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Praying with Children

Ármann Pálsson
Praying with Children

Wanna hear a secret? I am actually not a kid person. No really! I held Britt’s baby just this morning and despite my “on point” pitch of awe and cooing, my more than adequately soft padded arms and great movements of synchronized sway and jump, he still grunted, looked like he had alot of gas and eventually cried loudly to his momma for an immediate rescue! Talk about failure!

How do I call myself an effectual kid minister for the last 8 years when I can’t even wow an infant? Humility! Truthfully, kids humble me and I think they sense my respect! I have learned that if you wanna experience some serious awe and wonder of God – be with, love, laugh and listen to kids!

Let me share an example of how this worked for me and a child in learning something cool about prayer. This child just happens to be mine – but it is only because it is the most recent experience – not that this is standard or normal. Don’t worry next time I will talk about yours 😉

One night my squirmy, 4 year old says, “I don’t want to pray.”

I say, “…that isn’t an option…” (“Grace-filled”parenting rule number 1, broken! I know, dont judge:))

He then suggests “let’s kneel”. Clearly I was aware he was not suggesting this because he had read Psalm 95:6 ‘Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker’.  But I did wonder if it was a picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane from his beginner bible that gave him this idea. Honestly, I don’t know where he saw it (definitely not from me) or why he thought of this:) But I know the tingle of inspiration from the Holy Spirit when I hear it.

Anyway, we slid to the floor and immediately I felt it. Those bumps in my knees hit the floor and seemed to say, “what good do you think is going to come from this?” I Couldn’t answer that then but I can now – a few weeks later and many nights of this postion.

Here is the good that comes from this: It tells my body that my soul is gonna be “busy” for the next few minutes. The physical uncomfortableness of kneeling signals my brain to stay focused on this task, and this task only. That posture unmistakably humbles every fiber of my being and at the same time heightens every nerve with an unmistakable jitter that I am about to talk to a King, a supreme Higher being that I actually shouldn’t even be able to breath in front of because of His greatness and beauty!  My prayer immediately goes to the gospel. Only because of Christ do I dare this and do I have this right! It happens just that fast.  The very act of “kneeling” beside my boy – almost instantly prepped this hard, distracted, self absorded heart for words from the King. 

“You start Mommy!” he says 

I wind up with… 

“Thank you God for my little boy and speaking to him to tell us to pray this way, so that our bodies are helping our minds to give attention to you!”  I take a breath to begin some serious dialogue but pause because I am with a child and think I should trim it down.. He takes the silence as an invitation and says …

” ummm…ya ….God…Jesus! ya you are…. thank…your awesome..it is good! God help everyone in the whole world! AMEN!” 

And just like that, the Compline, the holy hour of evening prayer is done in 4 seconds! It took me longer to stagger up from my knees than it did in prayer that first night! But it was the best faith-filled prayer I had been a part of in a long time…but that is another story!

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