sore spot with me.
I remember as a kid, I didn’t know much about prayer either. I went to church and heard prayers and I remember on tons of occasions hearing my Nanny (who I lived with) praying and even sometimes weeping during prayer in her room, but I was a kid and other than blessing food sometimes, wasn’t called on to pray out loud. I felt like God was too busy taking care of all the big adult problems and mine weren’t that important. I don’t think I was really taught this, I just wasn’t taught differently.
When I was about 9 or 10, I went on a competition trip with my Baton group to Denver and sometime during that trip was asked to pray out loud about something. I was terrified, but prayed my 10 year old prayer and said AMEN as fast as I could. Unfortunately, there was a girl in my group who laughed and laughed and made so much fun of me because my prayer was simple and spoken like the 10 year old I was. She apparently had been taught to pray with beautiful words, with a holy voice, and to speak like she never did in her real life.
The worst part was I spent years feeling like my prayers weren’t good enough and it wasn’t until way into my adult life that I ever prayed out loud in front of someone again. It took me a long time to figure out that I didn’t need to be someone I wasn’t when I come before God. Kids and even adults can be cruel, sometimes without even knowing the impact they have, and it’s unfortunate how someone’s words can stick with us so long and how we let the enemy use those words against us for years.
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:2-6
Over all the years of doing Children’s Ministry with my hubby, this has been something at the top of my list with kids. We don’t need to pretend we are something we aren’t, God know us, the good and the bad. He knows where we are, who we are, and how we are. We need to be in complete AWE of Him but not afraid to bear all in the way we can. He is way more concerned THAT we talk to Him, than how we talk to Him.
Kids say what they think, think what they are taught, and they learn from our actions way more than they do from our words. If we are teaching them the right things, giving them a strong biblical foundation, and modeling a true relationship with Jesus, they will have what it takes to ignore unkind words and attacks from the enemy. They will know who they are in CHRIST.
Join me in working to make sure every child knows, sees, and feels the love of Jesus!!
Counting it all Joy!!