Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Seven-Year-Olds Pray

It's a breathtaking, head-shaking wonder when students become teachers. Even more so when they don't even realize it.

Every two weeks a new student gets the 'job' of praying before snack, lunch and at the end of the day. I am blown away when I hear the prayers of these second graders, and I've begun to learn how childlike praying looks.

When they share prayer requests and praise reports in the morning, it often turns into plain-old sharing. There isn't really a request or a praise involved, if you know what I mean. And honestly, at first it bothered me. I wanted to get on with the business of praying. And then one day I had an epiphany-- all too often in my own prayer life I am trying to do business, and not sitting with God and sharing life with him, like these little children do.

A few of the students pray scripture. Let me tell you, your heart does a sort of flip-flop when it hears a seven year old say, "God, please help us today to not turn to the right or to the left. Help us stay focused on our schoolwork, and on you, and to be kind to each other." Wow. They may not know many scriptures, but they make use of the ones they know. What if us knowledgeable, capable grownups took the word of God more seriously, like these little children do, and believed it to the point of praying it over ourselves, our coworkers, our friends?

They pray over things so small they seem inconsequential, and then turn around and pray about things that seem insurmountable. Both are examples of huge faith. They are signs of the little children acknowledging their dependance on God, their trust he hears them through Jesus, and their confidence in his character. They realize nothing is too small for God, nor to big. The catch is, as seven-year-olds, they haven't learned to be independent like the rest of us. They know nothing but dependance, and their prayers show it.

And the beautiful thing is, even us grownups can learn to pray like Little Children again.

"Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:4 (read the story here)

What prayers have you heard Little Children pray that amazed you?

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