Prayer has always been a very important part of my life. My parents taught me from a very young age to talk to God. They have always encouraged talking to Him just like a friend. However, as my children are getting to the age of awareness and understanding, I have shied away from teaching this to them. I'm not even sure why. May be it was laziness. All I know is that it was much easier to teach them the 'God is great, God is good' and 'Now I lay me' kind of prayers. Not that there is anything wrong with those. I just want my children to truly know God as their personal friend! I do not believe that can happen until they learn to make their prayers personal.
That said, I was blog hopping a few weeks ago at one of the link ups. I came across a blog post on children praying. I would love to direct you to it, but truthfully, I didn't think much of it at the time. It was an encouraging story of her children and their prayers. It wasn't until later that the Lord started working on me in this area.
I have been challenged recently to pray differently for my children (a future post). One day, during my prayer time, I was asking God to let my children know Him in a real and personal way. In that moment He spoke to me about teaching them to pray. I began to get convicted every time that we sat down to a meal and they rushed through their routine of prayer. That's what it had become to them. Not a special moment where they were able to thank God for the food and for family. It was a memorized jingle to them. That is when I knew that I needed to change my parenting.
Daddy T and I talked to the kiddos about really talking to God and how special it was. We told them to talk to Him just like they would us. I can not even begin to tell you how much their sweet, honest prayers have blessed me the last week. The honesty, the heart felt words, the innocence...
I am amazed at how much I have learned about my prayer life from my children. I long for the same purity and honesty that they have in their prayers. Mr Popper thanks God for all the people that are close to him. He asks that his daddy come home safely. He has started praying that God would give his mommy a minivan that was cheap enough for her to buy so that she can get the kids in easier. (tear) Why had I never thought to pray that?
I talk about how nice a van would be. I dream about how much easier it would be if we had a van, but never have I prayed for a van. Did I think that my Father was too busy for that request? or that I was being selfish? He already knows my heart and here I was hiding my true 'desires' and requests. I was busy covering it with all the religious wording and....just that, my words!
My Father desires my heart not my words.
So, tonight as I say my nightly prayers, I think I'll talk with Him about that request. I know that the van isn't a necessity, but I also know that God likes to bless His children. He also likes it when we are honest with Him and take Him our hearts.