Encourage a Child’s Faith-filled Prayer

24 Oct

Pam sent me these funnies, which she received from a friend in a long list of funny anecdotes. First, there’s this one, about a little girl’s prayer:

“When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and Girl at Betdime Prayingevery animal (current and past).

“For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, ‘And all girls.’  This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing.

“My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, ‘Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?’

” Her response:  ‘Because everybody always finishes their prayers by saying, ‘All Men’!”

And then there’s this adorable little boy:

Dinnertime Prayer“Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.

“‘Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer,’ his mother said.

“‘I don’t need to,’ the boy replied.

“‘Of course, you do,’ his mother insisted. ‘We always say a prayer before eating at our house.’

“‘That’s at our house,’ Little Johnny explained. ‘But this is Grandma’s house, and she knows how to cook!‘” (1)

I (Dawn) love practical devotionals that encourage my faith or inspire hope (which is one reason Pam and I wrote LOL with God! The other day, as I was cleaning out a bookshelf, I came across a warm, creative book by Cheri Fuller titled When Families Pray. This devotional uses short, present-day stories of answered prayer to remind families that every person in the family can have intimacy with God and connect with Him in powerful prayer.

A favorite chapter, “Prayer Lessons from a Child,” reminded me to pray with childlike faith, believing that nothing is impossible for God. He still performs miracles for those who trust Him.

In the story, a little boy named Jeffrey watched his grandfather’s health deteriorate due to irreversible heart disease. Eventually, he ended up in the intensive care unit (ICU) with gangrene spreading through his leg, but the doctors did not recommend surgery (amputation), believing he was not strong enough to survive the operation. The family resigned themselves to waiting for the inevitable.

Grandpa told everyone he was ready to go “when it’s God’s time.” Three days later, it seemed it was “Grandpa’s time,” and all the family members streamed in and out of his room, saying good-bye. Little Jeffrey, age nine, was left at home, but he begged to see his grandpa. “I need to see Grandpa,” he said. “It seems like God wants me to be there.”

The nurse took Jeffrey in to see Grandpa, who was in critical condition. As he left, the nurse said, “… the Lord will take him when He’s ready.”

“But I prayed for my Grandpa,” Jeffrey said with confidence, “and God’s going to answer my prayer.” He later told his mother, “Grandpa isn’t going to die today; God told me!” And the little boy prayed through the night for his beloved grandfather.

The next afternoon, a phone call came.

They had shut down the monitors, taking Grandpa off life support… Woman on Phoneand then pronounced him dead. But just as Jeffrey’s mother was hanging up the phone she heard her brother yell, “Oh my gosh … he’s sitting up!”

The confounded doctors and family members by his bed heard Grandpa say, “The Lord hasn’t come for me yet!”

For the next three days, without oxygen, medication, or other aids, Grandpa took time to tell his family members how much he loved them.  He made peace with Jeffrey’s mother, asking forgiveness for past offenses, and gave “last words” of advice and affection to everyone. He hugged young Jeffrey.

As they left the room the day Grandpa died, Jeffrey told his mother, “Grandpa came back to life, because I prayed for him, and I knew he wasn’t going to die quite yet.” (2)

Fuller’s application includes these words: “Though children are younger and smaller than adults, they don’t have a junior version of the Holy Spirit … if you’re an adult, be alert for the prayer lessons God wants to teach you through each person in your family, including your younger children.” (3)

Sprinkled between Fuller’s lessons about how and what we can pray, other stories about children touched my heart. It’s good to remember that Jesus blessed children and encouraged the disciples to not get in the way of little ones coming to Him (Mark 10:13-16). Children come to God in innocence and humility (Matthew 18:2-6).

What have you learned from your family members’ prayers? What kind of prayers do the little ones you knowLittle Girl with Bible pray?

How many of us consider childlike faith “less than” ~ not quite up to par with our own more mature faith. How sad to see some parents despise their children’s faith-filled prayers:  “Oh honey, you can’t pray for THAT!”

The Bible says little ones’ angels see God face-to-face (Matthew 18:10), and surely the Lord could dispatch an angel to do His will in response to little ones’ prayers, if He so chose!

As Jeffrey’s story reminds us, entire families can experience tremendous blessings because of the faith of their little ones. ~ so encourage their prayers! And stop to think a minute about the faith behind your own prayers. Do they start with simple faith in a loving Heavenly Father?

In the words of Oswald Chambers, “Prayer is simple, as simple as a child making known its wants to its parents.” (4)

(1) Fun and Wit: Funny Children’s Bible Stories, http://www.funandwit.com/

(2) Cheri Fuller, When Families Pray (Multnomah Publishers, 1999), pp. 193-195 (re-released in 2001 as when Families Pray: The Power of Praying Together)

(3) Ibid., p. 195

(4) Ibid., p. 191

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