Pray Like a Child

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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As steam wafted from the bowl of macaroni and cheese, our son would pray. Quite young at the time, maybe four or five, he always requested to pray at mealtime. These prayers lasted a while. Rather than cut him short, I learned to bring lids to the table, cover the food, bow my head, and give him all the time he needed, because who wants to stop an outpouring of thanksgiving? “Thank you, Lord, for Mama and Papa,” he would begin, expressing thanks for our family of six and for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins. Then he proceeded to thank God for our close friends and neighbors. The dog. Papa’s job. Our church. Our house. The minivan. Air conditioning. A new toothbrush. He would reflect on that day’s events and might even repeat some from the day before—things like a trip to the library, a movie he checked out, a bike ride, a cardinal he spotted through the window, the game of “Guess Who?” he played with the next door neighbor. He would even thank the Lord in advance for everything scheduled in the days to come. Eventually he’d bring it to a close with "thank you for this food, in Jesus’ name. Amen." His older sisters tired of these lengthy prayers, sighing as he launched a new category. To hungry siblings, he seemed to ramble. But he had a big heart that oozed gratitude, so I didn't rush him. Instead, I listened and silently joined him. Each day, each meal, I held the hand of a preschooler modeling prayer—and gratitude—as a habit. He reminded me how simple an earnest, heartfelt conversation with God can be. Marlo of Tales of Wonder also learned from her child how to pray. In a recent post she explained:
[T]he best prayer lesson I've gotten came from my daughter when she was two years old. It happened like this: The food steamed on the table. The silverware shone. Our older daughter, Bethany (then 5), squirmed in her seat. “Who’s gonna pray so we can eat?” She looked down at the spaghetti on her plate. I opened my mouth to volunteer, but before I could say a word, a little voice piped up from beside me. “Me do it. I pray.” I glanced at our two-year-old daughter, Joelle. “Okay, you do it. You know what to do?” She nodded. She’d never prayed out loud for a meal before, but she had heard us pray hundreds of times. We always asked God to bless the food and thanked Him for it. Joelle folded her hands as we all bowed our heads. Then, we waited. And waited. I peeked at her. “Go ahead, sweetie. Pray.” She closed her eyes. Then came her prayer, loud and clear over the table…
Find out what Joelle prayed—and Marlo learned—by reading Marlo’s post “How to Pray like a Two-Year-Old.” "shhh" photo by Kelly Langner Sauer. Used with permission. Post by Ann Kroeker.
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