I've got to admit it, I've struggled with prayer (how we pray, why we pray, what we pray) ever since I gave my life over to the Lord at 14. For some reason, the recurring wrestling raised its head again and moved into full force this past 8 months when I really started listening to the words and the pleadings of my prayers and the prayers I heard others pray. My heart began to ache and I've apologized over and over to the Lord for the attitude that I've taken in prayer. We tend to list all the things we want God to fix and protect, like we've given Him our "to do" list. I made a major step toward clarity when I realized that praying is about coming into the presence of God and accepting His sovereignty in every situation.
You see, we don't like to admit it, but God answers every prayer. You heard me right ... every prayer. You'll hear people say that God answers yes, no, and wait. But, do you ever hear someone praise God for answering NO? What I believe God wants from us is conversation, devotion, and total trust that He is working in the situation we're concerned about. He just wants us to BE with Him.
So, if we looked at what we're doing now, how do we teach children to pray? Just like we're used to praying ourselves--in a hurry,tagged on at the end of something, a wish list, a rhyme. That's got to stop! Praying for God's presence is something we need to intentionally teach and model in front of kids so that they will just enjoy being with God. It's not about what we get out of it. It's not about getting "yes" answers to our wants. It's not about an obligation. It's about being in the presence the One who made us and turning everything over to Him to handle, no strings or demands attached.
The September/October issue of K! Magazine includes a full article on teaching kids to pray selfless, risky prayers--prayers that lead them into the presence of God. K! Magazine is a resource of KidzMatter, www.kidzmatter.com.