Daniel spent the morning systematically searching for the memory stick he’d lost – it has 4 years of writing and his latest animations on it.  He has backups of the writing but not the animations.  He’s searched the car, his desk, his bedroom, he’s phoned the library to see if it fell out of his pocket there, he’s searched the laundry to see if it is either still in his pants or maybe even gone through the wash.  It is nowhere.  A little voice says – pray about it – if he was little you would have prayed about it.  I struggled with that idea – I really didn’t want to pray about it – not with him.

So I prayed – by myself, just quietly as I went by my business.  But the thought that I was reluctant to both pray with Daniel or even prompt him to pray stuck with me.  How could this be!  What was going on?

I didn’t want to pray with him because I didn’t want to answer the questions about God not answering.

Have you ever had that thought?

I teach my kids to pray, to trust in God, but sometimes his answer is no, sometimes it doesn’t seem as if he cares or even hears.  How do I teach my kids to trust him, to rely on him to believe in him, if he doesn’t answer their heart felt little cries?  How do I explain answers like wait, or even worse – no?

No, I’m not going to help you find your memory stick.

No, I’m not going to take away your pain.

No, I’m not going to let that friend stay in town.

Adults struggle with the answers to prayer – how am I going to teach my kids through that.  Simple answer – just don’t pray.  Pray about the things you know are going to happen.

I did this once – and to my shame – my little 6yo saw straight through it.  Josh wanted a trampoline – real bad.  It was coming up to Christmas time, so we said – pray about it.  So he did.  And what-do-you-know – he got a trampoline for Christmas.  Wow! Answered prayer!!  But he saw through it.  Even when we tried to paint it as an answered prayer, he knew that we bought it because we knew he wanted it!

 

Do we have right thinking about prayer?

The problem lays with wrong thinking about prayer, wrong thinking about God.  Prayer isn’t a conduit for getting what we want – it is a conduit for God getting what he wants!  God wants to have a relationship with us, a relationship where we talk to him, where we trust him, were we live our life with him.  God also wants us to be like Jesus.  I find it interesting that  the fruit (the repercussions) of walking with the Spirit isn’t material possessions, success or fame – the fruit of walking in the Spirit, walking with Jesus, in fellowship with God is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). God’s direction to us has been to love him, and to love others.  These are the things that God wants, and when we pray, these are the things that He will bring about in our lives.

God doesn’t promise that he’ll find your memory stick, he doesn’t promise that you’ll ace every exam you sit, he doesn’t promise that your friends will stick around, he doesn’t even promise you won’t get hurt.  He does promise he’ll be with you.  He does promise to give you wisdom when you ask.  He does promise that the Spirit will teach, guide and comfort.

Is this consistent with what we teach our kids about prayer?  I’m talking young kids – and teenagers – is this even what I remind myself of? Or do we start teaching them that he gives what we ask for – because he loves us.  I have done that at times.  God does love us, and God does want us to talk to him, and ask of him, but he also wants us to want what he wants.

David was a man after God’s own heart.  David wanted what God wanted.

[Tweet “When we teach our kids to pray do we teach them to have God’s own heart?”]

One of the hardest lessons in teaching our kids to pray came when Nomi was about seven.  She had been through years of intense gut pain.  She would crunch up her little body and scream out in pain – I can only liken it to a woman in labour pain.  In the lull between spasms she would cry out – “Why me!  Why has God given me this pain!”  Our heart would break – how do you answer your little girl with such a heart ache.  Many years later we were visiting a Bible study meeting and they talking about pain, talking about God and pain. There was an open discussion and Nomi, who was about 13 years old, in a group of people she didn’t know – spoke up.  She said – I’ve had a lot of pain and I used to ask, “why has God given me this pain” and I don’t know why, but I always knew he would help me through it – and he always has.

She learnt the truth.  She learnt that God wasn’t  going to take away that pain, that was there as a consequence of the fallen world, full of sickness and disease, but he had kept her alive, and through every bout of pain, he was beside her.  That was what got her through the times of pain.

So with all this flashing through my mind – I casually say to Daniel – “Wanna pray about it?”  He said, “Already have – it is up to him.”  I had been a bit surprised about Daniel’s calmness – but his simple answer told more than he was telling.  He was trusting God – whether he found the stick or not.

Within five minutes of me prompting Daniel to pray he found the memory stick.  It was lying there in the area he had been searching in, actually he had already cleaned up that area – don’t know how we didn’t see it before.

I was prepared to talk to Daniel (should he not find the memory stick) and ask him – What does God want of you in this situation?  But instead the lesson was for me; Daniel was trusting God – What did God want of me in this situation?

He wanted me to be brave enough to ask my son to pray about it.

 

Over to you:

How have you taught your kids to pray?  How have you handled disappointment with God’s answers?  Love to hear your thoughts – keep scrolling to the comment box.

 

7 Comments

  1. Valerie

    Yes, this is sometimes so hard to come to terms with as we try and figure out if God will answer our prayers the way we hope. It’s through those trials where we learn that Jesus is right there with us through the pain! And I love how sometimes he does surprise us with answered prayers to the little things that concern us….it always feels like an extra touch of His love.

    Reply
    • Belinda

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note Valerie. I had another such moment today as my daughter was going into a hard situation – do I ask her if I can pray with her or not! I missed the first opportunity to ask her and then as I was praying for her anyways… she phones me back and I had an opportunity to talk to her about it! It was just another learning opportunity for me!!

      Reply
  2. Christia Colquitt

    This is a great read. And I had never thought about some of this idea of prayer from the mind of my kids. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and for sharing on Faith Filled Parenting.

    Reply
    • Belinda

      Hi Christa – there is so much to think about when we teach and train our kids isn’t there!! I’m always learning – and my kids are mostly grown!!

      Reply
  3. Maria

    Such a thoughtful post, Belinda. The purpose of prayer is something that needs to careful thought and consideration, especially when we’re introducing it to our children, and your points here are valid. A great reminder that there’s more to it than just asking for something, but also discovering why prayer is needed in the first place. Thanks so much for sharing this with us on #SHINEbloghop this week!

    Reply
  4. Cameron

    As a mom with three littles, I really appreciate this post. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

    Reply
  5. Trena

    Great read. God tells us to be like “little children”. They have such faith in those things. Found you on AfterMyCoffee.

    Reply

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