Are you modeling?
by Erin on January 27th, 2012

Wednesdays and Saturdays are great days for me. These are days when I for sure get to hear lots of children, other than my own children, praying. There is nothing better than to hear a child pray. Even better, I love it when they are jumping on their tiptoes saying, “Pick me, pick me!” as if they were being chosen for the coveted line leader position. A child’s prayers are just that, so childlike. They are completely uncensored, so raw.

Whether you are a parent or not, encourage children to pray. Sure, they can pray the scripted, “Now I lay me down to sleep,” or as Jesus directed, “Our father who art in Heaven,” but also challenge them to be even more intentional in their praying. Let them hear your prayers. Children learn from modeled behavior. Even as babies, they model behavior – smile at them, and they will smile back at you.

As they grow, no longer does the “do as I say, not as I do” model work. In the movie The Way directed/acted in by the Sheens, there’s a scene where a father is really ticked off at his son for stealing. The father, while talking to some people, says, “Our children are the best and worst of us.” Ouch! Isn’t that so true? I know it is for me. I see my worst when my children lack patience (wonder where they learned that from), act selfish (hmmmm….again, I am wondering) and fearful (ok, I am getting the picture). Is best and worst innate or learned? Maybe a little bit of both. We can’t always improve the innate, but we can improve the environment around them.

We can’t expect our children to be comfortable praying if they don’t see us praying out loud as well. We are told to “Train up a child in the way he should go.” (Proverbs 22:6a) Why? We need to lay the foundation for righteous living early on so that “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6b) There is so much coming at children today. They need to learn early on where they can turn to for help. They need to know how to “call upon” God just like they ask for help from their earthly parents, caretakers, teachers and friends.

During one of my grandfather’s recent visits, he went to church with us. Let’s just say that our worship service is a lot different than his. At the end of the service, I asked him what he thought.

Me: So, Grandpa, what did you think?

Grandpa: It was good. I just didn’t know any of the prayers the preacher was saying.

Me: (giggle, giggle) Well, Grandpa, that’s because he was praying from the heart.

Grandpa: Hmmm…..

We are never too old, or too young, to learn from or model to. Never.

Praying is the way in which we communicate to God. Praying is a time when we lay it all out for God. He wants us to bring him the good, the bad and the ugly. He already knows what we are going to ask for even before we ask it. He sees our heart all the time. There is no hiding from Him. It’s not just about what we want or what we need, instead, it should be an ongoing dialogue with Him. Seek Him. Talk to Him. Praise Him. Thank Him.

“Never stop praying.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT))


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1 Comments

Spenser - January 29th, 2012 at 5:02 PM
Nice your doing a great job! Keep it up.
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